12 Questions: Plasma Slugs
Plasma Slugs talks Art Basel Miami and growing up on the streets of NYC.
How did you get your name?
PS: Names are repetitive in nature. Every combination of letters has practically been branded and used by a vast amount of people world wide. In the quest to find something original I acquired a character and shortly soon after gave it a name. Plasma is the main piece you see from me while the slugs are put up less often. It took a while to get used to being called plasma slugs due to the fact the name of the character I do is called plasma but people contribute the whole name to it.
When did you start writing?
PS: I grew up in one of the best neighborhoods for graffiti in the 90s. I got to see many different crews and styles emerge in the course of a decade in my own back yard. That quickly led to me gaining an interest in the walls and rooftops around me. My earliest memory was the moment I got my first paint marker in jr. high school and standing on top of urinals writing “bandit”. It quickly turned into a habit and soon after changed my tag into something more reasonable.
Walking girls home from jr high school, I always had a marker or can and would tag my name on the way to their house and walk a different route back home, getting up. By the end of Jr high I found myself fully emerged in the lifestyle and emptying backpacks full of paint every other day on the streets at this time I would consider it the beginning of my getting up life.
What draws you to graffiti?
PS: Nothing to be honest. I rarely pay attention to it. You see, graffiti is filled with so much ego that just the presence of something saying “hey look at me” really annoys me. I find graffiti interesting when I see it and there seems to be more than meets the eye on the way the person pulled it off. To me it’s the adventures in between. It’s the countless fights and countless amounts of trouble you get into. It’s waking up one day not knowing how you made it through the night before. Most of my missions are done solo it’s a trade of craft not many choose to take in this game. But there seems to be a higher level of consciousness when you are out there alone using every sense possible to help you pull off your objective. Not many aspects of my other daily activities require me to pull out my spiderman sense.
Who are your influences?
PS: I have many influences but most stem from people whom are not afraid to step outside their comfort zone and do something different. There is something wrong with someone if they can only play the same song or dance the same move. Once again, a writers ego messes up a lot of people I would give respect to. If only most writers realized that most of their legacy they left behind that they ride on today was nearly them walking a 20 block radius from their house or staying within their borough. While looking at influences a factor that plays out to me is traveling. I respect writers who see the big picture of graffiti and wants to get up all over the world instead of a 500 block radius for the rest of their life.
What keeps Plasma Slug going?
PS: Since I started I’ve met 100’s of people who sounded so passionate about the life but eventually quit. I’m still here and not guaranteed to get up tomorrow. Due to vandal squad nonsense, I had to take a break if I didn’t want to screw my family up. Getting up is so selfish that you wont understand whom you’re fucking over until cops break through your door and take your son away due to some weed left overs and a few spray cans lying around. People snitched me out and in return I did jail time for some ridiculous bullshit. All they wanted from me was to snitch and give up people, it was disgusting. I saw the very tactic used on the people who snitched on me being done to me in order to get me to say something more incriminating. I swallowed my tongue and did my time. It was in this time, I learnt to hate the people who come and go and the tons of street artists who go around putting up stupid nonsense. Are you ready to go to jail in general population over a poster or sticker of a flower or beaver? In that time, I learned that I was ready to go back, how ever many times as long as what I got caught doing was done with the original intentions.
Each plasma slug you see from 2013 on is rare in the sense I’m battling an inner demon to quit or continue. It is in this time that I appreciate my work more then ever and want to share it wisely. I learned many things in the last decade and half and I feel just when I thought I knew what I was doing back then that Where my mind is at now is where I need to be. The adventure life now mingles with an aspect of art. Trying to out do myself each time is what keeps me out in the streets and trying to justify the word art in what I do continues to push me on any artistic level I do.
Where are your favorite places or things to paint?
PS: Im a born and raised New Yorker. I believe in getting up in every obscure crack of NYC or at least whats left.
Who are your top 3 favorite writers?
PS: There is only one writer i remember seeing up in streets since I was 9 years old till now consistently and thats JAONE
My homie Reaps ROT has always been a huge influence in my artistic outlook on the craft we call graffiti. Recently started building with Noxer and he quickly gained a place in my eyes as one of the slept on most talented writers to come out of NYC he is so well rounded that he puts to shame all these people whom claim their nice.
Graffiti has led me to meet tons of great people and each person who knows me know if I chill with them I have respect for them I only recognize real people my filter for phonies is to on point right now.
What do you think about the new writers on the scene and what they’re doing?
PS: Our tools of the trade have evolved, Our punishment for the crimes have evolved, our ways of sharing work have shifted. We are in the mist of a change the same way painting went from the trains to the streets, These days it’s a piece in the back of a supermarket to instagram straight to fame. Our current status of writers is going have to be judge by the people who take them under the wing and show them the ropes. I cant expect someone writing within the last 10 years to be able to know what being a writer is all about. Our future lies in the writer before us and passing their knowledge down. It takes time and lots of it to evolve into something that can be consider a lifestyle. Until it’s a lifestyle its just scribbling on walls with paint big fucking shit, hold the ego and pickles please
You’ve recently visited Art Basel 2013, how did that go?
PS: I decided to go at the last moment literally and booked a ticket the next day. I’m pretty stoked on leaving NYC and being able to hit the streets somewhere else without the fear of making my self hot. You see being able to do 7’ by 10’ long outlines in the streets is the only way I know how to hit the streets at this age and NYC simply ain’t having that on an every day every other block level. However I’m very open minded and wanted to see what the hype was about and in return got very inspired by the tons of talented pieces of work I seen through out the week. I learned not to worry about where my work fell in the label of art but to do what I do and give it the best. Im looking forward to doing more pieces and challenging myself with huge solo murals since Miami.
One of my favorite parts of Miami was getting together with all the NYC locals and catching wreck. I didn’t travel 1,000+ miles to do legals so most of the trip was all illegal works it was something straight out of a graffiti movie. Hooking up with girls painting and smoking some flowers with the homies and making new connections, was definitely a much needed break. I have painted in many countries and states but Art Basel is definitely unique, I look forward to next years and hope I’m healthy and intact to make it.
What is your main goal in painting?
PS: I quit for 6 years and never picked up a single pencil yet alone paint. It was an empty feeling and a missing void luckily this life is not what my whole life is focused on and I was willing to put all my effort into other crafts in my life. But something has brought me back.While looking at other talented people in the world do what they do I said to myself damn I let myself down and others who followed my work when I took a break. I now realize how important every tag and scratch and brushstroke can be. Each line we make is history in the making and eventually will be gone. While being back I really cherish each work I put out and whom I share it with. You wont get your hands on a plasma slug nowadays that is done out of quantity. My work was rare back then but is now even more because each piece is done with the mentality that it could be the last.
Tell us a crazy story
PS: I have too many crazy stories since I’m always by myself in the most scariest places in the middle of night. But I will tell you this, I fear no man because some of the wildlife I have encountered would make the most grimiest writer run for his life. Lets just throw a few examples out. I got rabies from a raccoon, I’ve gotten attacked by a group of wild dogs, I got pushed off a 20ft ledge by a pack of rats, and i’ve walked into every poisonous plant you could think of at one point of another while getting up, and if the wildlife doesn’t get you some of these places are just down right haunted. Paranormal activity has nothing compared to some of these locations I’ve been to. I once was in a tunnel and felt a sudden weight push me down, I felt crushed and couldn’t get up until out of nowhere it released me. This tunnel has done the same to other explores or writers but personally experiencing it was out of this world, it doesn’t help knowing the tunnel is located directly under a cemetery
Any shout outs?
PS: Shout outs hmm. Last time I did a shout out people caught feelings when I forgot to mention them, even my 3rd grade teacher was pissed I didn’t shout her out. I’ll just like to leave it at, real men don’t type LOL to explain laughter we use Hahaha, and last and most important, but not to be taken too literally – FUCK LOVE
For more Plasma Slugs, you can check him out on Instagram @plasmaslugs