hip hop - mma - rap - R&B - ufc - IFL - pride fc - MUSIC - SPORTS - ENTERTAINMENT - thaformula.com - mear one

hip hop | sports | art | mailing list

LAST UPDATE: 08.26.2007    / 13.30 p.m.                                               Web        Thaformula.Com          


  Mear One
"So graffiti art is a real wrench in the system because what it does to most kids is it allows them a taste of true freedom and when they experience that freedom, they don't want to go back. They’ve been changed, they’ve been permanently altered. These people don't want to just go get the typical office job and for those that do get those jobs, they live a life of confusion because they know the truth. And they are busy uh, you know I won't say selling out because there is plenty of corporate jobs I take from Disney to Time Warner to pay my rent and buy my free time but point being is that when you offer up your soul day to day for this money making machine, you realize that you are losing your soul and graffiti art will teach you the exact opposite."
music features

Print | E-Mail Story

Mear One: knowledge of self
feedback: info@thaformula.com
July '07

thaFormula.com - As far as writing goes what was the main thing that set it off for you in deciding that you wanted to be a writer?

Mear One - Just a creative route that would involve still doing all the criminal activity I enjoyed ‘cause I was really pissed of at the world I guess. I was broke, I grew up real poor so art supplies and fresh clothes and things like that weren’t easy to come by so it was like graffiti art was a sport and art form and a lifestyle.  So I could bring everything together.  All my frustrations and anger could get worked out through the process of doing graffiti. 

thaFormula.com – In your eyes, what do you think was the main thing that set off the graffiti scene in L.A.?

Mear One - I think a lack of attention that was going on in Los Angeles at the time.  Poverty was at an all time high.  I remember when I was a little kid how many liquor stores and porno shops there were and how kids were being bussed around and not really being able to go to their own school.  So traveling across town you would see things that you never saw before like some graffiti or some shit that you would incorporate into your own style or just the combination of just, you know late 70's was really busted in L.A.  Hollywood Blvd. was completely  dilapidated. All the main streets around here were just back lots for Hollywood movie industry shit.  So you could see that the face of Hollywood in L.A. was falling apart and it was just in disarray.  Graffiti was just the natural process of what would happen to a situation like that .

thaFormula.com - So what finally got you writing on the streets and what finally made you hit the streets of L.A.?

Mear One -  Well I was an artist.  I painted and drew and colored and graffiti art style had begun influencing my art but like I said before the feeling I had of frustration, just being hungry and angry all that stuff,  when I saw gang graffiti and when I saw Hip-Hop graffiti it made me feel like those kids were being real rebels.  Like I got into graffiti for different reasons then most people.  A lot of people get into graffiti because they are into Hip-Hop music or they break dance.  I got into graffiti because I threw rocks at busses, I stole shit, I would throw gallons of paint off of the rooftops of buildings in the middle of the street so cars would drive through it and make weird markings in the road.  I was a true vandal and I got into graffiti to be a vandal and destroy shit.  Luckily I’m an artists and I have other points of perspective along with good friends and mentors who led me into a more righteous path of doing art and creativity and not just being in this state of destruction.

thaFormula.com - So was joining a crew the first thing you set off to do?

Mear One - Yeah, it was probably one of the first things I did.  I made up a crew called DFL (Down for Life) and that was when I was in junior high school.  Me and the local neighborhood taggers put that shit together and we began getting on buses and traveling all over L.A.  We were tag bangers basically.  We were scribing, we were mobbing busses, going to different parts of the city to steal paint and markers.  We were the real dirty grungy raw shit.

thaFormula.com - And what ended up happening to that crew?

Mear One - That shit fell apart.  Just teenage delinquency, tripping on each other, that fell apart and I had joined several other crews trying to figure out my position and what I wanted to be doing.  That all evolved into the CBS crew I joined back in 1989 and that crews focus was incorporating all the drama and trouble that I had been involved in that attracted me so much but also its focus was creating bad ass art and rising to the top.  So that was the big attraction for me to get down with a crew that had style and finesse.

thaFormula.com - How important was SK8 to CBS?

Mear One - CBS had gone through many transitions of different groupings of people and finally when SK8 had joined CBS and been through the mill of all these cats to the point of like ‘88 or ‘89 of being the leader of that crew he began putting people into it as he thought fit and built a crew that led through ‘93 to his death and that consisted of myself, Tren, Anger, Az, Lynk, Krash, Exer and some other kids I should mention.  I could go on and on I mean we had 60 members at one point.  But anyways, he was the shit to us.  It was his missions and his purpose to be a leader and mentor and someone who provided the knowledge and the art form to some young kids that wanted to do it that were hungry to get up and get out and do this shit.  So it was a good relationship.  He also was a big bad muthafucka too and back then I was a little tiny kid just growing up, getting shot at getting down so to have some back up was an amazing uplift you know?  I think we all came together because our own personal stories were insane.  I mean I don't even need to mention anyone's names but all the members I have mentioned before had all been going through traumatic drama, bullshit of public high school, gang banging drug selling and whatever else.  So Sk8 kind of could see above all that shit and helped arrange things so that we were rocking walls and not smashing windows and stealing beer.

thaFormula.com - When he passed things changed for you, what happened?

Mear One - Well you got a best friend and they die doing graffiti art work and it makes you realize that the art form you are involved with is a lot more serious then you originally thought.  If me and my homeboys are willing to die for this shit then its time to take a step back and reevaluate what's going on.  I realized that for many years I had been involved in an art form that I was willing to die for.  Because of that it gave me respect for it.  It made me realize that I had survived a very traumatic period of my upbringing and I had come to a new era in my life where I was a little more conscious and aware of what was going on around me. I had stories to tell, adventures I had been through and I had built a life for myself.  So I wanted to now start exploring that life and expressing it through my art.

thaFormula.com - Why do you think the city and the cops have never been able to accept graffiti?  Do you think it's just because of the damage or do you think it's more than that?

Mear One - It's 2 things.  One thing is we are raised to go to school to act a certain way in society and the social normality that exists that keeps people locked in the patterns such as waking up going to work, going to the store coming home and making a dinner and when you go outside of that pattern you become a threat to society literally.  The other aspect of it is the damage.  Going outside of the box, stepping out of line, dissing the system, misbehaving, becoming a public problem and destroying public and private property, that all comes into a very rebellious state of mind and this country is all about educating people to not be rebellious, to be complacent.  So graffiti art is a real wrench in the system because what it does to most kids is it allows them a taste of true freedom and when they experience that freedom, they don't want to go back.  They’ve been changed, they’ve been permanently altered.  These people don't want to just go get the typical office job and for those that do get those jobs, they live a life of confusion because they know the truth. And they are busy uh, you know I won't say selling out because there is plenty of corporate jobs I take from Disney to Time Warner to pay my rent and buy my free time but point being is that when you offer up your soul day to day for this money making machine, you realize that you are losing your soul and graffiti art will teach you the exact opposite.  To retain your soul, to express your soul, and to use your soul for your own purposes as opposed to just making somebody else wealthy.

thaFormula.com - So how do you look at graffiti today at your age?  Like let's say you walked out of your home today and your garage door was tagged up, how would you look at that now?

Mear One - Yeah, that is complicated.  But me as a graffiti writer I have never tagged peoples garage doors. I guess what I'm saying is that you do grow, you do evolve, and you do incorporate other thoughts into your thinking.  If I owned a house and I went outside and it was bombed up, that would be fucked up.  I would have to fix that.  What about when I drive down the street in my car and make a left turn and I’m heading for the freeway and I see graffiti on the side of the freeway, does that bother me? Hell no.  When I see a bus covered in graffiti does that bother me? Hell no.  A billboard, a building on Sunset Boulevard, a High School, but someone’s car is fucked up.  So I think there is a separation at least with me between public and private.  I don't believe that graffiti should be ruining somebody's private property unless you have a personal issue with that situation.  But on the grand scale of things I think that public property goes hand in hand with graffiti because its our right to use that public space and I think that’s what the graffiti battle is all over is who's right is it to take up the space and express themselves.  When, where and how?

thaFormula.com - What is something a kid should know before deciding to pick up that can or marker and get involved in this art form?

Mear One - Well they should always ask themselves before they get into it, “why?”  Why do they even wanna do  it?  Once they realize why they wanna do it they need to look at the other side of the coin which is “what can happen to me if I do this?  I can end up going to jail, I can lose my freedom, or I can get shot and killed over some beef.”  There is a lot of complications that come up.  So all of those need to be understood and not just glorified like “yeah I’m living the life of a wild west gang banger out here.  You know spray can on my hip fucking dodging bullets.”  It's more of a situation of when you’re actually in that jail cell behind those bars and your freedom has been taken away was it worth it?  Those are probably the most important questions someone should ask themselves before they get involved in graffiti.  Someone shouldn't be worried about, "does my style look dope'” or “do I have a doper 3d then somebody else?” “Girls are gonna dig it when I do this, I’m gonna have friends because of this shit.” They need to think about those bars, that cell and the removal of their freedom. That's the real groundbreaker and if you can deal with that and you know that you are sly and slick and you got skills and there is purpose and conviction to what you are doing then fuck it, have at it.

thaFormula.com - For those that don't know or were not around L.A. at the time, what do you feel made that late 80's early 90's era of graffiti so special and why are we starting to see some similarities in 2007 to that era?

Mear One - Well it was considered “Reaganomics.”  We had president Reagan in office, George Bush was the vice president, leader of the CIA, Free Mason, member of the Illuminati, the Trilateral commission.  I mean these guys were high-ranking officials in the secret political world along with the public political world.  And like I said before there was a lot of liquor stores, a lot of beer advertisements, there was a lot of cigarettes that were being linked to sex.  There was a lot of movies based on fantasy, nothing at all that was based on reality at all that would be waking you up.  The only thing that was going on at the time was like “The Road Warrior” which was kind of on point.  So here we have this reality of “Reaganomics” that's going on like “everything is fine, shut up and go to sleep, pay your bills.”  Then you have “Blade Runner” and “Road Warrior” jumping off and I think that the public community services and shit like that, funding was cut so low that they had no ability to clean anything because their funding was cut.  All of the public gets cut when these totalitarian fucking assholes take office.  Any little pencil mark on the wall is more likely to stay up for years at that point because of the general neglect.  That neglect went across the board for all kinds of shit and I think once again we are feeling that neglect.  I know that community services paint supplies have been cut.  Their support systems have been cut and its a trip because they run hand in hand with an oppressive governmental system.  Of course they would want to kill graffiti and keep everything grey and ugly and boring and keep us all stupid and dumb.  Yet it’s interesting how graffiti art rises up when these situations come about.  I remember when Clinton was in office and I'm not a Clinton fan for that matter because he is in bed with the rest of these crooks, but when Clinton was in office, we had a different public reality and graffiti art had become very artful and beautiful and badass.  There was a lot of comfort and ability to buy more paint and the money was flowing.  It inspired kids to get involved in burners and group efforts to do amazing things. Prior to that with Bush and Reagan, kids were out there on the streets literally by themselves with a sack of paint “Chaka” style just tagging the shit out of everything because there was no hope. There was no point.  This is the game they play with us back and forth back and forth when it’s the same people running the same crap shuffle on us.  It just looks and appears different and smells and tastes different but tits the same old shit.  Right now with George Bush uh, our economy, we are spending money we don't even have. No one has that much money.  The planet doesn't have that much money.  So we are just dwindling away the brick wall.  They are pulling bricks out the way to sell them off.  We have not only spent all the money there was, we have spent 200 times the amount that we don't even have.  A lot of graffiti kids don't understand that, it doesn't make any sense to them, it doesn't even matter to them.  They don't even give a fuck because they are just gonna go fuck the wall up anyways and that's where it all stems from, that's the spirit.  “Fuck it,” because the reality of it is that this shit is fake anyways.  The money wasn’t there in the first place and it's just a fucking brainwash and game were all going through.  So I think the graffiti is a very resistant expression of public emotion.  It reflects the state of mid.  And we have a lot of graffiti going on right now and we also have a lot of insane crime going around this world that our country is responsible for.  It goes hand in hand.  This is just cause and effect you know action and reaction.  Graffiti is a reactive force, I have always thought and said that.  Things that happen in our lives, we react to them and quite often taggers will react to situations by going out and tagging to a girlfriends break up, a death of a family member, dropping out of high school, threat by gang members, just being broke and struggling along with the concept, you know the reaction to that shit is to go fuck up a wall.

thaFormula.com - Now Fox Undercover News ran some legendary specials back in the 90's on tag bangers, around the same time things got crazy violent and the scene just came crumbling down.  How much of an impact did those specials have on the scene and how special was that era before it came to an end?

Mear One - Well that era was heaven man.  That was the high point of graffiti.  That's when badass fools were rocking the freeways with full color burners.  Like waves and palm trees and big titty characters.  Just dope shit and they were performing acts of magic.  You would drive by one night on your way home, you would wake up and go back to work the same morning and that same wall you saw the night before suddenly had a burner on it.  Fox News wanted to glorify and highlight the act of these young kids that were doing that and they also wanted to throw their opinions in the mix and what ended up happening is that they inspired a lot of gangsters to get into it.  They basically blurred the line between graffiti art and gang banging and they confused that and a lot of kids that probably wouldn't have gotten into graffiti got into it because of that.  That changed the course big time.  Tag banging did not exist.  I was witness to this because I experienced both halves of it.  I was growing up good into becoming a dope graffiti artist and suddenly my career choice had shifted into carrying a knife, doing more scribes then paint, being more concerned with getting on busses and mobbing busses and that type of shit than elevating my style.  So I got side tracked for a minute because of it but thankfully I continued on my righteous path into artwork and not just getting caught up in tag banging.  But that was the reality. It was created by the Fox network  and you know Frame was one of the people, I remember seeing Sleez up there and Sleez was dope and always kept it real.  He was a tagger from the start and he is still a tagger.  But by seeing him doing what he did the way he did on TV, it took a lot of youth and made them want to go do it to without the historical upraising.  They didn't have like the big teachers around to teach them about what so and so did back in the days.  These kids didn't know anything about that.  People don't know where we all came from, but we all came from this shit and there was no history and it's like going to go interview the mafia and talk to them about meatballs and spaghetti.  They just blew it.  They glorified something on a very lightweight level.  They didn't get involved in the history of it or the purpose of it either.  I wish they would have interviewed me and I would have known back then, I would have dropped it on them, but they didn't.  The media totally fucked it all up.  But that ain't nothing new.  That's what they been doing. They’ve been doing that back in Europe.  This is an old method of mind control and you know society control.

thaFormula.com - What do you think of what's happening now in 2007 in the graffiti scene and where do you see it going?

Mear One - Well graffiti is it's own entity and it always will remain that.  It may be appropriated and pulled from side to side becoming different things and transforming different areas.  Also in the past we didn't have spray cans, but that same energy existed back then, Graffiti is the voice of the dissatisfied soul and what I mean by that is graffiti is in its temporary state right now.  It continues to evolve.  Right now graffiti has been necessary but there will be a kind of time where it will express itself in a different form.  But we’re dealing with rebellion right here and that’s where a lot of gangs in graffiti stem from in the first place is rebellion.  The non-acceptance of central control.  That control could be based upon ourselves and our community as opposed to central control being this all-seeing government that's looking at every step we take.

thaFormula.com - So when did the galleries, art shows, album covers, etc. come around for you?

Mear One -  Just being out there being prolific and relentless with that and being true to it, I think that game recognizes game.  I think that I'm out there doing my thing, a lot of it and it's had a lot to do with many individuals memories of their life.  They remember this, they remember that or that I was doing this or that.  So it’s like just doing it has associated me with a big part of this and also I think that I do something that not everyone tries to do.  I try to speak with it, communicate, I try to transcend language with it and take it to a higher level.  Like I said not everyone is in the game for the same reasons.  I mean I'm definitely in this game because I am dissatisfied with the status quo and the galleries came about totally by accident.  I was painting a mural for my homeboy Sk8 who had passed away and it was on the side of a gallery and that's how I had got my acceptance into that gallery and from there that got me into magazines and from there that got me into other galleries.

thaFormula.com - And how have things been for you and have you been able to live alright financially off of your art?

Mear One - I mean this is all I do for a living, this is how I survive day to day.  Some months are good and some months are a struggle and you know I am a full time artist.  That's what i am and that's what I do.  I've evolved from graffiti art to a fine artist.  For that matter, the graffiti that I still do, I don't even consider graffiti anymore, and I consider it fine art.  Like when I go hit up a billboard or a freeway doing my shit on the street, why should I call it graffiti art.  I was an artist when I was in kindergarten, I'm still an artist.  That's just my new state of consciousness where I'm at right now.  That may change, I may feel one day ah no its all about tagging and graffiti, but for me it's really evolved.  it's changed as I have and when I go out and do my thing, its all art.  I don't like separating it now, it's all art to me, all of it.

feedback: info@thaformula.com

Be  sure to join the over 600,000 Industry Heads that have signed up to our exclusive mailing list!!  Click here to join and receive exclusive interviews only available to members. Leave contact info ( name, email address, city, state, and country) at info@thaformula.com.




Geffen Records Presents The Official Common "Finding Forever" Listening Party Cookout & Live Graffiti Expo  @33third Los Angeles.

Live Painting By: Ezra, Frame, Duel, Rez, Bahgo74 & More.  In-Store DJ: DJ Lord Ron & Guests. 
When: Saturday July 28th, 2007  Time: 2pm-8pm  Where: 33third L.A. 5111 W. Pico Blvd. Los Angeles 90013  RSVP To: 33ghost@sbcglobal.net   Info: (310) 694-3460   This Is A Free All Ages Event.
  sports features
Jens Pulver Pt. 1. 

This is what I wanna do,  I have no fear of being punched...

Rampage Jackson. 

I don't care about what Chuck is gonna do or how he...

Nick Diaz. 

They might win but that's gonna be a whole fight...

  music  features
DJ FM Of Psycho Realm.

It's a game of politics with this music, but what can you do...

Devin The Dude.

I am really true to it & I try to do the best that I can...

Bishop Lamont.

There are many more brothas like me, but they never get heard...