1) Where are you from and when did you start writing.
I'm originally from Crown Heights , Brooklyn. Not many
people identify me as a Brooklyn writer. I lived there until I was 13 then I
moved to Roosevelt island , then the Bronx, the borough I'm probably most
associated with. I started writing the end of my first year at the high school
of art & design in 1977. I always noticed subway writing even before I actually
did it. It was something that I saw and
inevitably wondered about. You know, how it got there? who did
it? etc., etc., etc. I remember seeing Blade's famous whole car with the dancing
girls and thinking "damn, how do these guys do it?" Even before that I remember
seeing groups like the vanguards, & the ebony dukes spray painted and thinking
that they were gangs .It wasn't until I entered art & design that I actually
started meeting some of these people and learning all their secrets.
2) Who were the first names you seen up and what writer inspired you.
I was influenced by a whole lot of differant people as well
as the culture of the 70's. Some of the guys that I liked at that time were
Tracy168, Blade of course, Lee, Dean, Don One, Jester, Team , Aztec, Inca one,
Phase two, and many more. I have to say I was equally influenced by stuff like
Mad magazine, R.Crumb, Jack Kirby, Marvel enter the dragon", and the music of Parliment, funkadelic,
James Brown and Led Zepplin. All of those things formed a comics, Dick Tracy ,
movies like "shaft", "super fly", "
huge melting pot of popular culture that really made up that era
How did you find the
name DAZE and can you tell us about your first time hitting the trains
as well as who you were with.
I went through a whole series of names ,as most writers did
back then. Some of the things I started with other people had first so I
couldn't get with that. Then I just started thinking of the letters I had style
for and came up with "DAZE". It was a whole process that seems to be lost on
writers today. These days guys just pick a name and start writing without
giving much thought to it. I always felt that originality begins with the choice
of your name or tag, after that style follows. My first piece was on the D
train. I cut out of school and
went with a guy that wrote DEA2 . He
knew the 4 yard pretty well and I felt I could trust him. Nevertheless it was a
It was the dead of
winter, I tried to do a piece in bone white , and leather brown, but because it was so cold the paint
froze and created a mess. Next up we got raided by work bums AND cops . I
remember the work bums throwing wrenches and stuff at us as we ducked under the
train. at one point my jacket got caught on a piece of the cut fence and I
ripped it just to get away. The amazing thing was that we actually got away! At
any rate the raid didn't stop me it ,it just jump started my career. After that
I was totally into it.
4) Who was your
first writing partner and can you tell us who would become your best writing
My first real writing partner was 2MAD, but my most well known
partner would have to be Crash.
5) You are a member of the Group CYA, Can you tell us how the Group got started
and who was the original prez.
The group CYA ,which stands for " crazy young artists" was
started by 2MAD and JEAN 13. 2MAD really was the one that got it together. At
that time we realized that everyone was either in a group or had their own group
so we thought it was a good idea to start one. Later on I took it over and kept
it going on the trains.
6) What were all the train lines you have painted on.
I've painted on all lines at one time or another. The one
that really eluded me though was the 7 line. I really wanted that but for some
reason never got the opportunity to hit it. The lines I'm most known for hitting
would be the 1's,2's, 3's,4's, & the 5's and 6's.
I did however do pieces on the cc, d ,rr, j's and m's at one time or another. I liked getting off the IRT's
occasionally and doing a piece somewhere else. a lot of the BMT and IND Lines
switched up so you could do a piece on one line and months later it would end up
8) Can you tell us
all the writers you have painted with over the years and can you tell us what
you think was your best production running on the trains.
Man I have to say I painted with a pretty diverse group of
people over the years. Some of the guys I painted with were DEAN, 2MAD,
CRASH, NAC, COS 207, MITCH77, PJAY, REPEL, NOC167, DEZ, SKEME, IZ THE WIZ, ZEPHYR,
DONDI, BASE2, to name a few. I was really into the idea of painting with
as many writers with style as I could and wanted to get around this way. Some of
the people I painted with have no connection to each other at all but I met them
all at various times either through each other , or at the bench, or even just
piece watching. It's hard to say what my best production was, Maybe that "trap,
dez, daze" joint in subway art, or Maybe the Kos207 & Daze we did on the 1's. I
could also say the Daze, Crash with scenery or one of the cars me and Skeme did.
That question puts me on the spot because there were so many special ones for
special reasons, y'know , kinda like girls.
9) In the
1980's there was a all out cross out " WAR "
on the subways. Was any
of your work effected by this.
I was affected in a little way. Most of the time it was
guilt by association. Your painting with a guy that has beef then all of a
sudden his beef is your beef. Cap caught a couple of my pieces that way. For the
most part I didn't get caught out there as much as others did. I remained cool
with a lot of heads simultaneously.
10) Can you tell us all the writing
crews you were in.
There were a lot of crews I was in . Too many to list...
CYA, BYB, TDS, ROC, TNT, CIA, TFP etc. etc, etc.
11) What yards or tunnels did you feel were the best places to paint and
I really liked tunnels because I felt that was a situation
I could control more than being in a yard. But that didn't stop me from going to
Yards or elevated lay ups.
12) What writers
do you feel are truly over looked in our history.
There have been many writers that have been over looked in
time for one reason or another. One of the most over looked is Noc167. Most
people can't even begin to grasp his contribution to the whole shit. Another one
might be Mitch77 who also pulled out some truly amazing masterpieces in his
13) When was the last time you
painted a train and why did you stop.
I stopped about '84. At that time I really didn't like the
direction it was going in. Little did I know the whole scene was just evolving
into something else. I also wanted to concentrate more on my studio paintings .
I felt I had done just about everything in Graff that I wanted.
14) You would
move on to a great career in galleries. Can you tell us the start of it all.
The Gallery stuff started about 1981 for me. At first it was
slow, a show here or there but then it just took off! I really just started
making paintings just as a goof at first ,then I realized it might be my real
calling. The gallery stuff really exploded when people started writing about in
the village voice and the daily news. After that the mainstream galleries were
suddenly aware of what we were doing. At the same time "Wild style" , and "Style
Wars" were being filmed and all kinds of events downtown were happening. The
gallery shows were not something I sought out. It was more like something I
rolled with. Once I got a taste though I realized I was in a whole new yard
where the old rules didn't apply. I really wanted to make myself known in this
new arena and on some degree I did just that. These days I have 2 to 5 solo
shows a year and am included in tons of group shows, this however has very
little to do with my pieces on the train ,even though if it weren't for that I
probably wouldn't have been noticed in the first place.
15) Where do you see
your art in 20 years.
It's hard to say . I think real art is constantly evolving, that's
what keeps the whole process going forward. People don't always like change but
it happens never the less. I think I'll still be painting though It might be in
some other medium besides spray paint. I also want to take my art and expose it
more to the masses in places where people don't know my stuff. One way to do
this might be the internet but I'm thinking of more tangeable places. I'm
inspired and influenced to some degree by what the younger generation is doing
today. They are the ones that will keep the ball rolling.
We would like to thank Daze for sharing a little
history with us. Should any one have photos of DAZE's work please contact at
Photo credits go to ... DAZE and JEAN 13 plus the team at Subway outlaws. ~