Long Island, New Yorkin 1985 is not exactly where history would imagine one the most notorious New York City subway graffiti crews plotting a mission to take over the trains, one line at a time. It was speculated throughout the graffiti community that this mysterious crew maybe aliens that came to take over. The Aliens were later identified as The Destiny’s Children aka TDC. A crew full of the usual suspects and characters that make up a great graffiti history, with the right amount of drama and shenanigan’s to handle whole car productions, lay ups and bombing Tractor trailor trucks just for the fame.
This November, SHO President of TDC will be celebrating the 4th anniversary of New York City Graffiti The Destiny Children, a comprehensive book about the history of TDC. Painstaking put together by hand over a period of 3 years. Complying most of his own photos into 344 pages of over 500 color photos with 12 full double page Whole Cars images that pull out into 4 page spreads and featuring exclusive stories from past and present crew members. The diligence of this documentation is like no other graffiti crew book out there. 12oz contributor Lady K Fever caught up with SHO a busy graphic design at his office on Wall street, to hear in his own words about his book, new projects and the legacy of TDC going into the crew’s 30th anniversary in 2016.
When did you start writing?
I’ve been active since 1983-now. I started in 1983 through 1986 painting walls in Long Island: Freeport, Roosevelt and Hempstead also Rosedale and Jamaica, Queens. We were bombing entire bus yards with Marsch mops and paint insides and out. I first hit the 5 train in November 1985 and painted until the end of the running bombed subway train era in fall 1989.
How did a bunch of Guys from Long Island take over so many trains?
A lot of dedication to take it as far as we could before it was over. FAME. TDC hit the 2, 3, 5 and 6 lines first, then we had to cut DC off for being disloyal so Dome and I hit the A and C lines in Grant Ave, East New York, the B underneath central park 57th, the N and R line under City Hall, the K in 175th, the J at 121 street primarily, the L switched up from the J, Same with the M line, We hit the Q in Coney island and JFK express even once.
Why did you take photos back then?
I took the majority of pictures for the book. We all benched trains religiously to try and get flicks of them running, It was a full time job. I was fanatical in trying to get all the pics that I could and to this day I’m working on new leads. I have 80-90% of everything TDC did.
The process seems so advance for the 1980’s to document your work, your crews work and the other painting partners you painted with?
I didn’t want TDC just to die out and it really would have. I DID the book for FAME First.
How did you create your book, what were the steps you had to take to make it happen?
I had to scan, digitalize all of the original photos then create chapters and a timeline. Then come up with Ad Director layout styling and creative content that ran through out the whole book. It’s all registered and copyright protected. I own the copyright on the content through the Library of Congress. This is super important.
How did you find a publisher?
I created a full color full size double sided printed glossy hard cover professionally binded copy to shop to publishers with my proposal. It cost $3000 approximately for all my expenses. I shopped segments and chapter highlights to 10 book publishers here in the US and overseas. It was a lot of work and effort. A lot of great feedback but the project was obviously going to be super expensive so I got rejections behind that. I was able to secure only one publisher willing to front the $70, 000 to do the book. I chose that publishing house because they do high quality art books with super photo quality work. I was very impressed with how it came out.
In the Book, You write about doing a lot of trains in Lay up’s? Can you explain the difference between a layup and a yard ?
Layups were all over the place and harder, to police, I guess. We hit yards but they were even harder and you were trapped in there. Our favorite yard was 148 St, Lenox terminal on the 3s. Skeme and Dez’s yard.
TDC had a lot of Whole Cars, top to bottoms, window down end to ends, the way you presented your whole cars in the book is unlike any other book out there. What inspired you to make the pages of the whole cars pull out?
I did the book with the 12 4 gate fold pull outs that are featured in all 12 chapters because it was bigger
than life when we did it. I wanted the whole cars big like poster size big so when someone is looking
through the book they get the full visual impact of what we accomplished on the trains.
Page 288- with the whole cars in Brooklyn, How long did it take you to hunt down the J train layup?
I had a car and we found the J layup by accident. We figured out everything for ourselves. It was a real adventure.
Why was the J yard gangster?
It was super locked down, it had a VS police station inside it. You could also see the yard from above on the L and J train elevated. It also was super lit up at night.
What train do you love the most?
The Juggernaut train page is my most famous train. I’m happy with all of the books burners and styles. We were very original.
The Book features quotes from writers like POKE IBM, BOM5 and so many more. How did you get everyone involved?
I Push IBM for Poke, MW for Bom5, FunClub for Roz. FUN Fucking Up Niggaz. I’ m also NTA No Toys Allowed. I put other people in the book because I painted with them and wanted everyone to Shine.
” In the Graffiti world, the only thing that ever mattered was having more trains than you could count. You got Transit, I’ll Fuck with you” SHO TDC
What inspired you to write quotes like that? With this book deal did you have to censor yourself at all?
On the quotes: I said that because if you were of age to write graffiti and didn’t hit trains while you could: No Props. People that weren’t of age or didn’t live here get somewhat of a pass. Another reason why I went with the publisher Schiffer is because they didn’t make me censor out any curses, street slang or nothing else, nigga this, nigga that. I kept it real for Niggas. Niggas Know. It’s how we spoke in real life, so that was great. I didn’t want it watered down at all. Also hitting trains as you see has become more and more legendary over the years so it was really worth doing.