HOACS is one of today’s most prolific New York wildstyle graffiti writer. It’s obvious when you begin scrolling through even just a little of his Instagram profile, that you are dealing with a tireless, insatiable graffiti writer when it comes to developing style and color combinations.
A member of the crew The Fours, (an international crew) mainly comprised by extremely experienced wildstyle graffiti writers, Hoacs was recently interviewed by the Montana Colors team with the goal of learning more about HOACS, his work ethic and lifestyle.
HOACS History and New York Graffiti Roots
HOACS has been painting graffiti for 20+ years. Graffiti initially was a drive for him, guided by the simplest goal in the culture: to see his name everywhere. Over time as his name has proliferated around the world, he has gradually become increasingly interested in creating the highest quality pieces. This additional focus in his work has led him to developing wildstyle letters that are legible, full of detail and incredibly meticulous in the use of colors.
"Being from New York is tough because there is so much competition. Graffiti is everywhere, from tags to throw ups to pieces, but like they say 'if you can make it in New York you can make it anywhere'. “
Being considered one of the best current graffiti writers in New York City comes with some pressure, given the high level of competition throughout the city. Despite the fact that HOACS born and raised and in turn naturally influenced by New York, his letter structure and design doesn’t strictly pull from traditional New York graffiti styles. His letters are based on the classic Bronx style, but his graffiti style also mixes in different wildstyle forms normally associated with the West Coast and elsewhere in the world. You might call it, a blended wildstyle.
"I understand that New York put graffiti on the map especially for Europeans who viewed NY as the epicenter of graffiti and hip hop but I also think that the Europeans have pushed the graffiti scene so much that to some degree they have surpassed New York.”
Worldwide Influence On Graffiti Styles
This perspective makes a lot of sense today, with how interconnected the world is. As Hoacs himself acknowledges, the role that Europe has played in the history of graffiti has helped shape many of the wide range of styles seen everywhere. While New York is considered the epicenter of graffiti and hip-hop, according to Hoacs, Europeans have taken graffiti to a level that has in some cases surpassed New York itself. Graffiti has transformed into a world-wide projection amplified by the constant communication provided by the Internet. This cross world communication and access to influences has completely broken down the concept of geographical styles. In HOACS opinion there is potentially (with current writers) no longer a "New York”, "European" or an "American" style.
This crossbred spirit that permeates Hoacs’ notion of graffiti is perfectly linked to the type of graffiti writers whose work he finds interesting. From Sen2 and Musa through to Soten, Geser or Kem5 – he is not strictly looking at local/regional influences.
"I am lucky enough to have painted with many of my favourite writers/inspirators but some people who i'm always looking at are, Soten, Geser, Kem5, Sen2 & Musa71.”
HOACS and Painting Graffiti In Europe vs.the USA
If borders no longer delimit graffiti stylistic influences, they still influence through curbing some of the artistic growth, and that's why Hoacs sees Europe as the haven for illegal graffiti for the foreseeable future. In general, Europe’s more lax legal position around illegal graffiti makes it a “safer” place to paint graffiti and passenger trains. Even though there are still risks to painting illegal graffiti in Europe, these days it is more viable than in the United States.
"The risks seem much lower in Europe painting subways than in New York. Being charged with terrorism, starts to turn people from painting here. Painting trains in Europe is much more doable and to me a lot more fun.”
HOACS Unique Application of Color in His Graffiti
Hoacs possesses a unique skill in his use of colors in his pieces, that has continued to show in his graffiti pieces unique color schemes through over time. Even though he is always pushing color boundaries in his graffiti, like most writers, HOACS also has a favorite color scheme. His go to graffiti color mix is based on a blue fill-in, green 3D and pink background. According to him, these three colors in combination never fail. Even though HOACS boasts a modern and evolved wildstyle, the basis for his classic taste is as recognizable as Tarantino films or Gang Starr's hip-hop.
As we have delved deeper into HOACS style and influences, it allows us to have a deeper value and understanding of each of this relevant graffiti writer’s pieces. When putting all of these pieces together, his artistic journey to this point in his career makes more sense and in turn gives us a glimpse into the future opportunities he sees his work taking on moving forward.