This Moody Mutz AA Painting That Can't Be Stolen!
12oz Prophet has been talking with Moody Mutz AA a lot the past week because of the story we ran on the theft of his art from the Woodward Gallery’s Project Space on the LES in Manhattan. In the process of these discussions, we also found out that he has been seriously getting up for about 20 years, and has a lineage going all the way back to the documentary Style Wars.
The story of his first alias started practically in the womb. When he was only a one year old, his dad’s friend nicknamed him “Mutz,” and it stuck for life. He always loved graff and was surrounded by it here in NYC. So, in 1987, like many little tykes in elementary school, he began experimenting with different names while catching his first tags in the local park and school yard. Then at age eleven in junior high school he finally got serious about graff. He was like, ok fuck it, I’m just gonna write Mutz. Then armed with that sweet tag, he began his career as a bomber with style around 1991.
Earlier on he had found out that his uncle had been friendly with a lot of writers in Seen UA’s circle. His uncle’s buddy was Pay, who actually has a piece in Style Wars and tags in Subway Art. His uncle even ended up being in Style Wars too. He’s one of the kids in the scene when Duster and Seen UA are painting together. As they all are walking up to the wall, Moody’s uncle is carrying a cardboard box of supplies, nearest to the wall, kind of hidden by the other guys. It’s a supporting role, but who wouldn’t have been excited and honored to be part of such an event! And it creates a lineage that can not be denied.
His uncle continued to write for a while, but didn’t really keep it up over the years. His legacy though has lived on in the form of the name of his crew AA, which stood for Associated Artists. This was directly influenced by the name of Seen’s crew UA, which stands for United Artists.
Around the same time that Moody became dedicated to getting up in 1991, he also wanted to start a crew. So his uncle passed the AA name down to him. As the crew took on a new life, eventually the acronym took on many different meanings, such as Absolute Addicts, Aerosol Addicts, and more. Over time the letters themselves became more important than their exact definition.
The membership of AA grew over the years into a well-respected band of brothers. President Moody says that it wasn’t about just being a “crew” or about amassing a huge number of members, but about being a strong, tight family. Membership came to include: Tres, Fade, DR, Pepe, Rush, Lewch, Gns, Baby168, Tike TFO, Just WF, 9Volt, ZE, Taek, Aones, and more. Many of these writers still get up hardcore and rep AA all the way.
Eventually, around 2002, after ten years of writing and running AA, the law caught on and “Mutz” as a tag became a liability. Still being young, and not wanting to give in so easily, Mutz switched up his tag to Moody and has stuck with it to this day.
Moody also applied his sense of fine draftsmanship to the craftsmanship of creating wood signs, which was a new direction in his work on the street. This brought his work into the third dimension and made installation a whole new challenge. No longer could he just carry a marker and some paint, but he needed a car, an extension ladder, glue and nails. They had to be installed at least up on the second story of a building’s façade, or they disappeared as fast as he could put them out. By this time, Moody’s pristine style and legendary status caused his work to be in high demand. Even nowadays, his fans and collectors will steal his work off the streets, as evidenced by the Woodward Gallery theft last week.
Always tongue in cheek, like his Moody M character sticking his tongue out in glee, he sums up his career in tags as: “Moody is me. Mutz is my aka. Grumpy Guidos is my alter ego. And Master is my title! LOL!!” He teases himself, but he also speaks truth.
Moody is a good man, good leader, and good family. His family has expanded from his parents, to his uncle, to his crew, to his wife and kid. Last Saturday, at the opening of Rather Unique, all of Moody’s families were in attendance, the true whole crew. It was a wonderful night of celebration, accolades and sales.
People used to steal his signs off the street, and now they buy them from galleries. Congratulations on a long and continuing career to one of the best writers in NYC.
Text and Photo: Daniel Feral