We recently received a question from a reader asking us for graf advice. Being the know-everything-about-nada chicks that we are, we decided to consult some experts on the matter as well as throw in our own bad advice. Thanks to MEME, LUCKY LUCY and CHOCK for helping us out with this one, you should actually listen to what they say ‘cos unlike us, they actually know what they’re talking about.
I’ll keep this short: I’m a girl, been into graff since I was 13- so 9 years now- but only ever sketched cos I had no one to write with and didn’t think it was wise to be walking around alone. Recently I’ve started tagging, but it ain’t that fun alone. I’m wondering: should I just give this shit up? Is it too dangerous for me to be out alone, just making up evasion tactics/ wall climbing methods as I go along? Am I really likely to meet other writers who won’t jack my paint and fuck me up?
Love from London
CHOCK | GIRLS ON TOP Crew | UK
If you wanna make friends go to a legal wall, most of the people there especially in London are safe. People there are just wanting to paint. The illegal vibe in London is way more thuggish so be prepared to go jack some cash tills or get your pens robbed. I have had a fair bit of grief in my time from being bottled to being robbed, but if you really like what you are doing you will just carry on regardless. I gotta say I don’t have the energy for it in the same way anymore but I relished it in my 20′s. Also watch out for CCTV there is way too much of it in central London. I used to find a nice safe get on for the tracks and walk them all night but usually with a mate, yeah you need to make some friends with the same interests! Get out on the piss with mates and just take your markers and if you’re finding climbing hard borrow a boy to stand on, haha that’s what I used to do. Graffiti isn’t wise but it sure is fun!
MEME | Few and Far | USA
First off get some god damn confidence if you want to do graffiti. Otherwise, give that shit up!! Ok if you been painting 9yrs!!! You should know how to climb shit, it’s just common sense. You see shit you wanna paint and then you hit it. No matter what is in the way.
If you don’t have the balls or even try to tag by yourself then your not into the bombing game and wont get any respect from any writers. Try doing legal walls if you are scared. Or you can get a buddy to get a little drunk or high with you and watch your back. Random friends that don’t paint always find it exciting to get into mischief with ya. When painting alone dress like a guy and in dark clothes *reminder lighter and spray paint = Crack head protection.
If some guy rolls up on you at a spot while your painting, act cute put your chest out act like it’s all good then jack his fucking paint if he trys to jack you. Weirdos seem to think women don’t have know how to run game on fools…but we do!
If you have issues making friends that paint. Get one of your homegirls that’s “out going”= (drunk girl) to to run around with you in your city. Lace her with paint and a glove and write your NAME which isn’t used by another writer. All over the fucking place.
If stopped by a cop, say you are out walking cuz you got in fight with your man. Cops never wanna deal with a crying girl, trust me works every time!!
Do some graffiti homework… For the love of god!!
LUCKY LUCY | Full-time artist | Netherlands
If you don’t think it’s that fun or satisfying alone, than that says something in and of itself. In nine years, seems like if you were really into, you’d already be taking legal avenues to paint like permission walls. You would know if the fire is strong within you. You can’t count on anyone but yourself, and there are plenty of us writers that are going it alone. I prefer my own walls rather than collaborative productions.
It can’t hurt to go bombing with a pro or two to learn what to do and not to do. That’s what I did when I started, but I also did a lot solo. There’s definitely been times where I looked back and thought how lucky I was nothing happened because at some spots no one can hear you scream. Carry a knife and/or pepper spray on your pants, not in your bag. For the same token, don’t be a wuss.
There are tons of super sweet, loyal, generous writers but there are also tons that will jack your shit too. Always assume people you just met/hardly know are not trustworthy and never leave your paint alone. I’ve seen a writer that shared a room with other writers at an event and then get all his paint jacked because he had the check out info wrong, they saw the opportunity and took it all. I’ve gotten paint jacked from a locked “safe place” at an event. I’ve had paint jacked from off the lift, inside a warehouse at a paid gig. ALWAYS ASSUME YOUR PAINT IS GOING TO BE STOLEN AND TAKE IT WITH OUT. Never be flashy with how much you have. Don’t leave it sitting all vulnerable either. I advise a little wheelie suitcase. As far as getting beat up, use your instincts.
IVEE | C.O.P. Magazine | Australia
The simple answer is: If you truly love graf then get out there. Don’t let worry or fear hold you back.
The more complicated answer is: Yes, you’re right it can be unsafe to be in the streets late at night. You need to keep your wits about you and don’t make yourself seem an easy target. If you feel scared, you will look scared, so walk with confidence, like you do this shit erryday. You could also carry a weapon, but this comes with its own set of difficulties, if the cops search you and you have graf stuff and a weapon then expect to be wearing some special silver bangles. You also have to always have it handy ‘cos you can’t just be like “Oh hold on Mr Rapist while I retrieve my box cutter from underneath yesterday’s cheese and tomato sandwich in my handbag” and you have to be prepared to use it if you gotta.
Have you thought of taking a group of friends with you when you bomb? Some of the most memorable bombing missions are with non-graf buddies ‘cos they just get such a huge kick out of it.
There’s plenty of nice writers out there who won’t jack your paint or want to fuck you up. Maybe you could start an Instagram or Tumblr of your sketches to start getting your name out there? If you’ve been into graf for 9 years then you would know the places where writers network, so meet people. You know what they say, real recognise real, if you’ve got the passion for it then other writers will see this.
On the personal tip, when I first started painting, another girl and I were doing a piece and we got sprung by a dude who was not impressed with our artwork, he managed to land a solid man boot into my guts. I could have given up that day and never painted again but my passion for graf was stronger than the internal bleeding. I also learned a very valuable lesson to always stay alert to my surroundings.
Ultimately, it’s up to you how much effort you want to put into it. Graf comes with risks as well as rewards and you have to be prepared to do some ballsy shit to get any sort of recognition. If you’ve got the ticker for it then go hard at it! If not, then keep killin’ those blackbooks.
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