It all started seeing a piece done at a high school in the summer of 94/95 it all started there. At this point I don't know if it was legal or illegal because as soon as school.was ready to start it got buff but it was the illest thing. I can still remember it very clearly . It had a huge dope full body character and all everything was done hella nice. But it had a huge impact on me, there was little to no graffiti where I was from in Arizona at the time. There were some heads but we learned that years later.
Where did you get the name “EKOSE”
I started writing eko at first, eventually became bored with it and wanted to extend it , it took a good 6 months I'd say before I chose the S E to add to it. At the time knowing nothing about graff I thought everyone's name had a meaning of sorts. So with that being said I came up with the acronym ( Essential Knowledge Overcomes Supernatural Enemies ). And it's stuck with me ever since.
What crew do you rep?
4sk PFE , VRS, SHK, TNR , Get It Gang ,Aidk, Lo-lifes ,Ayak, AD ,DFT, Burn ups , 2MA and more . I rep a lot of crews for many and good reasons. Some closer than others but as you grow and get older that becomes harder. All of them know I stand by them and with them fully. We are all in this and it has become more about connection and doing you to the fullest to represent those you ride with. My friendships run deep.
Would you consider VRS like a second family to you? If so, why?
VRS represents a handful of things to me with a couple of members. There's just a cool history there and I came up alongside Keptoe and later met Gimer. We instantly hit it off . They will always be family and I'm proud to be part of a team like that holding it down as they do.
What’s the best thing about painting in Portland? What’s the worst part?
Portland just has a really good vibe. I don't really participate in scenes you could say or get wrapped up in others business I just like to paint. It's calm here. You can find really good places to rock a burner get out in the streets doing what we do and just enjoying it. I'm sure there are a few cities like this but right now this is home. The worst part is it being small, not much space and with every scene there are a lot of whiners that rather cry about it then just buff and try to burn.
Did letters or characters come first to your graff career? How would you describe the stye for your characters?
I always drew weird shit and liked weird shit so characters I drew in general. Graff was all I wanted to do so characters came after. I learned art through graff and was very particular in what I wanted to do or would do . I would consider them somewhat Sci fi I guess I really don't know. I don't watch much tv or anything so it's really whatever pops out of my head I never really have a preconceived idea of them...
Outside of graffiti, what are a couple of other activities can we find you doing?
Man, I really only do graffiti, draw and paint. I'm not into sports or TV shows, not really into anything but rugged shit and gundam lol you may catch me at weird shows but I stay hidden for the most to be honest. The 2 places I love the most, my lab and good paint spots strictly I live this, eat sleep, shit and breath graff 24/7
What has graffiti brought out of you? Has it been a difficult road to travel?
Well actually graffiti has really given me a lot in life. I come from a dirt poor background to say the least and was surrounded by drugs in my home while growing up. Graff was my outlet the only thing that was mine and the more I nurtured it the better it treated me to be honest. It always caused relationship problems more than anything. Late nights,long trips away from home, people always telling me that it would fuck my life up but i try to be smart ,I always dealt with my issues in graff , fighting and shit didn't really bother me as I was always fighting someone that was bigger than me, that wasn't me really I'm not trying to be that either but at times it can be un avoidable and something you just have to confront. it was always strictly about graff if, it wasn't then I was over it completely and would waste a second of my time. I can't say anything bad about graff in my life personally. Cops trying to catch you, getting hurt etc are all things you have to roll with its a full contact sport so it's never an easy road.
Is there a certain segment of graffiti that interests you the most?
I like it all I think it's crucial to have all those under your belt . I feel it makes a well rounded writer. From the books, walls, freight and any other surface learn it all. Seeing a good piece gets me every-time.
Has there been opportunities to work with famous people or large organizations who have noticed your work?
Not many, The lil peep piece was redone and was a gift for Dj yawns that was cool because the original I did before he passed got to meet lil peep and even was able to give him one of my books as a thank you exchange for what he was putting out, also I had won a contest Sofles had a few years back. As that happened, Chris Brown shared some stuff that number went through the roof and really brought me a lot of work and a huge fan base I was very grateful because social media has never been my thing. I just like to share what I'm doing and connecting with others. And lucky enough fellow writers and artists share my work at times. If you're reading this, that support means a ton even if you can't afford to by the work sharing it is a huge compliment and helps all of us doing it that much more.
Can you name a time where painting has went terribly wrong?
The first thing that came to mind was a time that me and Funeral decided to link up and hit this abandoned roof spot lol. The building is on its last leg and getting to the top is an adventure on its own. Missing stairs, twacked out homeless people you name it this place is a wreck. He and I get inside after waiting for this bum to quit yelling and causing a scene directly in front of where we had to get in. yelling that his Bluetooth headphones were inside, we walked up to him at one point and asked him what the deal was and he explained that the security guard threatened to kill him if he was caught inside again. So We finally get in and get turned around inside once or twice but make it to the roof. We set up and start 10 min in and I hear things from the ground and look to find kids coming in and getting caught by security... I feel we are good so we continue painting, I hear a car a few minutes later and check for good measures and see 2 big ass dudes looking around w headlamps and I thought ah they aren't doing shit so back to painting . All this sudden I can see lights in the windows of the top floor of this building we are painting in and I realized it's the dudes headlamps unsure if they where security of some sort me and this dude hide behind a actually unit and wait. The dudes come out of the window we came through and ran up on us. Dudes were hella fuckin dirty and spun beyond belief, one guy says what the fuck are you doing here and we replied painting what are you doing here? One guy says "Makin money" you're bombing ??? We were both like wtf ??? Um I guess Funeral responded, a couple minutes of awkward silence and we are like so are we cool yeah we're cool the guy says so we start painting talking to eachother about the fact that we need to hurry, finish and get the fuck out. In the process the smaller of the 2 comes back solo and tell us to give him paint, we explain that we need it to finish and he scoffs and says " do you know spoil"? Again like wtf um yeah we both go on to say he's a legend in these parts and the guy says he's his brother. Then they proceeded to smash all the sheet metal off all the action units at 12 am looking for copper destroying the entire place while being insanely loud , shit was hectic and we both thought for sure we were gonna be spotted or caught up. We made it back down and by that time we were both toast lol both of us could barely walk it seemed but the night ended well. Not the craziest story but definitely one of those nights.
It seems like you have been writing for many years, what are the major differences you see from when you first started to presently?
It's been about 25 yrs now and man I feel like I've watched graff go through some significant stages . It felt like back when I was younger it was about being dope and getting up now it seems to be more about the act ( in more ways than one ) some do it just when fucked up and with friends. Some like to play outlaw street cool guy just trying their hands at it because in theory it's ultra cool but in reality a lot of work and dedication. There is more throws and straights now not so many burners. Way to much influence from the Internet to the point where style falls to the side and trendy techniques take the wheel. I appreciate all graff and take part in all aspects of this . I can't wait for the next explosion like we had in the early 2000s it will happen.
How do you “Keep it Street?”
I come from it and stay rooted. It's definitely a part of me.
It rains a lot in Portland, right? Does that shit fuck up plans a lot?
Haha yeah but luckily enough we have tunnels here and if it let's up even if it's cold you get your ass out there. Usually makes for some good chill times. Everything's just wet at one point so you can imagine the struggle lol
Rather paint an fr8 or a wall?
I just like to paint anything really, but I prefer walls at this point . The fun is different flows and styles for each sometimes the mood is right for one and not the other.
Did you use Flickr a lot before Instagram?
Not a lot but I had one. I suck at communication on line it's just a task to me but flickr was the shit at the time haha.
Have you ever got into tattooing?
Never. It wasn't something I was really interested in aside from getting them. I appreciate the guys doing that shit though tons of good work out there.
Favorite paint to use?
Montana black, rusto, belton, ironlak. But I will use it all idgaf. If it sprays I'm with it ;)