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Graffiti's 'Ikonik Figure'

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Vice's magazine got a pretty cool column untitled Writer's Block , they link up with writers from Ny and more ; here is the Trap' interview

Trap, not to be confused with his Style Wars counterpart, is one of the most significant writers in the history of New York graffiti. His signature mark, a hybrid of the classic throw-up and straight letter usually filled with Rusto and outlined by Kilz, can be seen throughout the five boroughs of New York City—a feat that earns you the proverbial "all city" title. 

Trap has been writing graffiti ever since he was a kid, playfully tagging stuff in his neighborhood. In the 80s, as he became more ambitious, he started painting trains and eventually found his niche as a full-fledged street bomber. Still active today, he paints in streaks. Active streaks are commonplace for many dedicated writers and serve a dual-purpose: avoiding new heat and allowing any existing heat to simmer. And since Trap's never seen handcuffs during his 30-year career, it's clear that this method has worked to his advantage.

VICE: When and where did you begin writing graffiti? Can you recall the first surface you tagged?
Trap: I've been writing TRAP since 1979. I started in my neighborhood in Queens, New York. The first tag I ever caught was a light pole on my block.

Has age played any role in your career? Has it hindered you somewhat?
It's not about the age, it's more about the mindset. Doing what makes you happy is what it's all about. Like most lifers, I think graffiti saved me from a life of crime. But I guess that goes both ways.

With the release of Ikonik Figure, some were surprised to learn that you've been actively writing graffiti all the way back to the train era. Can you explain a little bit about your history with painting subway trains?
Per routine, Dine came over to my crib to go over our plans for the night. He told me, “I've got a special spot for you, you're gonna love it.” That night he took me to the 5 train and I rocked my first car. That was in 1981, maybe 1982. Prior to that, it was mainly street bombing or piecing at the handball courts. To me, if you weren’t gonna do a top-to-bottom or a whole car, it didn’t make sense. I got used to window-down pieces, but if I wasn’t doing end-to-ends, I'd rather save it for a truck or highway.

In addition to Dine were there other writers who particularly influenced or mentored your style and work during that era?
Edge was definitely my first mentor. Back then he had a crew called UTK, and I was Trap MTV (Most Talented Vandals) on some art-type shit. He was focused on letters, so that's when I started fucking around with them, too. This was probably about six months into my writing career. We were tight, but eventually he got tired of being hassled by the cops and stopped writing in the late 80s. Every once in a while, we could convince him to do a burner but by then he was just focusing on making music. Edge influenced a lot of newer writers, at least from my neighborhood.

 

Read the full interview  here