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I started doing these crazy sloppy rollers with the wheat paste because everything at that point in graffiti was so meticulous in People must have have thought you were putting up movie posters when you went out. How did you hook up with COST? Where did the idea to do rollers come from?

I got an extension pole, like 24 feet long, for the roller me and COST did. We did our first roller on a parking lot by Duane St, right on the roof.

This Graffiti Fanboy Steals Priceless Street Art Under the Cloak of Darkness

It was a brown roller on a tan wall. We blew up the whole spot, no one could go over us. He cares about perception, wants to get feedback. We started hitting everywhere and these things look pretty good, almost semi-pro lettering, kind of like a stencil. I know spray cans are easy to rack, but how did you get all these gallons of paint and wheat paste?

Wheat paste was cheap. I always worked, been working since I was 11 years old so I had money for buying wheat paste. We found on Reade St. We found Photo Backdrop paper in Soho and started doing what we called street paintings on them, then gluing those up. They were 4 x 6 feet tall. We started doing street paintings where you paint the doorway and then take some shoe dye, put purple in the dye, then do my character.

COST was doing his stick figures thing and we ventured out to the outer boroughs as well. What did other writers think of it? COST came up with the idea of getting a toll free phone number and then got his grandmother to record some foul language messages, insulting people. They would say what is this toy shit? Regular people would call up and ask what is this about. It was mysterious but we were just two graffiti guys.


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They took away the trains, buses, handball courts, the parks. Maybe some overpass by the freight trains. All of us still have the itch and being grown men now, we could do a good job. When did the rollers and wheat pasting era come to an end for you?

A Mexican predecessor: Muralismo in the 20s

Me and COST would argue a lot. We went our separate ways but cops were trailing him because he was putting up a lot of stickers. Yeah, any motherfucker can write on a piece of paper but graffiti needs balls. I was going with bucket paint and a ladder all painted black, clothes were black, pole was black. I used the best quality paint I could get my hands on and did of these series. At what point did your steel sculptures come about? DIVA used to call them weld-ups. I come from the working class so I build stuff.

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The first weld-up I did was in and it was a cage that I installed in Soho with railroad spikes and some epoxy on the bottom. It ran for a couple of months and then I did another one by the cube on St. It was an oil can that was for the Gulf war in I started to get more into welding and even when I was hanging with COST I would tell him to get a book to get the concept of welding. I got down with my union and started getting better at welding, practice in anything will make you better. I love getting into steel with a grinder and a torch.

You can lose your shit once you weld something. Other dudes like the Greed-fitti guys always want to become somebody, they want to be the next Andy Warhol, Keith Haring or Basquiat. I was watching the whole thing from 15 feet back behind the doors, way out in the hallway. We want to see more ideas. What if they could get arrested doing this art? What if you could get arrested because they get arrested? Sara was controlling the room, answering questions one by one with a ton of patience, dealing with everyone in just a great manner and I thought to myself, she would make a great podcast guest.

But, enough about that. I want to get to talking to Sara because she has some great ideas. She uses graffiti to engage her students into some incredible art-making. So, let me bring her on. I am excited to talk to you. What do you love to teach about graffiti? Why do you love it in your classroom? And, I guess, if I can just talk without actually asking you the first question.

You know for me and my classroom and something that really inspires my kids and motivates my kids for a ton of different reasons and it really kind of breaks them out of the traditional ideas of what art needs to be. I guess I wast to ask, is your experience similar? Why do you love to teach graffiti and more importantly why do your kids love it so much? Sara : Awesome question!

What is Street Art and How Can We Define it?

They start bringing examples into the classroom. Tim : Then, my next question for you, I was absolutely fascinated by this when I saw your presentation in Seattle. There are so many teachers who are so concerned about graffiti being illegal. They were just losing it that you would teach this to kids that you might encourage them to do something illegal. So, I guess the question for you, for all those teachers who are really stressed out about this- how big of a concern are the legal aspects for you and how do you deal with that with your students?

Sara : Absolutely, yeah I … it was a pretty interesting experience for me presenting as well.

This Graffiti Fanboy Steals Priceless Street Art Under the Cloak of Darkness

I expected a little bit of push back, but there were definitely some people who were very alarmed by the idea, offended even you could say. I think, personally, the fact that some of the work is illegal kind of adds a extra really interesting layer about what is art and can art be illegal?

Banksy leaves mural and cheeky note in Bristol school as thanks for tribute

When I teach it to my students I, before I show them a lot of work, we lay out all the legal ramifications and talk about what the consequences are in these works and why some artists are willing to risk those consequences for the sake of their artwork. So, can you just give me a quick list of maybe a few of the artist that inspire you and the artist that inspire your kids as well.

Amazing Street Artist - Taipei, Taiwan

Sara : Sure. So, I always start my unit looking at Banksy and the work of Banksy.

I usually start off with him and then we move on to Shepard Fairey who is a local artist.