This week Spray Planet had the awesome opportunity to chop it up with graffiti artist Style, one of the best to do it in the graffiti game. Best known for hitting those secretive spots off the beaten path, Style has definitely made a name for himself by putting paint where you would never expect to find it. What sets him apart from the rest is his absolute dedication to this lifestyle.
In this Spray Planet interview Style opens up to us about his early years coming up in the graffiti scene, his inspirations over the years, how being involved in graffiti has changed his life, and he even gives us a little insight on his go-to essentials when he heads out to rock a spot! Keep reading to find out more about Style and what makes him tick.
History of Graffiti Artist STYLE
Spray Planet: Tell us a little bit about who you are (what you write/what crews you rep/how long you’ve been at it)
Style: I go by Style... I’ve been coloring on things I shouldn’t for about 22 consistent years. The crews I’m honored to be a part of are Lords, Tits, WST, and Creatures.
Spray Planet: Where did you grow up and what is the graff scene like there?
Style: I was born and raised in the Bay Area. Single mom, raising a single child who was forced to move around a lot throughout Marin and Sonoma counties. We bounced around every year, so I was always starting new schools and made lots of friends along the way. Frisco was only a 30 minute drive... It became a weekly crave, sometimes we’d go 2-3 days a week if possible. Friends and I would get a car, head to a cutty gas station, and pull a runner (prior to the pre-pay at the pump), then roll up to a grocery store, rack a bottle, and drink the whole way to the city. The San Francisco scene in the late 90’s was crackin’! Everywhere you looked was crushed. From tags, throwies, rollouts, legal walls etc.. It was a magical era and I couldn’t be more thankful to witness and be inspired by all of it.
Spray Planet: Damn! That shit sounds lit! So, give us a little insight on the name STYLE (origin/meaning) How did you get it? How long have you been writing that name?
Style: I originally started writing MOR. I quickly learned there was another Mor in the Bay and he was killing shit. I was a young toy who didn’t know much about graff, but I did know I didn’t want beef coming up in the scene. I needed a name. It was 1997, my sophomore year, kinda popular with the girls, and was always trying to be cooler than I really was. The word “style” stuck with me. During this time I was kicking it with the Lords Crew. They were putting in heavy work around me and were a big inspiration to me. So I reached out to Quake and told him I wanted to write “Styl” with no “E” making it a little different. He schooled me a bit on the thought and gave me his opinion. I felt after talking to one of the bay kings and not getting a fat NO that I should roll with it. Styl it was... over the years I added the E back. No real reason for it.
The Impact of Graffiti on STYLE and his Life
Spray Planet: Has painting graffiti changed your life in any way? Explain
Style: Graffiti has not changed my life, it’s made my life. It’s made me who I am today. Prior to meeting the original dudes that got me in to graff (Jose, Boes, Sonar, Jahts, Cels, and a few others) I was getting in mad trouble. Drugs, stealing cars, fighting, and just being dumb. Finding a creative outlet (graffiti) at that time was the change I needed in my life. Graff has opened up a network of endless friendships, travels, experiences, and opportunities since day one. It’s also contributed to helping me build a screen-printing and embroidery company surrounded by amazing talent. I assist artists, brands, businesses etc., with developing apparel/merch sold worldwide. I love what I do and can thank the graff life for helping me get where I am today.
STYLE on his Graffiti style
Spray Planet: How would you describe your overall style/work?
Style: Uhhhh that’s a good question lol. I don’t know... I do know I love raw graffiti the most. Rocking illegal virgin spots is a self-fulfilling accomplishment. I love the final look of letters/typography/graffiti sitting in places it wasn't prior to me being there. The adrenaline and atmosphere of certain spots is what brings out my style. I can plan whatever I’m envisioning, show up to a virgin spot, then paint a completely different concept then what I originally planned on painting, because of so many different circumstances. Although, I personally go to 90% of my spots with no plans at all. This has pros and cons... Con, most would say my shit all looks the same. I say my work is a life time of progression, not an overnight perfection. Not to mention it’s just a hobby. Pro, it’s an instant creative decision I have to make. The deadline is now, figure it out Style! This allows and forces me to slowly progress my letters over whatever period of time I choose. I want my style to be clean, readable, consistent, and precise.
Spray Planet: Three colors (fill, outline, background). What are they?
Style: Silver/chrome fill, black outline, and a cyan for 3D or forcefield.
Spray Planet: So you’re about to head out to rock a spot, what do you grab and load up in your bag? What are your “essentials” so to speak?
Style: My bags are always ready! I have a get-up-and-go bag, and a burner bag. My get-up-and-go bag is usually stuffed with MTN Nitro 2G tall cans of chrome, black, and a couple colors. The burner bag is a duffle bag full of MTN 94. Usually an assortment of more colors than I need. Both have a mask, gloves, and a fuck ton of caps (Yellow universal, NY fat caps, and MTN Hardcore fat caps). Snacks and water are also mandatory cause I love to eat.
Spray Planet: Favorite letter in your name to paint? Why?
Style: My favorite letter changes from time to time. I try to focus on one letter more than others over a period of time so that I can make adjustments, bettering my feeling about the finished letter. I love all letters. To answer the question though... Y is my favorite right now.
STYLE Graffiti Inspirations, Spot Preferences and Motivation
Spray Planet: Who/What were some of your early inspirations when you were first coming up in the game and developing your own style?
Style: Most of the Bay Area was my inspiration coming up. The underground bay Rap, the vast amount of different styles being produced (handstyles/throwers/crew legals, etc) and crew love was incredible. I appreciated all who were making an effort to make an impact in the graff scene. Looking back though, I’d say my biggest inspirations now are the same fools who were around and inspiring me back then! I’m inspired daily, weekly, yearly etc.. People come and go and each of them bring inspiring things within that time of life. I’m thankful for all, just more thankful for the people who are still around inspiring today that were inspiring me 20 years ago
Spray Planet: What kind of spots do you prefer to paint? (Streets? Yards? Tunnels? Trains? Etc.) Explain?
Style: I prefer virgin/raw untouched walls. Circular metal tanks are my favorite. I enjoy finding abandoned spots that haven’t been, or are minimally, touched. Abando’s are the best! Some fool built something, destroying/harming or just putting it on the land that was there before him/her, and has left it to rot away, not really caring about the impact it may or may not have caused. I feel adding my letters to these structures adds life and meaning to a forgotten spot. Prob not justifiable but it looks cool to me.
Spray Planet: At this specific point in your life, what motivates you to continue to go out there and paint graffiti?
Style: Maybe my last move or my last piece/spot?? I’m never 100% satisfied with what I just did. Therefore if I go do another and another it pushes me to go to harder spots with bigger, brighter, tougher letters, and just have fun with it all. I try to stay in my own lane, focus on me, my family/friends, and company. If I allow myself to focus on anything outside of that (all in moderation) it can be a distraction that allows holes, which contributes to leaks. I find a positive from every negative, learn from my mistakes, and commit to anything I touch. This is what keeps me motivated.