For our latest interview installment, SprayPlanet met up with one of the realest OG Graffiti Writers: Los Angeles legend CAB ONE. From releasing his own signature skateboards to having graff pieces appear in many popular video games - CAB ONE is no stranger to the fame game.
CAB talks to us all about growing up in the Los Angeles barrio of Boyle Heights, his dedication to craft, and his full on embracement of the graffiti lifestyle very early on. He also dives into how he personally watched graffiti in the city of Los Angeles change over his time in the game. Just recently back from a trip to Tel Aviv, CAB talks about his newly found mission to take his artwork and brand across the globe for all to experience firsthand
Graffiti Writer CAB ONE’s History and Background
Spray Planet: Let’s start it off with what you write, what Graffiti crews do you rep, and how long you’ve been at the Graffiti game?
CAB ONE: I write CAB. I’m a Mexican immigrant from Boyle Heights. I represent the crews K2S and LOD. I began writing in the mid 80’s on & off, til ’87…Been at it since!
Spray Planet: How did you get exposed to the graffiti culture? Was it something you saw around your environment growing up? Was Graffiti something somebody brought to your attention/showed you?
CAB ONE: I got exposed to graffiti as early as I could remember, growing up in Boyle Heights was intense: a lot of violence, drug addiction & and ultimately the Gangs that surrounded my neighborhood… Gang placasos and names of gang members is what I saw first, all with a unique, slang style…It was the culture we found ourselves living in at that time.. Growing up with kids from my block one of my old friends purchased the book “Subway Art” and that was the beginning of a wild ride! But I got a glimpse of it, he didn’t want to share the book… But for me it was enough. I saw letter structure, style & color all done with spray paint… It completely changed the way I perceived art in general. I realized masterpieces could also be done with spray paint, and I religiously wanted to be part of it... Looking back and thinking about the boys from my block, I was the only one that stayed connected to art & graffiti year to date.
Spray Planet: Tell us how you started writing the name CAB. How did you get it and how long have you been writing it?
CAB ONE: In the late 80’s the name CAB was given to me by KEY ONE from the MAK Crew.. Prior to hooking up with KEY, I had just been tagging the buses like the rest of my boys and the writers in the neighborhood… So when I met up with KEY, I decided I wanted step up my game and go all city with tags and throw-ups. My goal as a teen was to get up…Make an impact in the game...
CAB ONE Graffiti Inpsirations and Motivations
Spray Planet: Damn, sounds like you’ve been pretty dedicated to graffiti since the get-go. So who were some of your early graffiti inspirations when you were coming up in the game as a teen?
CAB ONE: Some of my early inspirations that marked my life in art were the environment I grew up in and all the people that surrounded my life at the time. While involved with the graffiti scene it was the Kill Ta Succeed and Second To None crews, along with the Double Vision crew and the Modern Art Kids… Without knowing it, they played a big role in the direction in which my graffiti was headed.
Spray Planet: What motivates you to continue to paint/create graffiti today?
CAB ONE: After all these years, this roller coaster ride of painting graffiti keeps me young & sane… It’s always been challenging and fun… Except now, I’ve taken my name & brand on a never-ending mission to travel the world, leaving my art behind where ever I go.
The Impact Of Graffiti And How It Has Changed Over The Years
Spray Planet: So how has being a part of the graffiti lifestyle made an impact in your life?
CAB ONE: Graffiti has saved my life… I went through some hard times in my life… Graffiti has kept me on the right path… Made me more focused.
Spray Planet: Favorite kind of spots to paint and why? (yards/street/abandos/billboards/legals/etc.)?
CAB ONE: I don’t have any favorite kind of spots to paint… Any surface is game as long as I’m spraying my name... lol.
Spray Planet: How have you personally seen the Los Angeles graffiti culture and the graffiti writers in the scene change over the last 5-10 years? (Style? Attitude? Direction or lack thereof?)
CAB ONE: In my opinion, graffiti in Los Angeles in the last 5-10 years has grown into a huge culture with new generations of kids jumping on the band wagon… Writers today are more brazen and willing to take higher risks to get their names up, thus risking their freedom… Yeah I’ve definitely seen the movement change in some ways...
The Future of CAB ONE Graffiti, Art and Projects
Spray Planet: Any upcoming projects/events/shows/productions planned for the future that you want people to be aware of?
CAB ONE: I’m currently involved in many projects and working with a gallery now… I’m always staying busy juggling work, kids, art etc.. Future projects are always welcome… New opportunities are always around the corner…I’m just living the now, life is just too short to plan to far ahead…Stay tuned I’ll always be up to something..
Spray Planet: Favorite Montana Paint color to outline your pieces with and why?
CAB ONE: I like to outline my pieces with black paint because it’s engaging and defines the letter structure and brings out the colors being used in the piece...
Spray Planet: Any last words/shout outs/advice you want to say to the people reading this?
CAB ONE: I would like to say thanks to Kenny, Spray Planet and Montana Colors for this interview… And for all the kids who are reading this interview and entertaining the idea of becoming a graffiti writer I will say, “Do some research before you end up making life changing mistakes… Take notes… Consider all your goals and priorities… and most importantly educate yourself, keeping God first! Peace!”