Legends Thursdays: The GKAE Interview
GKAE hardly needs an introduction, but here’s a quick summary for the uninitiated. He joined MSK in the early 90’s before getting put down in AWR, and became one of the most active bombers on the West coast, hitting street spots from L.A. to Seattle. GKAE caught one of the biggest graffiti cases of the time in ’95, the story of which was immortalized in Steve “ESPO” Powers’ book The Art of Getting Over. He also famously appeared on “The Gabrielle Show” in the 90’s, where he almost made some poor sucker in the audience cry.
GKAE became a mythical figure in the graffiti world after going to jail, with stories about him being passed around in the way only writers can. “I heard he writes this now,” “I heard he can’t carry a pencil in L.A.,” “My boy’s boy knows him and said he had to pay back a million dollars to the state.” But nobody really knew what was bullshit and what wasn’t.
That is, until now. COUPE managed to get GKAE in for a Legends Thursday interview, clearing up the myths surrounding the legendary 90’s writer, and getting his insights on modern graffiti, vandal cops, and the U.S. prison system.
GKAE explained his rise to fame, saying “If someone climbed up [to a difficult spot] and did a tag, I’d do a fill-in. If someone did a fill-in, I’d do a piece. If someone did a piece, I’d do a crazier piece.”
On modern graffiti, GKAE said that the increased buff has meant fewer young writers have been popping up, but that the freight game has grown because of it. “If you’re in Idaho, I don’t know how hard you can crush Boise, but I’m pretty sure not that hard. But you can do fucking a thousand freights and be good.”
GKAE also spoke about his time in prison. “It was really rough,” he said. “Its just not really a place you should send someone for writing on walls.” When COUPE asked what he did after getting out, GKAE responded, “I never got into any other shit besides graffiti…every time I got out it was the same thing. You have to control your own life and you have to make your own decisions, and you decide if writing is worth it to you…When I was younger, there was nothing that was stopping me from writing graffiti.”
Check the full interview here. Thanks COUPE for the interview.