Interview by Richard Massie
Age: Oh shit, umm.. ageless.
Ethnicity: I guess Latino. I’m half Costa Rican and half Uruguay.
Where were you born? Hollywood, Ca.
Where’s home? West Hollywood – It’s a drag, I don’t like it. I mean my place is nice but the area sucks. It’s like Midtown Manhattan, such a dull crowd.
What do you do for a living? Design & Conceptualize
If you could have any job in the world what would it be? I already got the job.
What’s the first thing you do when you wake up? Listen to NPR (National Public Radio)
Who inspires you the most? My mom.
Money, power, or respect? Respect
What’s your weakness? Women – women of the darker persuasion.
What’s your favorite book? The “Unauthorized Biography of Cocaine” by Dominic Streatfeild or “No Logos” by Naomi Klein
Favorite cereal? Raisin Brand
Do you have a favorite cartoon? Not really. As of recent I’ve been into Alice The Goon.
What’s your favorite song right now? “I’m Gonna Knock On Your Door” by Eddie Hodges
Drink of choice? Cabernet
Movie suggestion? Glengarry Glen Ross, that’s probably my favorite movie.
More peanut butter or more jelly? More peanut butter. I like my peanut butter chunky and funky. (Laughs)
What’s something you have to do every day? Eat and workout.
Have you ever taken acid? Yes
What would you tell someone that never has? Be prepared.
How old were you when you lost your virginity? 14. It wasn’t very memorable… But my first time “scamming” was! (Laughs) I was in 6th grade and her name was Tammy Macias. She would fight all the time but boy could she kiss!
If you could have a one night stand with any girl in the world who would it be? I’m not into one night stands anymore. It used to be a fun game, trying to figure out how to make my nights end with a happy ending.
What was your first job? I used to paint store signs in DTLA when I was 14.
Did you graduate from college? No. I had to drop out in my last semester because of Freshjive. I was working on Freshjive for about 6 months and I got $300,000 dollars in orders at our first trade show.
Was starting a clothing company what you wanted to do? I just wanted to start a clothing project. I was somewhat into fashion but I just wanted to show the various cultures I was into.
How do you feel about being considered a pioneer of street wear? I’ll accept that claim.
What was the first Freshjive t-shirt? The parody Tide logo.
Speak about when you walked away from Freshjive in 2001, what happened? I was just sick of the game. That book “No Logos” was a influence at that time. I just said fuck it and walked out. I had some money put away and the luxury of not thinking. I wasn’t planning on coming back.
How do you feel about the current state of street wear? I’m pretty removed from it now. I don’t like the tribalism of branding, that’s about it. I appreciate good ideas and the little authenticity that still lives. It used to be about selling authentic vibes back then. You had to authenticate what you were putting out by living it.
It’s kinda ironic now… Creating a piece of art on a t-shirt is easy as shit. It doesn’t mean anything to put a t-shirt on a rapper just to blow up. Popularity doesn’t equate good design. The problem, commercially speaking, is everyone is vying for the same look. Everything has to be the same, it’s choking.
What would you like to see more of and what would you like to see less of? I’d like to see more original ideas. More of Those Folks and less street wear bozos.
Any last words? Those Folks ain’t no jokes, local Venice homie locs, fat trees for smokes, deep cookie strokes, their mind provokes, those that evoke a hoax. Them Folks are yolks, lock, stock, and barrel blokes, dem motherfuckers even feeding homeless folks.
Interview by Richard Massie
Age: 46 in my mind, 26 in real life.
Ethnicity: Native American and Spaniard. Put Mexican in perentheses.
Where were you born? Martin Luther King Hospital in Compton, Ca.
Where’s home? Home is where my art is.
What do you do for a living? I sell art, paint murals, and do tattoos. Sometimes I sell drugs if I have to.
Did you graduate high school? Hell no. I got my GED with honors and I went to 6 different high schools.
How long have you been doing graffiti? For about… (counts his fingers) 9 years.
What got you into graffiti? I used to draw girls’ names in like 5th-6th grade for Valentines Day or whatever. I started doing graffiti illegally from just skateboarding around and seeing “Lier” tags up. I knew he used to skate so I just started doing what he was doing, you know?
Did you know him? Yeah, we were cool. He used to give me markers because he would “rack” them. He got into drugs though so I started hanging out with his little brother. Most kids that wrote graffiti were into hip-hop but “Lier” listened to punk rock so I thought that was cool.
You were really into punk rock huh? Punk rock was the only thing that helped me deal with the shit at home. It was my getaway from family drama.
What’s your favorite punk band? Eskorbuto from Spain
What’s the craziest thing you’ve done or saw at a punk show? I had sex with a random girl on the side of the house from where this show was. On the grass, like not in the cut at all, just right there. She said she wanted to fuck me because of my mohawk.
What color was your mohawk? Pink
Who are/were your biggest inspirations in graffiti? In graffiti you can say that “Gkae” was when I first started. “Oiler” from COI, “Saber” and “Revok” from MSK, and “Siner” from LTS too.
What’s the best advice you were given? Some of the best advice I ever received was from “Sedek” (R.I.P.) I’m getting chills just thinking about things he would say. The kind of person he was, he wouldn’t tell you something, he would suggest things and leave it up to you to figure out if it was good or bad. The best advice he told me was: “Why join somebody’s empire when you can start your own.” That’s what LOLc was to him and that’s what it became to me.
In your own words describe what graffiti is about: Graffiti is about creating an identity for yourself and projecting it onto society for them to judge.
Who would you consider the best graffiti artists or most influential? Wow, there’s so many… The top 5 to me are: “Ayer” LTS, “Revok” for sure, “Dream” TDK (Oakland) “Sedek”, and “Retna”. Oh, and “Reyes”.
If you could have any job in the world what would it be? To design cars for Mercedes-Benz.
What’s the first thing you do when you wake up? Check my pockets for my wallet, phone, and keys.
What is something you must do every day? Draw
What’s your favorite tattoo that you’ve done? Probably the four arm samurai I did on the homie “Doja”
Who’s your favorite Ninja Turtle? Rafael, the responsible muthafucka.
He’s not the responsible one, Leonardo is. No he’s not! Rafael is. He’s the one that makes executive decisions.
You’re wrong. Leonardo is the leader, he’s the logical one. Rafael doesn’t think before he acts. Rafael is the one that saved April right?! He’s the G!
Who’s your favorite cartoon character? I would have to say Bobby from Bobby’s World.
Favorite cereal? Life
Favorite book? “The Grapes of Wrath” by John Steinbeck
Favorite movie? No Country For Old Men or There Will Be Blood.
Favorite past time? Writing on things.
More peanut butter or more jelly? Jelly
Thank you. I hate when people say more peanut butter. That shit is so dry, that’s why niggas are so thirsty now n’ days.
When was the last time you were arrested? Last year for public intoxication or pissing in public, not sure which one it was.
Isn’t pissing in public a sex crime? Yeah, you have to register as a sex offender after your third time. I’m on my second.
You better be careful pissing out there. The second time I gave a fake name so I’m good.
What’s the last song you listened to? “My Nigga” by YG, Jeezy & Rich Homie Quan
What’s your go-to choice at the ice cream truck? That’s easy, strawberry shortcake.
How old were you when you lost your virginity? 15. That shit was tight as fuck.
What was tight, the girl or the experience? (Laughs) The experience. She wanted to fuck before but I was so nervous about getting her pregnant that I waited until I had a condom. She was some girl from my school, we ditched just to fuck.
Was she a virgin? No. She had fucked 1 guy already, I was heated.
So how old were you when you found out you were gay? Fuck you. (Laughs)
If you could have a conversation with anyone from the past who would it be and what would you ask? I would sit down with JFK and ask him how I could get over on the Military-Industrial Complex.
If you could have a threesome with any 2 girls who would it be? Oh my god… Kate Upton and Tianna Gregory from Instagram, she’s so bad. I hope she sees this somehow.
Okay, if you could have a one night stand with any girl who would it be? Hilary Clinton, duh. Nah don’t put that. Umm… Eva Longoria.
What’s the best characteristic in a female? Attitude
Do you have a girlfriend right now? That depends, define a girlfriend.
(Laughs) So why not? Other priorities.
What’s your favorite thing about Those Folks? Free product nigga! (Laughs) That’s stupid. Those Folks is a family, that’s like asking what your favorite thing about your family is.
Any last words? Shout-out to all the family and folks that have looked out for me. All the homies from the hood, you know who you are.
We started off the year with our Valentine’s Day release. At the time I wanted to design some non-cornball shit that was against (in my opinion) possibly the worst holiday to ever go commercial. The drop included 3 different t-shirts and a snapback.
The first design was a Kim Casali tribute called “Love Is…”
The second design was something I’ve had in mind for a long time and perfect for Valentine’s Day. I searched all over L.A. to find the right oxeye daisies, checked my little brother & sister out of school early, then took some pictures of them playing the game “She (or He) loves me, she loves me not.”
The snapback was designed from the absence of LOVE…
Our good friend Cole Moss released his “Why Unicorn Drinks” book.
We made new stickers and some new lookbooks for our field trip to Vegas for MAGIC.
Guerilla marketing at it’s finest!
My childhood friend Gilbert Trejo jumped back on the scene and I was privileged enough to put together a TDRT (The Dead Reagan Tour) x CBG (Chill Black Guys) show. It was the first time Gilbert’s band TDRT played a show in over 5 years, and the first time CBG ever played with a live punk band. The night was definitely one to remember!
FRANK151 reached out to us for an interview and posted the article on their website!
Click HERE to read it.
In May we released our second collaboration with Crap Eyewear. This time around we got to design 2 different styles. Our “T.V. Eye” style frames are possibly my favorite thing that I have ever designed.
Our brother “Black Daniel” was finally released from jail. In my best attempt to keep him out of jail, I decided to take a skate trip up North to Santa Cruz, Sacramento, Oakland, and San Francisco. He had the time of his life during the trip but my #KeepBlackDanielOuttaJail campaign didn’t work for as long as I wanted. He was arrested once again shortly after we returned to L.A.
We held Warm Brew’s listening party for their album “The Ride” at Venice Orignals.
A girl named Autumn in St. Louis got a Those Folks tattoo on her foot!
We purchased 2 VHS video cameras to start filming a new Those Folks video, and just like every year, we enjoyed every day of the Summer!
My cousin “Juice” started making Those Folks jewelry, it will be available soon.
We signed up in a basketball league for the first time, and definitely not the last.
I took my first ever family trip to Kern River. I had never been camping before, it was the best time I had all year.
We held our very first skate contest at the skatepark in Venice. We filmed the contest with our VHS cameras but we’re saving the footage for the new Those Folks video that will be out next year.
Our boy Miles Silvas from Sacramento got the cover of Transworld Magazine!
Mikey Alfred from Illegal Civilization put together his first art show featuring work from Nakel Smith, Lego, Cedric Grandberry, Myself, as well as his own.
I finally met Bobby Hundreds so we could talk about things that happened in the past and left a sour relationship between The Hundreds and Those Folks. I’m glad we cleared everything up and now there might be a TH x TF collaboration coming soon…
For the second year in a row, Those Folks fed the homeless in Venice for Thanksgiving. We served over 200 plates of food and handed out socks & beanies as well. It’s always good to give back and although the government is trying to make it illegal, I hope we can keep this tradition going.