I Love Graffiti has posted two great interviews this week. The first is with graffiti legend Taki183 and the second is with Robbo (of fighting with Banksy fame).
Taki, where did you grow up?
I grew up in Washington Heights, moved there when I was a little kid. A lot of Greeks at the time stayed with the Greeks, then that changed with the Heights, the183th street, hung out with everybody and it was a pretty nice place to grow up.
Is it safe to say Washington Heights was the birthplace of modern graffiti in New York City?
I would say the east side of Manhattan was the birthplace of graffiti because that’s where the media picked it up. They couldn’t give a crap what happened in Washington Heights or the Bronx. When it happened on the east side, that’s when it was in the paper.
When you started writing graffiti, what were you calling it? Did you call it tagging or writing?
I think we were calling it writing, but if we saw a subway car we would say, “Let’s go hit the car.” If you hit it from end to end, you’d “kill the car”— that was how we talked Part of the reason it became big during the summer of ’70 is because I was going to summer school at George Washington High School and my desk was full of graffiti. I had written my name and all these people would write on my table also. I already had a name and people were meeting me and they would go out and write. That was the big summer I was working as a messenger. I was in a lot of places and I just kept writing; as long as I had a marker I’d keep writing. It was addictive.
You were doing this solely for the purpose of writing your name?
Yeah, just to say I was there, basically.
And with Robbo (which was actually the English translation of an interview done for a Hungarian blog):
When did you start writing graffiti, and what did inspire you?
Robbo: Back in the late 70″s and early 80′ i was a young skinhead writing on wall’s before i new what graffiti was. About 1983 i had seen graff on tv. films ie; the worriers, at about that time i noticed a tag named KOSH and realized that he was a writer a well and thats where it all began.
How did you tell your parents, that you’d like to do this? What was their reaction?
Robbo: My mum was cool about it as graff was not the social problem that it is today. I never lived with my dad but when i see him he always said he new i was ok coz he See my name everywhere.
How did you feel, and what did you paint on your very first painting?
Robbo: My first piece was of (THE MASTER ROBBO) with a ghostbusters character. I felt very prod and excited.
What names and crews have you painted so far? When and how did your current crew founded, and what does it’s name stand for?
Robbo: ROBBO,ROB484,ROBSTER and ROBER. WRH (we rock hard.1986 till now)
WD (world domination. 1987 till now). PFB (only crew members are allowed to know what it stands for. 1989 till now ). My first crew was THE ART MASTERS (1984‐86).