Interview: TURDL RB/AX/HBTK/TMS
Portland probably isn’t on the minds of most people as an East Coast graffiti city but the scene is growing strong. So much in fact that Portland has begun a mission to wipe out graffiti from its streets for good. The city has asked residents and business owners to help out by forcing them to clean up graffiti on their buildings or face fines. In June, Portland adopted this new graffiti-ordinance in hopes of stopping all types of graffiti but there has be no such effect. They have even gone as far as to develop a website that gives people the ability to notify of vandalism and resources on how to prevent graffiti and remove it. But there are still numerous spots downtown where property owners have commissioned murals. TURDL is one of Portland’s premiere graffiti writers who is a multi-dimensional artist putting in serious work both on and off the legal court. Here are his words. Enjoy!
Where you from and what do you write?
I am from the land of lobsters, pine trees and L.L. muhfuckin’ Bean. The great state of Maine. And I write Turdl on things… occasionally.
How did you start vandalizing and what compels you to continue?
I’ve been drawing since I can remember, and for some reason, I liked to draw on things other than the paper that was provided to me. I remember writing my (government) name on all the items in the classroom with stuff like “(government) name’s ruler” or “(government) name’s paper towels”. Funny to look back on it now. I wish I could see that teacher and tell her what became of that shit. But yeah, I had this rad (and ridiculously hot) after school teacher give me a copy of Subway Art when I was like 10. Shit has been the bible ever since. I studied graffiti in magazines and pieces that were around my area for about 8 years before even picking up a can. And once you start and get the itch, it never goes away.
Has your reason for writing changed at all?
Yeah, I guess. I mean, when I first started, I was about the fame and recognition. Nowadays, I could care less. It’s become such a part of what I do and who I am, that the only thing that matters is the act of painting. I go through withdrawals and shit. Shits no
How would you describe your style?
Really Bad…I don’t really know man, I have been influenced by so many things, people, experiences (which I am really grateful for), that it’s hard to pin-point an exact style. I go in the moment, seldom plan out more than a rough idea for an outline, and let however I feel at that time come through in the painting. But, I am a traditionalist when it comes to letters. I like to bug the fuck out on my fills, and I know that some people do that as a cop-out and have shit letter structure. I hate that shit. So I focus on having solid letters and flow first and foremost.
Have you always wrote…
Turdl?…Naaahhh doggie. This is my second run around. The first one was quite embarrassing. And it’s a running joke amongst my friends. But I loved every second of painting that, and was able to meet some great friends through that shitty graffiti.
What made you agree to this interview?
I already jerked off 3 times today, my girl is outta town and I finished all 4 seasons of Martin, so I got shit else to do. Ahaha, nah, I think that we can be kind of slept on up around these parts, and it would be dope to shine some light on the scene up here. We’ve got a lot of talent, people are usually surprised when they find out who came from/lives here.
who were you influenced by when you started out?
Whoa, HBTK and SFL crews locally. Guys like RICH, BERN, LEARN, JURNE and SEPT were just un-fucking-believable. The shit they did in this small town was nuts, even by national standards. Then when I first got the balls to pick up a can, and the internuts was widely available, guys like MES, CLICK, NOAH and MONK blew my fucking mind with intricate and complex fills and solid and gangster ass letters.
What writers influence you today?
My friends influence me the most. The RB/AX Crew is like my other family, they’ve had the biggest influence on me for sure, that RB style runs deep in my graffiti. The young gunnin’ TMS crew keeps me on my toes and keeps me going. And on a national level, I always have, and will continue to sweat the AOK/RIS/TFP squads from NYC. To me, those guys have mastered steez within traditional New York graffiti. It doesn’t get any better than that.
what makes a writers stand out to you?
Solid handstyles. If you can’t write your name, you can’t write, period. I see all these fancy ass 3,000 color Ironlak and Montana burners with a shitty toy ass tag next to it and I’m fucking over it. Shows that they progressed via internuts and legal walls. Fuck all that. I also bug out on writers who smash shit with tags and enjoy vandalizing as well as having style and doing pieces. I think very few people actually reach a point of doing both with class. It’s a tough balance to achieve, usually someone excels in one or the other, and I’m nowhere near having that, so it makes me hyped to see people that do.
Have you ever caught a charge for painting?
Yes, yes I have. No fun, but its part of the game, and you learn a lot about yourself.
What are you most known for/what do you want to be remembered for?
I don’t feel as if I’m known for anything. Maybe my character? I don’t know. But, I’d like to be remembered as a pleasant and humble guy that was loyal and supportive to his friends and family. Graffiti-wise, I’d just like to be known for contributing something to the place that gave me so much, my hometown.
Where’s the most interesting place you’ve painted and why?
This is a hard one to answer without getting too specific. But I did paint for about 2 hours standing in a dead bird infested pool of liquid filth. Even with makeshift waders, my shoes went from grey to brown and the ride home was so stinky it makes me sick to even think about it.
What’s been the biggest influence on your work over the last year?
Once again, my friends and crew. They have been killing it, and they keep getting better all the time. Plus I’ve got guys like RICH and LEARN around me that have been going for so many years, that are still pushing it and still getting busy. It’s hard to slack with that around you. Also, I want to try and see how far I can take it, I’ve had some dope commissions that allowed me to go outside of just writing my name and helped me realized a lot about my capabilities, so I want to start incorporating some of that stuff in to my rap-spray.
Weirdest thing that has happened when out painting?
Whoa, that’s a tough one. There’s been some weird shit. Like some dude coming up to me with a harmonica and singing the “spraycan man” song while I was mid-session, or a middle-aged woman admiring the 9-foot turtle dick I had just painted gizzing out my name and talking to me about my influences and inspirations. I don’t know, there’s never a normal situation really.
Do you find you do better pieces depending on who you painting with?
I’m not sure. I can be kind of competitive. Not in a dickish way, but I don’t like to be shat upon. So I try to step it up when I’m painting with the pros. But you know, the more you think about it, the less fun it is, so I usually end up just saying fuck it and do whatever. If it sucks, it sucks, and I just laugh hope the next one is better.
Boston was the shit before they reverted to the times of witch trials and began drowning and stoning vandals. Besides that, I’ve been to some good freight train locations in the middle of fucking nowhere that were just amazing, shit people dream about. Those are the spots I remember. Nice, secluded and chill so you can get creative and burn. NYC is fun as well, SO much fucking graffiti it looks like it’s legal. But it’s not, believe me.
Any upcoming collaborations/releases people should be watching for?
Always grinding. The homies LEARN and GERV are putting out a book about Maine graffiti history, and that will be a must have. I wrote a piece for it, and the flicks they acquired are fucking amazing. Outside of that, just doing my thing. Peep http://mistermcgirt.blogspot.com/ for projects I’m working on. And in regards to graffiti, I’m keeping that shit off the net, so if we meet up, we can peep some flicks, like it used to be before you kiddies and your internuts.
Top 5 Favorite Pieces?
In no particular order…
Duster & Lizzie font car with the tilt & shine
Dondi – Children of the grave part 2
Enrons – Procrastination (with parts unfinished… WHOA)
Anything NOAH TFP has done… period
Seasons of the Abyss Wall, Portland ME 1998
Top 5 interviews you want to see
Don’t really have favorites, but I fucking hate Q’s, P’s, K’s and X’s. If you see QuipSex up in your city… its definitely not me.
I have been pretty privileged with the types of food I’ve been able to eat (see blog) because a lot of my good friends slay the food industry. Something that stands out are pan-seared Halibut cheeks. Yeah, the cheeks of a fish. On some other shit… if you ever get the chance to eat em. Do it. Fuck the price. It’s well worth it.
Any graff-related injuries?
Carpal Tunnel. The leaks (also known as the after drip), when you think you’re done peeing, you put it back in, and immediately realize you weren’t.
What plans do you have for the future?
To pay off my school loans and get that slut Sallie-Mae out of my life for good. Stack enough paper so that I can grow some Rick Ross titties and still get laid. Keep painting and pushing myself, so I don’t get bored. I’d like to involve myself in more things like organizing burner walls, putting on shows, maybe a small magazine and just getting our names out there or whatever so that I can get the locals and homies some shine. And I also want to live healthier (I sound old), but I finally stopped smoking trees this year (for those that know me, know that that’s some SHIT, multiple blunt a day habit for sure), started going for runs, and am watching what I eat. Now to wear a mask every time I paint and stop having so much unprotected sex on my annual trips to Haiti.
Give some shouts
These are shouts, so I’m gonna do em in all caps… SHOUTS OUT TO THE RB/AX FAMILIA, HBTK CREW AND THE TMS SWAG TEAM, FONSE, SNOEMAN, DZEE, BACK, JOSONE, IKUE, KOPH, JAERO, BDUB, CHILE, NIEK, RICH, LEARN, SOLO ARTIST, RASE ONE, LINK, ESKO, VAST, JURNE, VANE, KOI, LERK, LACK, RAKET, ONIKS, MWM, CEVS, KGEE AND ANYONE ELSE I’VE HAD THE PLEASURE OF MEETING ALONG THIS JOURNEY… AND FREE WERKS KFA!
Also shouts to my parents and brother for putting up with my ridiculousness, my girl for still being here, my dog for no longer shitting in the house and to my A8 brethren. Thanks KC!!! Peace be to the Gods and the Earths!
Text: KC Russell