BAD from KGB CREW is a graffiti writer from Sydney. He first got into graffiti in the year 2000 and got right into the train scene practicing and developing his style on steel. He lived through some crazy times in Sydney graffiti where crew beef and violence was rampant. We caught up to find out a bit more about him and asked for his favourite flicks.
1. What got you into graffiti?
I was a quite young kid driving shotgun in the streets of the city with my old man. I was so fascinated with the graffiti that covered the city. What does it all mean? I thought to myself, how do they get to spots that looked impossible to get to? I was intrigued. I asked my dad what he thought of the graffiti, he grabbed me by the back of my neck and squeezed hard saying “If I ever catch you doing graffiti I’ll brake you hands. Lucky he never stuck to that promise. The defining factor was a kid in year 7 from my school, who was very different from most the boys playing footy and causing chaos in class, Adam would just be quiet, head phones in drawing the most amazing graffiti I had ever seen.
I had a strong drawing background because as a kid I was visiting mums partner in jail for most weekends of my childhood, and pencil and paper was the only way I could cope the 4 hour visits. Looking back I got drawing advice from some of the most notorious criminals in the world, like Rodger Rodgerson, the most corrupt cop and murderer Australia has ever seen, this was normal to me, I was too young to know any different. But Adam king aka Bingo and I got along like two pees in a pod, and he introduced me to the culture that has stuck with me for 17 years now
2. How would you describe your style?
It took me a while to develop my style, I’ve always been drawn to big bold public style letters. The classic New York style of the infamous style wars, writers such a as Skeme, Dondi, Seen, Kase2, all a big part of what was possible if you put your mind to the art of letters. In my home town of Sydney the biggest influence that I thought reflected the New York style was the OSF CREW. Members such as Kero, Zombe, News were a big part of my inspiration growing up and I tried to develop my style to this classic approach.
Eventually I became apart of a heavily public style crew named KGB, which in fact was created by the OSF CREW as a possible generational Cary on of what the Oh So Fresh crew developed and based them selves on. This was when I truly had found my place within graffiti and have felt nothing but effortless comfort with my style.
3. What was it like growing up as a young writer painting trains in Sydney?
Growing up in Sydney painting trains was amazing, and dangerous. Not just on the lines but also on the streets. Graffiti gangs were hard core and the infamous lad style had hit the streets, violence in my life at the time was at an all time high, it was nuts out there, and to survive you had to hold your own with a big set of balls. Let’s just say fighting and gang fighting are two different things, and at times I felt my life was on the line. And with that thought you would take extreme measures to protect yourself.
If you want to learn more about this period in Sydney graffiti. There is a book all about it, called “Stabbed Ego” the title it’s self is pretty self explanatory about graffiti back then. Apart from all the violence painting trains for me was at its highest. Yards were still like the old days and the spots were incredible.
4. Do you have a good chase story?
I have so many it’s hard to choose one, but I’ll slot one in here for entertainment. I remember one night out on the streets with the guys and some girls, we were walking down the street pissed as anything and someone produced a spray can. Of course everyone had a turn. When it came to mine I was half way through and I see red and blue lights flash against the corrugated shutter and I just hit the legs going left right, down streets putting on so many elusive steps I felt like Benji Marshal.
I ended up in a dead end street with a five story building at the end blocking any further running. But I scaled that building to the roof top like a seasoned speed climber. I waited on that roof top sleeping under a vent till morning. I woke to an empty city so quite I could hear the “beep” sounds coming from the red light poles all over the city. It felt like a perfect time for me to make my way home. So I started to scale the building back down as I quite as I could. As soon as my foot hit solid ground I felt huge tearing feeling, I turned my head around to see what was pulling at me and it was the most fired up police German shepherd you have ever seen. That was the end of that.
5. What motivates you to keep painting?
It’s been a solid 17 years graffiti has played a huge part in my life. After this long it really just becomes apart of who you are. The biggest motivation for me now is style and colour and the endless boundaries that graffiti holds for us all to keep exploring and experimenting with colours and style. It’s much like other sports, you never stop learning. There is no end to learning and improving in this game of graffiti.