Interview: Tubs – FDC – DME
How long have you been painting in Miami?
14 years. I recall getting my first real taste of Miami early in 2000. Living in Boca at the time I can remember skipping school with my boys, feeling like Indiana Jones..catching several buses just to get to the Tri-Rail station which is our local commuter train here in South Florida, to then taking the train getting hype seeing old track side productions that were still running from the early 90’s along the way and exploring, really learning the city on our own through trial and error. There was a true sense of adventure for me during that time, creating some of my greatest memories.
What are the best and worst parts about painting in Miami?
I would have to say one of the best parts and probably the most obvious especially to out of towners, would have to be the incredible weather we have year round other then rainy season, although it can have a downside…there have been several times I can recall almost passing out from the heat while painting, nothing like crouching down and standing back up to seeing colors that you’re not using in your piece. Accompanying that I would have to say painting amongst some of the worlds finest crack heads, zombies and prostitutes, these are some real characters and for a few bucks you’ve got a great lookout.
How has Miami graffiti changed over the past decade and where do you see it heading?
I’ve watched the scene change in many ways. From rival crew beef to the birth of the “Wynwood Art District”. I remember some years back there was a long period where a good majority of what was being done was either dissed or buffed the next day or within hours. This beef was generated back in the mid 90’s, inherited and intensified by newer generation crew mates on both ends in the mid 2000’s. Although I am a very positive and optimistic person, to me, where Miami graffiti is heading is quite vague. These days you have toys schooling toys, there is a lack of mentorship for the younger writers. I am baffled by the mindset alone of some of these kids. Even as a toy myself I remember following a common code of ethics and having respect for my elders and those who came before me. What I stress to the younger generation getting in the game these days is that it takes years and dedication to master a craft, especially this one. I also feel we need more tough love these days…Miami needs more Zame’s and Oil’s. Though with all that being said there are some of us out there that are still striving and continuing to preserve traditions while evolving and bringing it to that next level needed for the growth of graffiti here in Miami.
Wynwood has really changed what it means to be a writer in Miami. The general public sees graffiti as “street art.” The concept of vandalism is being lost. How do you feel about that?
I have some mixed feelings about Wynwood, I do feel there are many great opportunities and possibilities to be seized in the area, on the other hand I see a lot of misinformation, disrespect and exploitation of the culture. I would also really like to see more stuff being painted outside of Wynwood and it’s surrounding areas. It almost seems that since the sudden and growing popularity of Wynwood on a global scale, local writers are only focused on painting there and have forgotten about the rest of the City, especially when Basel rolls around…to me bombing in Wynwood is equivalent to going to a skate park to skate.
Is Miami graffiti different then anywhere else in the Country and if it is, how so? Are there certain styles that Miami is known for?
I would like to say it was in the early 90’s through early to mid 2000’s, unfortunately these days..ehhh, I feel a lot has to do with the internet and social media which has changed graffiti in general many ways, positive and negative. The 80’s were Miami’s graffiti renaissance with a lot of monumental stuff being done but then truly evolved into the 90’s. It’s to my knowledge during the 80’s you had guys visiting and moving down here from New York which had a major influence on Miami. Around the same time this was also happening over on the west coast with the airing of style wars following suite to me during that time, what was being done in New York…Miami and Cali simultaneously benefited from, both sharing a major similarity in style. If there are any styles Miami is known for from hand styles to pieces I would have to mention the works of several pioneers, innovators and never duplicators: Clear, Kvee157 and Ras Terms of 7UP BSK FS and really everyone from those crews contributed a great deal of original funk to Miami.
Best food spots in Miami?
You might want to holler at Andrew Zimmern or Anthony Bourdain for this one but I’ll drop a few gems…Starting off with the seafood lovers I would have to say Garcia’s seafood grille & fishmarket, not only a historic landmark but probably the freshest local caught seafood for the price in Miami, also Laguna never fails…huge portions and very cheap! If your feeling fancy and want a more elegant dining experience, Joe’s stone crab is another option. For the Veggie heads and more health conscious I would have to say Choices Cafe, Vegan Aroma and Glaser Farms which is a farmers market located in the heart of Coconut Grove which unfortunately is only open on Saturdays…all are organic, gluten free and have a wide variety of raw vegan options as well as fresh juices. Also vegetarian and vegan friendly and one of my favorites that I have been going to since i was a kid is a small homely hole in the wall joint in North Miami that is always busy called Here Comes The Sun. For Pizza, hands down would have to be Andiamo! Brick Oven Pizza, also open late-night with a nostalgic atmosphere check out Steve’s Pizza. Haitian: Tap Tap and Chef Creole, try their conch salad! Nicaraguan: Fritanga Monimbo, Fritanga Montelimar, open late and extremely cheap you have Yambo. Dominican: Milagros is the funk! Also check out Milly’s. Colombian – Open since 1974 and to me the most authentic, Restaurante Monserrate. A More casual atmosphere or in a rush I would say La Moon. Puerto Rican – Old San Juan. Best mofongo in town! Benny’s also gives them a run for their money. Cuban – My favorite, iconic, most authentic, and in business for over 40 years, Verailles! Another classic landmark open late-night and 24 hours on the weekend is Sergios. I also strongly recommend paying a visit to El Palacio de los jugos, Enriqueta’s Sandwich Shop as well as Puerto Sagua.
Favorite local dive or hang-out?
Dives: Mac’s Club Deuce, The Abbey, Tobacco Road, Bikini Bar, Sandbar, Gramps. Hang-out’s: Purdy Lounge, Foxhole, Blackbird Ordinary, Wood Tavern, The Vagabond, The stage, The Electric Pickle…
Concrete, steel, brick, or glass?
I will always be a Man of steel, there is nothing like the solitude of being on the tracks amongst steel giants and painting a surface that’s going to travel to places you will never get the chance to see…for me it’s therapy for the soul, a deep connection that can’t quite be described but rather felt through experience. Over the past few years I must say I have been spending a lot more time in the concrete jungle focusing more on elaborate pieces and productions.
What is the deal with all of these roosters everywhere? Have you ever had a one-on-one confrontation with a rooster?
Has a lot to do with the Afro Cuban Culture that is so rich here in Miami and their many uses such as alarm clocks, dinner and sacrificial rituals. I have had quite a few confrontations, most of them took place walking the tracks, but they had already been victims to sacrificial circumstance.
Most of your pieces are very structural with attention to proportion and symmetry. What things inspire you when drawing or painting a piece?
Well I am a retro futurist if that makes any sense. I am also an old soul…and a lot from the past as well as the imagination and of the future from the past perspective is what inspires me. For the most part I follow traditional foundation to support the structure of my pieces, also being an architectural advocate is what has led me to put more emphasis on density, proportion, symmetry and an overall balanced structural appearance to my pieces. Also I cannot forget to mention a major roll that was played in my attention to symmetry is due to the early influences that my mentor, crew mate and probably one of Miami’s most slept on writers “Siner” had on me.
Do you ever paint canvas, and if so, do you approach it the same way as outdoor work?
Yes, for the past couple of years I’ve been spending more time in the studio exploring and working on fine art. My approach is completely different then the way I approach my outdoor work and the separation of both worlds creates diversity for me, and I love it.
Favorite city to paint?
Well…Not having the opportunity to travel extensively in my career as of yet, I must say I really enjoyed the pace and hospitality of Atlanta. New York has always been vibrant and a great time, but to me Miami is home and as of now still my favorite city to paint
If you could travel anywhere to paint, where would it be?
Mars, once terraformed and habitable. I am very excited about traveling to Israel this year and looking forward to painting with my fellow crew mates out there, Bame and Risto.
Do you have any projects in the works?
With the building and completion of my new studio, I am looking forward to a very productive year creating new fine artwork.
To my extended family and crews FDC & DME. I would also really like to take this opportunity to show my respect and more importantly bring awareness to those who are unfamiliar with Miami’s rich history. Big up to the many crew’s who have paved the way for generations to come here in Miami: FA, AIM, TVC, RA, WBB, FSTV, WH, BSK, 7UP, DTT, DAM, ACK, MOB, VO5, WHO, DFC, MTW, IHS, ATA, FH, TN7, VIP, BOM, ATKM, HI, CAN, TIA, FBA, FC, IBM, WOW, SB, ATBO, TCB, VS, FUKQ, DME, TE, DGS, RB, NCT, PS, MOC, TM, KSN, BDB, BB – R.I.P The Crudest, Bernie *Oiler* Perez!
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