12 Questions: Asend One

By - Monday, July 7th, 2014

We recently caught up with style master Asend One and we threw 12 Questions at him that would let us find out a little bit about his thoughts and opinions on a variety of graff related and Chicago graff related subjects.

1.) How did the name ASEND come about?
I put a name together from letters I liked and took away the ‘C’ from “Ascend”. Every so often I’ll spell it out…

2.) What crews do you currently rep?

3.) When did you start painting and why?
Around ’97-’98. It was something that caught my eye wherever I went and I was always breaking my neck to catch a glimpse of a rooftop or train. Streak tags and handstyles caught my attention the most.

4.) What do you like most about graffiti?
Style. There’s a lot of incredible stuff being done with spray paint nowadays from realism to abstract, but there’s nothing like a well-crafted tag, throw, or full-blown wildstyle on a street or train. That’s graffiti. That’s what kicked this whole shit off to begin with.

5.) So you’ve been writing for about 16 years now. What have been the biggest changes you’ve noticed in the graff game during these years?
I’d have to say the internet and the introduction of European paint in the USA. The internet changed the way we’re exposed to graffiti. It has also globalized graffiti to parts you’d never think, for example, I recently visited Tahiti and was surprised to see so much graff all over an island in the middle of the Pacific. It’s taken an underground world to every corner of the world. European paint in the US was another change but came at a good time. Krylon/Rusto isn’t the paint it used to be after changing their formulas and valve systems. Now there’s a new brand of paint coming out every week…

6.) Do you think social media has hurt or helped the graff scene?
It’s done both. It’s given everyone a platform to showcase work but a lot of what you see isn’t really what it is. A lot of it is a façade. Also, the element of total anonymity in graff is lost in social media. I liked seeing writers get up for years without knowing who they were or what they looked like – you’d have to know somebody who knew somebody who would one day introduce you, and if you were lucky they’d show you their shoeboxes full of flicks. Shit you couldn’t find anywhere. On the other hand, social media has made it easier to network and appreciate other people’s work from out of state/country and I really like that. I just hope young writers coming up don’t rely solely on the internet to learn what blood sweat and tears teaches you.

7.) How would you describe the Chicago graff scene?
There’s a lot of talent from the past and present that put heavy work on the streets and cleans. As far as history, ABC and FEDS crews are just a few of the crews that built the Chicago scene. Trixter, East, and Pengo are three of my favorite writers from that era, and there are many more…

8.) Chicago banned the sale of spray paint within city limits in 1992 because of graffiti and The Supreme Court upheld the ban in 1995. How has this law affected the graff scene?
I don’t think it ever had the results lawmakers wanted – graffiti continued and people still got their paint. Just recently the mayor proposed to double the fines for graffiti in Chicago, but we see these re-election campaign tactics all the time.

9.) Interesting stories or sightings while painting?
There’s plenty of things you see in the city at night, but by far the strangest sighting happened while painting near a cemetery and turning around and seeing thousands of light rays coming straight down from the clouds. We continued painting but every time we turned around the light rays in the sky shifted position. We never found out what it was but I’m glad I had a witness that night. The rest of the stories involve crackheads making sweet love and gangs doing what they do…

10.) What are your thoughts on “street art” as it relates to graff?
Two different planets.

11.) Are there any upcoming projects we should be looking out for?
There are always projects in the horizon, the next group show will be held in September called “Alphabet Soup 2” at Gallery F, in Chicago.

12.) Last words?
Thanks to everyone that I’ve met, painted with, and shown support throughout the years. Thanks to 12oz for the interview.

Author: acid_drops / Photographs: Asend One and acid_drops Follow Asend One here

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