This week Spray Planet had the opportunity to meet up with REDS, one of the most humble and active writers in the graffiti game. Coming straight out of Miami’s Dade County, REDS reps Miami HARD and is hands down a hometown hero. From rocking huge street side blockbusters to super colorful, tech-ed out pieces, REDS does it all. In this interview, she talks to us about: her dedication to the graff lifestyle, crazy situations she’s been in while painting, what it feels like as a woman in graffiti keeping up in the game, and even offers words of advice to other female graffiti writers looking to be active in the streets.
REDS Graffiti History, Background and Origin of Her Name
SprayPlanet: First off what do you write, what crews do you rep, and where do you call “home”?
REDS: I write Reds, I rep 004 crew and Miami is my home. Born and raised in the county of Dade!
SprayPlanet: tell us a little bit about how you started writing that name (origin/meaning)
REDS: It goes back to a nickname I was given in high school. It was mainly because I had dyed my hair vibrant red and would wear a lot of red.
SprayPlanet: When did you first get exposed to the graffiti lifestyle and how did it all happen?
REDS: Well, I was always exposed to graffiti as a kid... seeing it all over the streets in Miami.
I would always mimic the hand styles and throw ups on paper and bookbags. It wasn’t until 2007 that I picked up a can and started painting. I don’t even recall how it all happened. All I know is I was dedicated and obsessed with painting. The best thing I did was pack my bags, travel and paint. Graffiti was all I cared about for years. My life for a long while was built around graffiti. I was broke, but didn’t care, as long as I was painting.
SprayPlanet: Your dedication to the craft definitely shows. Tell us about the first time you remember actually painting graffiti. What was that experience like? Where was it? How did you feel?
REDS: My first time painting was when I was catching a really whack extra small hollow-straight letter-ish style, where I didn’t really know what I was doing… It felt great! The adrenaline was what really reeled me in… That gratifying feeling of driving past the spot… Knowing I got away… I was damn proud of that horrendous whack hollow lol!
Being A Female Graffiti Writer In Male Dominated Graffiti
SprayPlanet: LOL There’s nothing like those first days eh? So, as a woman, how does it feel to be a front-runner in a male-dominated subculture?
REDS: It feels great to surprise people that don’t know of me or didn’t know that it’s a female behind the name. I have mixed feelings on being identified as a girl, cause I just wanna be seen as a graffiti writer. I don’t want special treatment or a golden pass. But it definitely feels good to know that I can keep up with the dudes, and that I’m able to motivate other ladies to kick ass at this.
SprayPlanet: What words (or advice even) do you have for other women who are trying to get out there and do their thing in the streets?
REDS: Just be careful out there. Carry some kind of weapon on you always, at least carry a lighter for an insta-torch with your paint. Don’t let anyone discourage you from doing what you love. Travel a bunch and get up in other cities!! Practice and be dedicated to this.
Graffiti Life Through The Eyes of REDS
SprayPlanet: What is one of the craziest situations you have been in because of this lifestyle?
REDS: It may not be one of the craziest, but it was definitely one of the most painful, frustrating and funny situations. When I was in my early years of painting, we were on a ledge we had to climb down to from a roof top we had just painted. Of course, leave it to accident-prone me, my feet slip from the tiny ledge and I fall into one of those construction trash bins (the super deep ones). I fell on my back, I was out of breath, and I start panicking like how the hell am I getting out of here? All the while worried about the security guard who was going around in a golf cart patrolling the shopping plaza. Luckily, those bins have a door on the bottom to get out! I didn’t know that at the moment, until my homie yelled to look for that door hahahaha!
SprayPlanet: If you could meet ANYBODY in the world today (alive or dead) who would it be and why?
REDS: Lady Pink. I want to hear all her stories told by her… Everything she went through… I would love to pick at her brain.
SprayPlanet: Favorite type of spots to hit? (Daytime run-ups? Heavens? Freights? Yards? Rooftops? Tunnels?)
REDS: BIG ASS IN YOUR FACE STOMPERS on street sides. Making sure y’all can read that shit! lol We always make sure to take up the whole side of the building from end to end and as high as we can go!
SprayPlanet: When you paint a piece, do you approach the wall with a sketch/concept/idea in mind or do you just go at it freestyle?
REDS: 98% of the time I freestyle. Unless I happened to sit down and sketch something that I really wanna paint, I feel more comfortable just free styling it.
SprayPlanet: What do you think you would be doing with your time if you were never exposed to this lifestyle?
REDS: Probably living a regular life, with a 9 to 5 office job, being responsible, traveling the world to actually do the touristy shit rather than writing on things that don’t belong to me. My mom would probably be WAY prouder of me lol Sorry lady!!