Last week a good friend of mine invited me to go with him to paint some walls… I’m not a graff writer, nor would I EVER pretend to be, but I have been interested in creating with spray paint for a while. My friend is a complete badass. His name is Hatziel Flores (google him). He basically taught me the basics of can control in a SUPER crash course one day this past summer, and I’ve been bitten with the “spray paint bug” ever since.
Hatziel was going to paint to knock off some rust because he was chosen to do one of the official pieces on the wall for “Go Paint Day” this past weekend. I figured, if I’m going to go out here I might as well go in with a plan for once, since the other couple of times I’d tried to spray paint, I went in completely blind. I sketched a quick crude outline of what would become “Temper Tantrump”.
We arrive at the walls, and another artist “Grand” is already working. Grand is one of Hatziel’s homies, and tells us “Hey, these walls have been assigned to different crews, but y’all can go ahead and paint on them because they are going to be buffed tonight or tomorrow to get ready for Saturday. So if you just want to get up for practice, go ahead.”
We both pick our spaces on the wall and get to work. While we’re working another artist arrives to start his piece for the event on Saturday, a person I later find out is one of the GODFATHERS of Dallas graffiti, Ozone.
All 4 of us had been painting for about an hour, and Ozone walks down from his piece at the end of the wall to check everyone else’s progress, and stops at my piece, and tells me how much he loves it, and how he can already tell it’s going to be epic. Me, a guy that had no business being on this wall in the first place with these three Dallas graffiti legends, was getting love from Ozone.
I put in another 2 or so hours and had to leave. The piece wasn’t exactly finished, but it was finished enough that I could take a photo and post it and not be too mad at it. Grand comes down from his scaffolding, and looks at the piece and compliments it as well. Hatziel who’s painting next to me, tells Grand, “yeah this is only his second time really painting”. Grand is visibly blown away. He then says, “yeah I’m going to make sure they don’t buff this and leave it up for the event”. I don’t take it too seriously, and don’t really care if it gets painted over because I had taken some solid photos.
Thursday evening passes, then all day Friday, then Saturday morning. I arrive to the event about 2 or so to find it’s a much bigger deal than I expected. There were 18 wheeler trailers, and people live painting on easels, and literally creation happening EVERYWHERE. B-boys breakdancing on custom floors that were built for the event, DJs, cypher circles, basically every element of hip-hop was there except for KRS-ONE. I walk into the alley where the Varsity Graff writers were, and get to the section of the wall where my Temper Tantrump piece was to find… it was still there. There really skipped my part of the wall when they were buffing to leave it up for the event. Me, the person who isn’t a graff writer, and had no business being on that wall with those legends. People were taking pictures with it and wondering who the mystery man was that painted this piece. There were people speculating it was another well known writer that no one had ever seen, and it wasn’t finished because someone came into the alley while he was working, and spotted him and he ran off. Hearing all the theories of who it could be was entertaining, but as an artist I wanted them to know it was me, and what better way to let them know than to finish the piece. So I rushed home, grabbed my paints, and paint clothes and headed back to get to work.
And here’s the finished product. It’s not perfect by graffiti standards, but I’m REALLY proud of it. Plus I met A LOT of really cool people and told them my story, and got some really good pointers from people who have been doing this since the 80s/90s. AND got some love from some graffiti ICONS along the way.