I got a moment to sit down and unwind with Jare while he was in between killing things. Here's what he had to say on NYC and Chicago graffiti, social butterfly graf writers, and ways of removing cat hair from your clothes.
-Interview by Frank Serpico for UPSET Magazine
FS: So what’s going on, how you been?
FS: How’s your "three goals" thing you set for yourself going so far? What was it again?
J: It was money is first, hoes second, and…money again.
FS: So you’ve been doing a lot of work in NYC lately, what’s your motivation?
J: In a big city like NYC it’s a hustle just to survive. In other cities in America it’s not as hard, so if you can do it here you know you’re worth something.
FS: I know you’re no stranger to getting up, you’re up a lot in Chicago, one thing I noticed when I first saw you up there was your graffiti stood out, like you were still doing it like shit hadn’t change, what motivates you in doing graffiti and in doing what you do?
J: I’m doing it for my crew, that’s one of my top motivations. When I saw people like Sivel, Page and Fact just crushing now like how I saw them doing it back in the day, that’s just like an inspiration to me and I try to use that to stay determined. I see what these guys are doing and it makes me even kinda want to one up them, but it’s all in good fun.
FS: What were some other writers you remember seeing up when you first got into this?
J: Back when I was a kid I just remember all over downtown (Chicago) seeing Bel Loves Mode. I saw that all over downtown, and I didn’t even realize what it meant. Then as I started to notice graffiti more and more I just started to absorb everything around me and I would just pay attention to the small things even the most toy graffiti I would pay attention to. And then I started taking the train and I started seeing Comie, Fact, and FOC crew up and FB, Swiss. I just naturally met them and became friends, and I thought I want to be part of this.
FS: Now that you’ve been in that Chicago writer scene, what do you think of the NYC writer scene, do you still want to meet other writers?
J: I know a handful of writers and they know me and we’re friendly and all but I’m not that interested in meeting everyone, their work should speak for themselves: what you see, who I am doesn’t matter, but what I do, does.
FS: What year did you first start writing?
J: I was always writing my name in graffiti style since I was probably eleven, my first name was Commode, like a toilet, and then I had a grip of other toy names after that, but I didn’t really get serious until 2001. I went out, stole some cans, went under a bridge, and painted my name.
FS: What was the Chicago graffiti scene like then and how has it changed?
J: The game never changes, only the players. I seen a lot of people who came, killed it, fell off, fell into obscurity. I mean killing it is cool, but longevity is key--it’s more important if you’re still around, more people will pay attention, your shit’s going to stand out cause you know people will say, “Oh yea, he’s been doing it since back in the day,” where as a lot of people have came and went.
FS: How do you feel about the buff in Chicago in comparison to NYC? Is NY on its way to having a hardcore graffiti removal program?
J: There’s a key difference, and that is there (are) laws in Chicago that if you don’t remove graffiti from your property in a certain amount of time, the city can fine you.
FS: What? I didn’t know that.
J: And that gives them total authority to paint public buildings. Where as in NY it’s more liberal and accepting, so their not going to just go and paint your building just because someone else deems it ugly. I’ve seen some similarities in NYC graffiti removal, but I wouldn’t be surprised in today’s age if they bring that totalitarian tactic to NY.
FS: What crews are you rolling with right now?
J: Right now really pushing the X-Men Crew, Teamsters.
FS: X-men has some members in NYC?
J: Yes, there’s the Chicago X-Men chapter heads who’s me, Type, and True.
FS: What other cities have you gotten up in?
J: Detroit, some rinky-dink towns.
FS: You do a lot of bombing, but you also do a lot of freights. Which do you prefer: bombing or piecing freights?
J: Actually, I prefer a little bit of everything. I’ll do pieces, but usually I gotta get my paint first--pieces get a lot of play, freights are nice and relaxing and I’ll do ‘em during the day, but it doesn’t really compare to actually doing it on the street or on a rooftop or off the highway.
FS: Got any cool chase stories?
J: I caught a tag the other day on this subway station and when I walked away I heard some one yell, “Hey you, come over here,” and I just kept walking, didn’t turn around, walked up the stairs, jumped on my board and skated away. I get back on the train and guess who gets on my car--an undercover detective. I just acted like I was sleeping, I saw him mess with someone else, it was close.
FS: What about the shit that happened the other night? Haha!
J: Oh yea, I was walking down the street, and I find this fifty dollar (Chinese) wok, and I go get on the train. And while I’m waiting sitting on the bench I look over and see these lesbian girls arguing, two butch ones and one lipstick one. All of a sudden they were arguing and I see one of them reach into her back pocket and she pulls out half a stone brick and starts beating the other one over the head with it right next to me! I was distraught; I had to beat her with the wok in order to keep her from killing her. They wouldn’t stop fighting. I saved the girl. They were some ghetto dykes.
FS: Any future plans?
J: Yes, maintain. Follow my three goals. Don’t get racked over some bullshit.
FS: What advice do you have for other younger writers on the come up?
J: Don’t let it take over your life. You gotta stay in control of it. And don’t kill yourself…over graffiti.
FS: What’s your favorite way to get cat hair off your clothes?
J: I get my hand wet and just kind of do this (rubs his arm in a downward motion).
FS: What? What about tape? Do you use tape?
J: Yea I’ll use tape too, I just try to not even go near the cat hair areas, if I don’t bothers thems, they don’t bothers me.
FS: Anybody you want to give a shout out to?
J: Shout out to my crew and anyone else who’s helped me along the way.