12 Questions: BaserWe recently caught up with Baser, one of the most prolific active writers in NYC to ask him some questions on his introduction to graffiti and the current state of NYC graf. Check out the gallery above featuring some shots from his recent visit to our NYC studio. Baser left us some goods to giveaway which we will be announcing soon via instagram
1. Introduce yourself – your name and where you’re from.
Baser…DRV, New York City.
2. When did you fist get introduced to graffiti?
As a child growing up in the city. It always amazed me. Unfortunately, when I was 10 years old we moved out of state and there wasn’t much of a scene there then. But soon after, “Styles Wars” came out on channel 13 and I taped it on VHS (watched it relentlessly). In addition, “Subway Art” was published too. So now I had some inspiration.
I hooked up with a couple of like minded guys and we did like all cats outside of NYC, we just followed the blueprint as best we could and made a scene for ourselves! I moved back to the city in 1988. Sadly the train era was closing out, but on one of my first nights back I remember seeing the last whole car I would ever see running. It was by Sent and I was blown away! I knew this was something I needed to be a part of.
3. Tell us a little about the evolution of your tag/handstyle – where does “Baser” come from?
It comes from consistent practice and repetition. The mutations in style evolve from that. Theres’s a lot of feeling and movement to my flow. It captures a brief moment of time, that originates from a state of mind.
4. What are some of the inspirations for your work?
Work by other writers, artists, and of course music. But mostly, the City itself. They keep trying to push “New York Lite” on us. The city gets more watered down every year. I’m just adding some flavor to these now bland city streets. It’s my small contribution.
5. A lot of your work features spiders – what’s the meaning behind that?
Spider is a totem. A power symbol of creativity. Plus they fit my style and just look badass!
6. What’s your favorite type of sticker and marker to work with?
C-lines are my favorite name badge. Eggshells are dope. PriorityMail 228’s are o.k. (Good for inside-outs though) but their quality diminishes with each generation. However, they are free and I view it it as a an instant “tax credit” on each come up…ha!
The best labels have a good finish on them and a strong adhesive. Whichever you use there is always a specific ink/marker that works best relative to that particular label type. Not to mention the surface. Pilot Super Color markers are the grunts of my arsenal. Prestos rock and I like Molotow products as well. Classic inks and markers go unsaid, but I don’t use them for labels. I’ll try or trick out anything. I make homemade joints too. I got a few tricks up my sleeve but thats classified.
7. Besides graffiti and handstyles what are some of your other interests?
Peace of mind.
8. You’re one of the most prolific writers in NYC – any other writers you consider up there with you?
So…speaking strictly labels.There are literally a handful of people now who “get up w/ style.” The scene was rocking up to about 2010. Handstyle wise there are quite a few who I respect. There are also a lot of people who get up. But it’s rare to see both skills and ups, in the streets now. I’d love to see it happen again. I miss all those dope signatures in one spot. Yet again the past is looking better, even in stickers.
9. What do you think of the current state of NYC graffiti?
It leaves a lot to be desired. No trains running, streets are mostly clean and penalties are way more severe. The guys doing the most damage are usually not even native New Yorkers. Don’t get me wrong though, we’ve got the cream of the crop here. And worldwide there are a lot of people producing amazing work with modern paints and products. I do respect that.
But like a lot of writers, I have a nostalgic attachment to “the way it was.” Each generation envies the previous one. I miss the old New York as well. This homogenized version sucks. I guess at the end of the day we just have to remember to make the most of the time we have now, so I just flow with it.
10. Where do you see the future of NYC graffiti going?
I can’t say. But, I think the most interesting future of NYC graf will most likely be somewhere unexpected. I just hope that the customs of traditional graf endure while adapting to the future.
11. Who are your top 3 favorite writers all time?
Yo….that’s to broad for me to address. How ’bout I give you 3 signatures that lit that fire in me to get down. Zephyr, Veefer and Sure. I have to add that there are a dozen more, from various generations, but those 3 consistently motivated me.
12. What advice do you have for any aspiring writers growing up in the city today?
Don’t bother. Go to school and learn to use the system before it uses you.
However, if it’s really in you and you have to write. Learn the traditions and history. Study the masters but develop your own style. Do it for yourself, your own way. Trust no one, never quit and stay up!
I’d like to thank everyone at 12ozProphet for taking an interest in my work and helping to push the culture forward while respecting the past!
Check out the bomber of the year’s most recent contributions to the NYC streets in the gallery above.
Check out or purchase some of Baser’s current work here.
Author: Pete Moran // Gallery Photography: Baser and Pete Moran
12ozProphet Studio Photography: Ethersock