12 Questions: Chip7 MAYHEM Crew12oz recently had the opportunity to talk with Mayhem Crew founder Chip7 about his lengthy graffiti career, his upcoming solo show and collaboration with Carnage for issue 7. Be sure to pick up Carnage Issue 7 featuring the work of Chip7 and the rest of MAYHEM Crew from New York and New Jersey. Issue 7 will be available at the opening of Chip7’s show of new work at Scumbags & Superstars (16 Wilson Ave, Bushwick, New York) on April 25, from 7-10pm, and via carnagenyc.com on Monday, 4/28, at noon ET. The zine is 76 pages, printed in full color on high-quality stock and will be limited to 600 copies with screen-printed covers.
Check out a preview video of Carnage Issue 7 below and check out our recent video spotlighting Scumbags and Superstars here.
1. What do you write, what crews do you rep and how did you start writing?
I write Chip7 Mayhem. Deth Kult. Dirty30. CBS and Dudes of Bangkok. I started in the end of 1994.
2. Your style really stands out from everyone else. Who or what do you draw your influences from?
Thank you, I always tried to do my own thing and not be filed in the “biter department”. I draw influences from everything that surrounds me. Friends, music, a good chat, etc. I think most of all perhaps Nace’s memory. How all that talent could be taken away from us so young. R.I.P. All our old friends, Sace and Nekst. We miss you guys for real.
3. What drew you to graffiti and what keeps you interested in it now?
My brother got sent to a detention center at around 12 or 13. He was on one, and the judge had enough. He started drawing graffiti on paper there. I guess that sparked it. What keeps me interested now is having fun outdoors.
4. What are your favorite places to paint, and with who?
Living in Bangkok my favorite place to paint is the boat line that connects the city. Favorite people to paint or hangout with in general are old friends from Mayhem.
5. Any crazy painting stories you can share with us?
Wow. A few of those I once got into a heavy foot chase in an Ohio highway graffiti sting. I ended up heading in a pipe in the ground and eating a contact card another writer had given me.
6. Do you have any interests besides graffiti? Whats something that may surprise us about Chip7?
I am interested in a lot of things, but honestly I would probably prefer late night drawing to anything else. As far as surprises I have never had a car, and a lot of my old stuff was done on foot walking miles in New Jersey.
7. Tell us about the origins of MAYHEM Crew and how it evolved into what it is today.
Mayhem started in 1997. I asked Kemos to push it first. It stood for Men.Attacking.Yards.Hitting.Everything.Metal. among other things. Then I went on a trip to Maine with some members, and it kicked off from there. In 17 years a lot of things changed … folks have families, different interests, move to different places, and are on different wave lengths. I thank my lucky stars I was blessed to share misadventures with everyone. R.I.P. Nace, Sace,and Nekst. We miss you.
8. How did you and MAYHEM link up with Carnage for the upcoming issue 7?
I linked up with Carnage for the Deth Kult handstyle editions they published. Navy8, False, Merz, Deja, Gable, and yours truly are all members of DKLT and Mayhem. I really liked what Carnage was doing so I talked to them about a collab.
9. I understand the Carnage issue 7 release party is also the opening of your solo show. What can you tell us about your show?
The show features 18 pieces inspired by my time in Asia over the last 3 and a half years. Bangkok has a magical vibe to it mixed with in a dense urban landscape of the future and past. On one street you’ll find a building that looks like something out of a sci fi movie next to a building from the 1960’s. It is a true 24 hr city so I feel that the work reflects the nighttime side of things. Bright colors are everywhere there and that probably spilled into the pieces also.
10. Do you think the internet and Instagram has changed graffiti?
The internet has changed graffiti, just like it has changed everything else in our world. It isn’t going anywhere. IG is a good way for me to see what my friends are up to living so far away. That being said we can all roll our collective eyes at copycats trolling the internet for new source material. Life is too short however to let this dampen your day.
11. Who are your favorite writers past and present?
My favorite writers list could get vast but I’ll give you the shortlist of Reas, Sento, Twist, Setup, and Ghost. The biggest impact on my life were friends like Nace. He probably in many ways is my favorite writer. A lot of my friends and crew mates in general. Kemos, Navy, Vizie, Cense, Jase, Resq, Eye, Pepe, Lions and False. Big fan of Curve. TGE, Rime and many more.
12. Any shout outs, thank you’s or last words?
Thank you to all my friends and family I got to see on this trip. Love you guys! Shout out to 12oz Prophet, Carnage, Mathmatiks, Scumbags and Superstars and Red Bull Thailand. Peace!
All photography shot in the studio: Ethersock Other photography courtesy of: CarnageNYC