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Risk - LA Boxing Academy
Risk - LA Boxing Academy

Do you remember what you were doing 26 years ago? Some of you reading this were not even born. I know what Risk was doing. He was writing graffiti in the great city of Los Angeles. Read the interview with one of Los Angeles' graffiti pioneers.

Risk is having his first solo show in Santa Monica this weekend on Saturday, December 13.


How long have you been involved with graffiti and do you think you will be doing it forever?

I've been writing on walls for 26 years, but my Grandma told me I was drawing words when I was a little kid. I would write fire with flames off the top of the letters, or bubble in bubble letters, smoke, clouds stuff like that...

Yea, I think I'll be doing graffiti forever. It's already been over half my life. I already have some serious health problems from it so why quit now.
Risk at the Ironlak event at 33Third in LA

Were you always active or were there periods that you took a hiatus?

I was always active, you can never stop, especially me. I lived with Krush for years, even when I was busy doing Third Rail, I'd come home and the crew would be there talking Graff shit or checking out flicks or planning a wall etc.

It was always around so I was always in that mind set. I wasn't always getting up but I was drawing or painting little things here or there. I was partying pretty heavy for a while, even in those times the only things I remember were graff.

I remember taking girls home from the strip joint and drawing on them for hours, That's still getting up right?
Risk WCA at Cope2 DVD Release Party

Do you think graffiti has to be illegal to be graffiti? Do you prefer doing legal walls or illegal walls?

No. Graff does not have to be illegal, but to get true old school graff, you have to have put in time in the streets. Not because that makes you down or any bullshit like that, but because if you haven't painted while looking over your shoulders or with time constraints, or working around different textures and or surfaces you will never achieve that movement and flow.

Without that movement and flow, you may as well do it on a computer. If you ONLY do it on a computer, you're just a sign painter or your faking the funk, robbing the culture. You'll never go far. See it all works together. If you are real, you will be recognized and celebrated through such a venue as a gallery if you choose, or a publication, or a web site etc. If your not real you won't.

It's like corporations using Graffiti To promote their products. It's the same thing. I think its all good because it's really only successful if they use real artist's. Wak Corporations hang themselves because they use a sign painter or a culture pirate. It never really goes far, but on the other hand you have a major corporation using Graff., but they promote dope artist doing the work, I.E. Boost Mobil or Scion etc.

These campaigns work because they can celebrate the artist behind it. If he's real, It's real, and everybody's happy. If your not happy, your probably a hater because your not good enough or haven't put in the dues to get that gig.
Risk WCA

The internet is a great tool for people to learn about graffiti artists from around the globe. Before the internet, different locations had different writing and piecing styles. Now since everyone has access to the internet, many of the styles look the same. What are your thoughts? Do you think the internet has stifled creativity and originality?

Yes and no. It is way too easy for people to bite, but it has also raised the bar substantially!!! There are kids out there that have only been writing a few years and they are really good. Sometimes I go on MySpace and just trip out how many writers are out there, and how easy it is to communicate. I used to trade flicks via the mail overseas, and it would take weeks, now it takes a minute!!!!

For the full interview check out part 1 and part 2 on the GraffHead website.

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