This week SprayPlanet took the time to sit down and interview one of the most innovative and original style masters in graffiti: CES. If you aren’t familiar with CES OR his graffiti style, then you’re either a newbie or have been sleeping for well – ever… CES has graffiti styles upon styles upon styles – hence being referred to as a style master. From chunky throws to simple straights to tech-ed out burners… Even super illustrative black book work; CES continually creates and pushes graffiti boundaries. But HOW does he do it?! Read on as we talk to him to find out his graffiti origins, inspirations, and motivations.
Spray Planet: Who are you and what graffiti crews do you rep (if any)?
CES: I go by the name CES also known as WISH. FC ( Fame City / First Class)
Spray Planet: So tell us about your graffiti name (meaning/origin)…How did you get it?
CES: The origin of my name comes from my inspiration of SEEN & SKEME and any amount of others that made impressions on me when I first started writing in 1983. I really dug the letters “S” and “E”, so I came up with my name based upon these particular letters.
Spray Planet: How were you exposed to graffiti? What age?
CES: I was exposed to graffiti by a childhood friend of mine who wrote. I was very young at the time and really it was overwhelming for me. We would ride the trains all day and he would point out different writers and styles and such and it wasn’t until the following year or so that I attempted my first piece and the rest is history.
Spray Planet: How would you describe your overall style of graffiti /work?
CES: I would describe my style as a very New York aggressive; very hard-edged, dynamic, streamlined, moving letter structures, bold color combinations, and explosive.
Spray Planet: Who/what is your biggest inspiration and how does it influence your work?
CES: I can’t really say I have one big inspiration or what directly inspires or influences me overall. I am inspired by what is around me and obviously at this point in time social media is a very big window of inspiration… Seeing what others are doing worldwide amazes me, motivates me, and challenges me as I continue to paint and create. I’m not only a working artist I am a fan of the art as well. In all aspects I have a great appreciation.
SprayPlanet: What is your motivation to continue to do graffiti / create art?
CES: My motivation to continue to write graffiti is on many levels: One being I really do enjoy it- I find it very therapeutic and it’s a great outlet for me as I’ve been painting most of my life. I feel most comfortable when I’m painting drawing etc… I am motivated by many things honestly. Something as simple as seeing a new color created could excite me to want to use it for example.
SprayPlanet: Describe the CRAZIEST situation you’ve been in because of graffiti...
CES: I have many crazy chase situations from my past. It’s hard to say which is the craziest…I can tell you one night here in New York City we were painting subways in a train yard and we were finished, making our way back out when the hole we had made to enter the yard was surrounded by police. We had to run back into the yard and we were trying to hide from them as they were coming in. We made it halfway into the center of the yard and managed to hide the paint and hold the camera… Everywhere we look there were flashlights and police coming from every angle! This seemed to go on forever…
Finally I realized the only way out would be in a train that was actually going into service… I found one that was being cleaned so we managed to get into that train and hide inside of it until the sun had come up. Hours had passed… Watching from the window where we were hiding inside the train I could see police everywhere, even inside the train we were in. They would come through not realizing we were in that train… Hours and hours again had gone by and finally the train started to move.
It had gone all the way around the entire yard where I could see police everywhere. Finally it made it into the tunnel, and I felt safe at this point. Everyone in New York was going to work and we were shoved inside of this train completely covered with dirt and oil from hiding beneath the trains the entire night haha… When the train went a few stops, we jumped out where we were hiding from and managed to get free from all the people, meanwhile looking like total maniacs! We made our way out of the train station … It was a long night and I’m glad I’m able to speak about it now and laugh about it.
SprayPlanet: What’s your favorite place in the world that you have painted. Why?
CES: My painting adventures have taken me around the world twice. I’ve been to many beautiful places, but I can’t say I have one particular favorite. I have favorite moments in time that happened in certain places, for example Australia was amazing as was Napoli, Italy; beautiful place, cool people… This is what really makes it.
SprayPlanet: So do you have any new projects - graffiti or otherwise planned for the future?
CES: I thank God I am constantly busy with many projects and things coming up constantly, and I’m very grateful for the opportunities I have and talents I have been given. I still love to draw and sketch every day as almost a release in between doing other things.
SprayPlanet: How has being in graffiti culture changed your life?
CES: Being in the graff culture has changed my life immensely. I really can’t identify with being a regular cat working a 9-to-5 job. Writing graffiti has and always will be a great part of my life and it has made me the person I am today, and I have many friends within the culture of writing. Being a graffiti writer changes the ways in which you view certain situations and creates an alternate life experience, no matter where you find yourself. It’s like some superhero shit!
SprayPlanet: What hobby (aside from graffiti) would you pursue if money and time were not an issue?
CES: What hobby would I pursue? I would have to say if money was not an issue I would still pretty much do the same shit I’m doing now. I would love to travel the world, paint, be free, be happy… I mean rock star wouldn’t be a bad life haha or pro athlete. There are numerous things I admire but pursuing an alternate lifestyle would mean that I’m not content. So, again I would probably be doing the same… living the same life just way more wild.
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