Freight Friday: An Interview with JIGL LD/MFK
For the past 10 years, Jigl has been consistently killin’ the freight game working to keep his numbers up. He has a letter style that is constantly evolving and it’s no surprise, considering he says doing the same letter style gets tiring after a few months. This is interesting coming from a writer that doesn’t sketch out his letters before he heads out.
These days Jigl can be seen on over 1,500 freights throughout the states and during 2008, 2009, and 2010 he was pushing did 250+ panels a year. For 2015, he is trying something different by not only goaling himself (like alot of freight writers do) but numbering the panels as he completes them. He originally wanted to do 100 cars but in the first 6 months he had knocked out 75 cars. So he upped the number to 150 cars and as of a few days ago he’s at 134 for the year.
Jigl reps two separate crews, LD which is known for their hard bombing in different cities and MFK who is known for their piecing and techniques. A lot of the freights he paints are with MFK Crewmates Wasp and Levis, but what about solo missions?
“Solo missions are good too. I think a lot of times they come out better because you’re doing whatever comes to you naturally. You don’t have to worry about matching the other person, whether it be style, size, or scheme. But I do also like working with my crewmates; Wasp and Levis. Lately we have been doing a lot of crew stuff where we split the workload. I’ll do the letters while Levis does the background and Wasp rocks the character, or vice versa. This works especially well with whole cars & street spots.”
Walking thru a trainyard to paint freights is a lot different than hittin street spots. In either situation, they both have their consequences and sometimes things don’t always go as planned. Jigl shares one helluva story from one of his experiences:
“Back in 2009, it was Horse and I and this happened over multiple nights… At the time I lived with Horse. We take my car to the spot and all is normal. We finished painting, everything went smooth. We flip this corner to head back to my car and there are 4 people standing next to it with a cop rolling straight towards us. We are standing in the light and we all make eye contact at the exact worst moment. We run back into the yard and hide in a ditch trying not to make any noise. All of a sudden cops starting driving into the yard and down the service road we are hiding next to – FUCK. They start voicing over the PA “We know you’re out there and we are calling the dogs. Give yourselves up!!” We don’t fucking move. They are walking up and down this service road with big spotlights but looking in the field in front of them while we are no more than 10 feet behind them crouched down in this mosquito ditch. The cops end up waiting it out and set up lawn chairs on the fucking service road!! We didn’t move for the better part of 6 hours but the cops were still waiting and it was starting to get light out. We would be seen without a doubt and needed an escape plan. All of a sudden we hear a mainline coming and used that noise to make our move. We jumped the moving train and rode it 20 minutes into town since my car was towed. Successful escape…”
Two days later we go back; Horse, Seapo and I. We get in the yard and walk between the lines to find the cars we want to paint. We are there about 4 minutes and here come headlights. It’s the cops again – FUCK. We hop the line the opposite way from the car and dip into the woods. We can hear dogs barking this time – double fuck. We call this girl to come pick us up and round back to Seapos car, towed. We go chill at her house until 3am then we called another friend to drive us home. As we pull up to the house we see 10 cops out front – new plan, not going home. We ended up crashing at our friends house and decided to take the weekend to think on it and head to Subsurface Jam up in Indianapolis. That was a blast and I might have even gotten put in LD that weekend. When we got back we went to the house, still spooked. The door was kicked in and they took all types of shit! All my paint, all Horses’ paint. We had been racking a good amount at the time so had an easy 300+ cans. All the sketchbooks, all the graff DVDs, all the markers, canvases and anything graff related was taken. They were nice enough to leave the search warrant on the fridge under a cop action figure magnet. They also raided Seapos’ dorm room and both our cars…. Great times. That case ended up costing a good $30,000 when it was all said and done.”
Even when situations like this come about, that doesn’t discourage Jigl from continuing to hit spots. He has his own method to his madness. “When I’m home I focus on panels because it keeps my name off the streets. Once you fuck up your city, they can hold a grudge against graffiti which makes living there as writers harder in the long run. But when I’m outta town, it’s all about throw ups and crew shots.”
Once the cars are painted, where do they go? How long are they running? Well that’s where the benchers come in. Some of those benchers are actually railroad workers themselves which has proven beneficial to Jigl’s circle as they will get a heads up when a storage line lays up for a few days or weeks. Then there are those that use Instagram to show their benching – @Hellacioushayley & @Boradaexplorer being two good examples Jigl gave.
“Instagram is funny because you have these benchers who are stalking the lines every single day. Some lines roll straight out of the spots we paint and there are times where we literally paint a panel at night then wake up to see a day shot online leaving the city the next morning. It’s crazy. Last year we were lucky enough to have this happen with a line that had (5) fullcars on it and the clip actually made it in to a video where we premiered at the 2014 MFK Artshow in Louisville, Kentucky.”
You may view bench flics and only see the panel that was painted. Rarely you see them from the writers’ perspective. These next few pics Jigl takes us behind the scenes into what went into each of these freights.
There’s a saying in the freight scene “Respect the Rails”. This is something that a lot of new writers need to learn before they start painting trains. Jigl’s advice is simple “Respect the old panels,” he says. Sweeping over old stuff is not OK. Appreciate the old work and try to preserve it. Some people say they came all the way to the spot or they only get a car or three laid up at a time and aren’t walking out empty handed. It’s that type of thinking that leads to classic panels getting taken out, either by someone who doesn’t know their history or by someone who doesn’t give a fuck. I feel much better about taking out a big ugly panel done 2 months ago than I do about a mini 2003 piece. It’s gone 12 years without anyone else touching it, what makes me the motherfucker who gets to take it out?”
Next time you get stopped by a train, there’s a good chance you’ll see something from Jigl with the amount of work he’s put in.
Special thanks to Jigl for taking the time to talk with us here at 12oz Prophet. Keep rockin the rails! We’ll be seeing you trackside!
text by attng3tr
lead photo by @hellacioushayley (Wasp and Jigl Boxcar)