“Yeah, for me personally I thought I didn’t have style for the first 10 years of writing. I had good characters and a few good pieces but I had it all backwards. I spent more time developing my characters then my letters. If you write then you know letters come first. So I started over in 96. I really took steps backwards to re-develop my approach and a lot of that was mainly because of Wane COD.”
Read the full ILG interview with Persue SUK COD and member of the Seventh Letter Crew after the jump
When did you start writing, what does it mean to you and can you please introduce yourself to our readers a bit?
I started writing Persue’ in 1988. I was 17 and in high school. I am a writer from the suburbs of San Diego, Ca who got turned onto it from one of my classmates. Its crazy to think that was over 20 years ago. I haven’t stopped since I became dedicated. For me, I think it was easy to dedicate my time to the art and lifestyle. I have always been creative and there really wasn’t any other way I wanted to live my life. Of course I wanted to be in a Rock n’ Roll band or on T.V even a soccer player. Well, I sort of live my Rock n’ Roll lifestyle. I’ve made a living working in the skateboard industry working with the who’s who of the skateboarding world. I’ve toured with them and painted graffiti along the way. I’ve made business trips and made contact with writers in every city I travel to so we can paint. It’s the beauty of our worldly network.
I have met and experience a lot doing the things I do. It has molded me into the person I am today.
What means a crew to you? What does it mean to you being a part of the SUK?
This is a good question. Because I think it is different for a lot of people but for me it has been a few things. I am apart of a few equally important crews. SUK – I am a long time friend ofCanTwo. He put me down in 1998. We both had mutual admiration for each others work. In my eye’s CanTwo is one of the best all around writers on the planet. So it is an Honor to roll with the dude. SUK has heavy ties with TMD from New Zealand. So it really is a powerhouse with a lot of influential writers in the scene today. Sometimes it’s a little lonely being the only American representative, haha.
COD – Has had the biggest roll in me becoming more of a stylist in the past 13 years. Wane put me in the crew in 1996. COD is a Bronx based crew that was originally started by a music producer/writer named Michelob. COD was one of the last crews really bombing the New York Transit line in the mid to late 80’s. Wane pushed me to develop my letters. I build with him the most. He really is my brother from another mother. We’ve been on some good bombing missions together. COD has some amazing members. Enue, Reas, H.L. ROC, Bates, Jaes, Virus, Doves, Dash, OiL (R.I.P.), Goal, Sabe, Ghost, Crazy Wen andKet to mention a few. These guys give me the encouragement to keep pushing the movement.
7th Letter – I’ve met Eklips off and on in the 90’s. Whether it be in fashion or graffiti. I remember the first time I met him it was in the AWR motor pit. I was with Quasar my mentor at the time. We were going big and Eklips rolled up to regulate the pit. He asked us who we were and who told us we could paint here? To tell you the truth I was a little nervous. He capped a couple of pieces from writers he didn’t want in the pit and said we were cool cause we were doing top to bottoms. It was 15 years later that I would start running into him at art events. Revok has a lot to do of why I am apart of the 7th. He recognized me as one of the most influential writers that kept it real on the West Coast and put me down with the Exchange project and 7th. 7th Letter is an extension of AWR/MSK but deals more with art, fashion, music, video and skateboarding projects. AWR/MSK are some of the most influential writers in the world today and a huge part of me experimenting with my style.
T.V.C – Is my new family in San Diego. I have known and painted with most of the guys since the crew inception some 17 years ago. These guys have put in a lot of work in and out side of S.D. Dudes like Kyzer, Flynt, Jale, Fokis, Herion, Peng (R.I.P) and Kwest either crushed or crushes it.
But besides the crews and before I was involved with these crews I have had a lot of great experiences and painted with a lot of talented writers regardless of crews and politics. Just for the pure fact of getting up and keeping it fun. All of these people have had influence on me and even if we don’t have the same crew name at the end we have the same struggle and we become bonded. It’s just my perception. It’s the way I’ve chosen to see things. Not everyone will experience this or see it like this. My mate Aroe HA/MSK fame told me once regardless of what crew I was in people would want to see my stuff. It was that relevant to the culture. That was a huge compliment but I feel I wouldn’t be anything with my crews and friends.
You has been around lately, crazy china at example, whats your view on that country and is there a so called graffiti movement? Can you share a little experience with our readers?
I started traveling outside of the States around 95. First place I went was Norway. I met Goal AIO,COD and painted with him. This was before e-mail. I just showed up and the first night I was getting up, so sick! I started traveling to Asia for the footwear around 99. I was going to Korea at first but I really didn’t do much. Just some street tags and a couple of silvers in Pusan. I left that company I worked for at the time and started a new job. I go to China for Vox. Actually the first writer I met in Hong Kong was Redy a girl bomber who knows her shit. Through her I met more writers in HK. So every time I travel out there we paint. Hong Kong is like the Hollywood of Asia. The city never sleeps and it is as dangerous as you make it. Actually Redy, Xeme and Sinic do an Asian graff magazine by the name Invasian. It’s really a great mag. They asked me if I wanted to judge the Wall Lords competition in Shenzen, China in late 2008. They wanted two judges and who better really then Rime. So I asked if he wanted to join me and he was down. Rime and I put a video out documenting our trip. China’s scene has potential especially in the bigger cities. American culture really hits home with the youth. But because if how hard living can be out there the last thing the youth is thinking about is getting up. First I think most of them are thinking of surviving. Paint cost money and if your gonna rack out there you better not get caught because you might just get a limb chopped off. I was just in Shenzen to paint with some friends and I asked how large is the scene in the city of 5 million plus. They told me there are only 20 active writers. There is no beef and no politics. I think what would be dope is if more writers from America and Europe made frequent trips to Asia to collaborate with the artist out there. It would in turn motivate and stimulate the scene. Dezio from France lives and works out there. He kills it, such a great stylist. There is a lot of talented artist in Asia so be on the look out.
Whats the story on the sneakerdesigns you did?
We’ll it all started after High school. I was working in a deli and I was drawing and painting with all my free time. I could have gone out and partied my ass off when I was young but instead I wanted to work on my craft, art. I wasn’t worried about getting girls cause they were always around. I let a couple of good ones go thought. I spent sleepless nights drawing until one day I got noticed from a company named Eightball. They had a great skate team at the time, guys like Danny Way, Sean Sheffy, and Alphonzo Rawls. They wanted some street related art so I gave them a drawing. The t-shirt sold really well. So they wanted more from me so I kept it going. Then they started DC, Dub and Droors. I was there to help concept the look of those companies. From there I met more people because at the time what I was bringing to the table graphically was very fresh and hip. So more opportunities presented them selves. I started to do skateboard graphics cutting rubies. That was a lot of fun and before people were using computers to separate the colors. When people found out there was a lot of money doing footwear, companies started to come out of the woodwork. I launched Osiris in 96 and Circa in 99. I actually named and did the Circa logo.
I got into footwear because I was tired of drawing graphics for boards and with all the board companies the more competition there was you were forced to change graphics faster. It was starting to feel repetitive. So I wanted to learn something new. I started designing skateboard shoes in 99 and kept the drawing more personal. TodayI am President for a hardcore skate brand by the name of Vox. I am in charge of all sorts of stuff. Not only designing the product I have to make sure things around the business run as smooth as possible. In the end if the bottom line isn’t wherethe CEO wants it, it’s my neck. It’s all good though we have a sick program. Check it out on the VOX website. We are doing a great art series with a few members of the 7th Letter. Ewok, Steel, Ryes, Push, Young K and Eklips will have models in stores mid November so be on the look out.
Your style have been changed due the past years, what is Persue influenced by, i mean is there any inspiration?
Yeah, for me personally I thought I didn’t have style for the first 10 years of writing. I had good characters and a few good pieces but I had it all backwards. I spent more time developing my characters then my letters. If you write then you know letters come first. So I started over in 96. I really took steps backwards to re-develop my approach and a lot of that was mainly because of Wane COD.
So I had 10 years under my belt but felt I had not contributed anything. Some people would argue or agree to that but this is what I thought. I have really painted with a lot of influential people so they are my first influence, then I get a lot of ideas from music and traveling. I still think I am on a quest for style. But then again does it ever really stop?
BunnyKitty? whats that?
Bunny Kitty was something I started in 2001. Well that’s when I came up with the concept. Really I just stumbled upon it. I wasn’t looking for an icon or anything at the time but when I got the concept together I felt I had something really strong and undeniably cute. First I made stickers then I started painting Bunny Kitty in the streets. I never really attached the Persue’ name to the character until later. I wanted BK to try to stand on her own two feet and she did. As the character became more recognized I started to incorporate her into my pieces and making t-shirts and accessories with my partner Tweezers. We did a lot of art shows and traveled as much as we could to promote this universe we created. I have written a story and have come up with many characters so it didn’t come across so shallow with only using Bunny Kitty. New projects present them selves all the time for Bunny Kitty even though I don’t get to work on it full time I always have something going on with it. For me Bunny Kitty represents good times.
It also represents my family, friends and adventures I have had. I feel it is also a way to relate with people outside of Graffiti because the characters and story are well developed. So they might see it as a negative art form turning into a positive. In the end I just want to inspire and be inspired by the project. We’ll see where it takes me.
Is Graffiti the most important thing in life for you?
No, First my family then there is graffiti. At one point graffiti was number one. It can consume your life so I always let it present itself to me. I didn’t pursue it because I new it would present trouble if I did it as much as I wanted to, especially in the city I live. A lot of people hate graffiti in S.D. I like to compare my graffiti career tothe tortoise and the hare story. I might have been slow out the gate but now I am cruising and the people that were so judgmental on me in my early years probably don’t even paint anymore. Progression is the key not what people think so if you are stoked on what you are producing then keep doing it.
What is needed to getting better and better, in your opinion? A well sorted life with no huzzle or does it matter basically? is there a specific profile making you a good writer?
A few things that I found worked for me were having mentors. Older cats that showed me the ropes. I never went to art school. I was born with a natural ability so I was stoked. It just took time and a lot of drawing exercises to develop what I have today. What also helped me get better can control and composition was bombing. Painting under pressure helped me with my hand eye coordination. You always have to hustle!!! It doesn’t come easy. I think I have a good head on my shoulders too. I don’t always think about me first. I think about the big picture and if I can put some friends on to some thing I will even before myself. I believe in karma.
What do you think about sponsoring generally?
Awh the future.I think a writer being sponsored these days is great and needed. I talk about this a lot with some really key writers in the mix. And they all have the same complaint, they don’t get paid. They get to travel a bit but it really isn’t a fair trade. I think the writer and sponsoringcompany needs to remember the years of dedication the artist has put into the development of their style. For a paint company to offer them free cans, that sounds like a dream come true but really the company gets to make all the money and at the end of the day the artist is exploited. The writer should also remember how much they sacrificed to get where they are and charge the company accordingly. The paint companies should be willing, especially if a writer has his or her name on a can for them to receive royalties. You have to look at it like skateboarding. The Skaters risk their lives doing tricks and so do the writers. The skaters have followings and so do the writers. The writers should create a union and have one representative act on their negotiations with the sponsoring company. This person or group would sort of act like and agent. The writers need to get together on this. I know I am not the only one that thinks this way. Some of the artist might already be working on this. I hope so. I always thought a good person to spear head this would be RIME or myself. How do you gauge some ones worth? We’ll that is easy, if you sponsor them then its worth every dime you give that artist. Every writer would probably get paid differently depending on the type of exposure they get. For a skater they receive a monthly paycheck, then they get a royalty report on products that have their name on it. The skater also gets paid for pictures of them in magazines or television if they expose the logo of the company they represent. They also get a travel budget and they can use this for any trip or tour they want to get on during the year. There is perdium involve during trips as well. They will get royalty checks 2 to 4 times a year. If you pay a writer $1.00 a can they will be stoked and rep the company even harder. The writers need to wake the fuck up! I think there is one company that is setting things up right, right now and that is an australian brand. They come from a skate/graffiti background so they should be able to relate.
Do you feel the Zero Tolerance where you live? Did you ever being in trouble with the law?
I’ve been caught once writing graff and it was along time ago. Long before it was a felony. The zero tolerance is a shitty law set up to get more money from the people. It also gets them in the system so they can fuck with them for what ever else they want. We are living in a policed world it is so apparent these days. How do you fight? You revolt and who is gonna jump start that? Actually, I got nabbed in Spain a few months ago. I was doing a roll down gate and had my friends Jordae and Open 247 looking out. Then half way through, out of nowhere two under cover dudes jump out of a car and by the time I turned around they were on me. I didn’t understand a word they said so I told them I was from America and that I heard it was okay for me to paint the streets of Spain, hehe. One guy looked like my dad straight up so I had a smile on my face plus Obama just won the presidency so they were cool. I have a feeling if Bush was in office I’d be fucked. My friend said I was lucky because they have been cracking down hard on graff in Spain. I try to keep under the radar around my city. I’ll have some pieces running but I seldom bomb. I don’t trust the scene here and I have too much to lose. I save the dirty work for traveling.
If you have to draw the ABC what you prefer? Illustrative fonts by Persue or a typical style lettering by Persue?
I actually just did one for Mad C’s new book. You will have to wait to see.
you are part of the Exchange project right? how is this, i mean what is the point and how it feels seeing other writers working out the own style?
I am apart of the Exchange. It’s just a fun exercise. It is mostly for the simple fact of, I never thought of that! It personally made me a better writer and pushed me to try new things. I plan on doing some new outlines for the new writers involved. It is such a great concept. I look forward to everyone’s painting and how they approach it. Plus it brings people together. Being apart of the Exchange tour in 2007 was one of the best experiences. I got to meet some new cats and hang with some old friends. Rime has a lot planned and I think people are going to be stoked on what will become of this. I am not going to tell you all about it I will leave that for him to do.
What direction Graffiti Art is going to? any preview by Persue?
I can’t really say what direction graffiti is going. I personally like to see someone trying something original or progressive. I think a writer today needs to be well rounded. Someone who does it all, burners, bombing, fashion, hand styles, experiments, characters, trains and traveling is what I look for, we’ll style being one the most important things. There is so much talent out there and the future is written on the walls all you have to do is pay attention. It’s happening as you read this.
Thanks for the interview, shoutouts!?
Thank you. Shout outs to my family and friends. Also to the lovers and haters, I could never do it without you. Respect your elders.