Let's talk about Wildstyle, Alchemist, Graffiti dvds, Heaven's Butcher and serious skills.
For the new exclusive FatCap video, we choose Eaz. Why? Because the guy is real, gifted, and knows a lot about graffiti. He blessed us with a stunning video of him doing a crazy "FatCap" piece. If you don't know who's Eaz, and what he's all about, here's the FatCap Interview. Now you know...
FC: Where are you from Eaz? Tell us about your beginnings and your discovery of graffiti.
Eaz: Back in New Jersey I grew up when hip-hop was hip-hop. I didn't grow up in the suburbs in an upper class neighborhood and everyone wasn't always cordial. I always thought graffiti was normal. I could see graffiti wherever I went, from the Bronx, NY to my street in New Jersey. I remembered always seeing various signatures around my neighborhood and always thought 'I want to do that'. I guess when I saw that on a daily basis I just found myself more attracted. It seemed like no one I directly knew was that into it. I would try and get my boys to go out and get up but it never seemed like they wanted to. They would rather go do other illegal shit it seemed. Now that I look back it was the norm to be grimey. I was fortunate to have a good hustle from an early age. Being a trust fund baby doesn't give you that. It was normal to rack paint and go painting. I tried doing a piece behind a building a couple times at that early age but I was very wack. I stopped after a while and got back into it in 94/95.
FC: What's the meaning of your name?
Eaz: Well the meaning was not so much the reason that I chose to use "Eaz" as a name. I liked how it would write and flow as a signature. Then I built everything else from that. I tried many different letter combinations before I found myself attracted to this one.
FC: What do you like about graffiti?
Eaz: Graffiti is freedom to create and destroy at the same time. I could paint a freight and it could look real dope but to someone else its destruction. I am not into destroying as much as I used to be. I don't feel like I have to be out there like that to keep up appearances. I am an artist before anything. I love art as a whole. Graffiti just seemed to be the one art form I enjoy the most. It seems that what I do and what I am into is very niche. Not many people are doing big one man walls with backgrounds, characters and a wild style piece. I do admit it takes time but the end result is what I am after. Legal walls are cool and everything but I do get the itch from time to time do do other things and I do scratch.
FC: What crew do you rep?
Eaz: I don't really rep a crew other than 4-Delf and FBA. I am down with some writers from the majority of the most known crews of the world though.
FC: What inspires you?
Eaz: Everything inspires. Everything that life throws at me inspires me to grow and expand, whether it be good or bad. Even the simplest leaf, if looked at closely has a complex pattern of sections that are amazing to look at. The way a piece of fabric flows off of something can trigger a chain of ideas. The way a piece of music can make mold your train of thought for an evening of sketching. The feeling you get after you just got away with doing something fucked up. Everything has inspired me on a daily basis. I look at all of it and soak it all in. The positive feedback I get for what I do is really great. I have gotten a lot emails over the years thanking me for my DVDs and for giving back. That in itself is inspiring. Negative opposition is good as well. I like when I see the hating for me that I have seen in people and other writers I have come across in my life. These noticeably transparent people don't even realize how they come across the majority of the time. I love it. Its like the feeling you get when catching someone in a lie. Its like "Damn homie, I must really affect you in such a manner that you can not even hold your composure." Hate on me, cry, bitch and moan if you want, It won't make you a better artist or person.
FC: Word. How did your style evolve?
Eaz: Long hours of drawing and refining. I had always wanted my letters to look a certain way. I just didn't know what that certain way was yet. I kept on trying and practicing I eventually found my groove. I also loved painting with my old crew FX when it was poppin back like 7-10 years ago. I learned a lot from them all and them from me. FX, for a moment, was a great crew to paint with when I was down. Then reality rears its ugly little head and things got real stuffy and obligatory so I kept it moving.
FC: What is the role of Graffiti in your life?
Eaz: It is funny how much of my life has to do with graffiti. It is a big part of it but not the only part. I sacrificed clients to get my graffiti DVDs completed. So I guess graffiti is more important to me than I thought!
FC: What’s your taste in music and movies?
Eaz: My music varies a great deal. Depends what I am doing. From NIN, Tool, Alice in Chains, Misfits, Samhain to Mobb Deep, Infamous Mobb, Illa Ghee, Big Noyd, Alchemist, Eminem, Prodigy's HNIC albums... The Prodigy "HNIC2" album is pure flavor. So is "Product of the 80s". My tastes from my early days of Eric B and Rakim and have changed a great deal. I always love early hip hop when it comes on though. Audio Two and Special Ed bring back fond memories of scamming and vicking when I was a youngster.
One of my favorite movies is Perfume, The story line is great. Fear and Loathing and Pulp Fiction are also favorite movies. There are literally dozens of great movies that I couldn't possibly list here!
FC: You also produce beats right?
Eaz: Yea. I really like doing them a lot. I had to do it for my DVDs. Its satisfying because I don't really have to think, just listening and tweaking sounds until its to my satisfaction. Its the only other creatively organic thing I like to do that resembles painting in a weird sort of way.
FC: Do you read comics? Do you think it has had an influence on your art?
Eaz: I am not an avid collector but a few definitely stand out. The original black and white Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics by Eastman and Laird, Johnny the Homicidal Maniac by Jhonen Vasquez and Oink: Heaven's Butcher by John Mueller. All very sick is their own way. Yes, all very influential.
FC: Favorite quote?
Eaz: "We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them." Albert Einstein
FC: Favorite colors?
Eaz: Thats impossible to answer but If I had to pick I would still have to pick 2. Black and White.
Style and Flow:
FC: You are a wild style master and to me it's a style that has been unfairly neglected these days, although it's truly the ultimate graffiti discipline. What do you think about the current styles in 2009? Do you think the youth needs to train and learn the basics, or can graffiti be free from its own rules?
Eaz: I learned that the basics are very important to learn. Why and how thick and thin you should make something to exaggerate and manipulate your style. You can derive a great deal from looking at fonts like "Times". Also a nice simple font is "Impact", it doesn't get anymore basic than that. You can easily realize that the font's letters all have common thicknesses that make up that font. Many writers today I feel have figured this out. I like it. It is a solid basis to any good style.
Click on the picture for bigger size
FC: You are also known for creating stunning backgrounds and characters. Your backgrounds mostly represent a dark universe, where do you find inspiration?
Eaz: I always believe that the heart and soul of the wall is always the letters first. I love doing the whole wall though. The dark themed walls are always satisfying to conceptualize and paint, I can't help it. The last few hours of painting those last little details are always the most fun to me. Seeing the final completed wall is the real inspiration as I see the wall progress. I am usually not as excited once the wall starts.
FC: How do you prepare your paintings? Do you do sketches before?
Eaz: I am an avid "sketcher". I love the idea that I am making something out of nothing. Sketching is always the first step to the final goal. To me a solid "blueprint" equals a solid final wall. Some writers often pride themselves on how they often free-style a piece. That is not for me.
FatCap and Eaz collaboration. See the video of this sketch here : FatCap x Eaz or after the jump.
FC: Do you need something particular to be creative?
Eaz: Time. Time is always a constant battle for me. It has always been my worst enemy. There is only limited amount of time in a day and usually you have to do regular life type shit like go grocery shopping or do laundry when you least want to do it. It is tough when I find myself on a creative roll. I admittedly have a really tough time balancing.
FC: What kind of reaction do you want your art to arise?
Eaz: For my haters... jealousy, hate and envy. For everyone else... The feeling that you want to sit and look at what I paint a little closer than the next writer's piece. I want you to see every shadow and highlight. I want you to see and feel the difference in what I do as opposed to the next writer. Inside, I feel like its always a battle with me against everyone I consider a great letter style master. It is only natural and the basis of this game. Burn or be burned.
FC: What is the perfect spot for the perfect graffiti?
Eaz: NYC Trains in the early 80s. I love it.
FC : How's the collaboration with other artists going?
Eaz: I moved to California last year and I haven't really made it my mission to paint with anyone here all that tough. Eh, these days I am on some loner shit. People often disappoint me to a great extent. People that have fronted on me in the past and present are a dime a dozen at this point.
FC: Tell us about your amazing DVDs.
Eaz: The first one "Letter Style and Painting Techniques" was a huge global success. It made a lot of waves and it was a ground-breaking type of graffiti DVD never done by any other established graffiti writer before me. I felt like there was information that needed to be known and techniques I wanted to show the world. I did all of the production aspects of the DVD. I focused my efforts on the people that have a deep love and interest for this culture. I obviously second guessed myself before I even started working on it. Am I doing the right thing? Am I giving it away? I finally decided fuck that. I am going to make a sick DVD that will hopefully make a huge difference in this culture. I dropped knowledge for the new blood and the old school cats. I answered a lot of questions that the average person would not know. I love graffiti so I also wanted to make something that will showcase my style and techniques for the world to see and can possibly learn from. Judging from the feedback shows me that I truly did the right thing. I also have bonus footage and some of the sickest interviews with some of graffiti's best.
The second one "Wild Style Lettering". I am even more excited about this DVD than the first one. The core of the DVD is the wild style lettering sessions. I did a alphabet from A to Z. I treated the letters like they were their own entity. This way you can see what the extensions look like on both sides. I loved doing those letters. I filmed every aspect of what I was doing. You get to see erasing, redrawing and all around finessing of the letters throughout the alphabet. I wanted to include a lot extras and bonuses so I got the DVD replicated on a bigger size DVD that holds double the data. The bonuses are sick as fuck too. Ces and Serve did a few letters of their own. I speak with them about their style and strategy. It turned out to be very insightful. I mean, when was the last time you got to see either one of these guys sketching and working through a letter on film? I added footage on how I go about doing different simple styles. I also have some bonus painting footage. Last but not least, "The Eaz Colorizer" the original wild style colorizer software.
FC: What's the goal of these DVDs? It seems that you want to pass on the knowledge and culture of writing. You are truly the only one to do this.
Eaz: I have mentioned before that the dynamic of the older writer teaching the younger writer seems to of died off. I want to share my techniques to help people get better and go beyond what our preconceived notion of what style is. How will you affect graffiti's evolution? How can you change things or improve things? I felt that with a medium such as this I can possibly preserve this art form as best as I can. Now kids 20 years from now can pick up my DVD and learn. The title of these DVDs is not by mistake, The Future of Graffiti.
FC: I can imagine that you received a lot of positive feedback with the first DVD, and I am sure the second one will be an equally good release once it comes out, if not better. But don't you think some writers will copy your style by watching your dvd again and again?
Eaz: That doesn't bother me. A funny story... One time my old partner Per and I where in Queens, NY. He got out of the car and went over someone, I forget their name. Well anyways the reason he did a throw up over this writer was because he was copying my beveled painting style. I really didn't care. He took more offense to it than I did. I was just flattered that a lot of people in New York found it "the thing to do". I was more excited that I actually started a trend in the mecca of graffiti. The bevel on the edge of letters. I love that a lot of New York writers like doing that sort of thing enough to use it on every single one of their pieces now. I love that and now people do it world wide! I actually started doing my pieces with no outline before I got down with FX but once I started painting like that along with that extra added bevel in New York, the way I was painting seemed to spread like wild fire. My point is, as far as the DVDs are concerned, it doesn't matter at all if everyone uses every single aspect of my techniques and or style. You are you. No one can ever be me. I just made a starting point for writers that normally would not have been there before. Think about it, even if someone copies every single thing you do, they are going to start branching off into their own directions regardless of what. Why? Because they are a totally different person and I am sure they want to create their own identity anyway, you know?
FC: Yeah that's right, what makes the second DVD "Wild Style Lettering" different from the first one?
Eaz: The first one was a sort of blanket. I was trying to touch on as many aspects of what I do as I could within the space I had on one DVD. The second one is more concentrated and specific on one aspect of what I do. I love that the first DVD was so well received that it allowed me the motivation to release this second one. Remember, I had no idea if the first one was going to be well received or not so I felt I was taking a huge leap of faith. The second one is me much more relaxed and talking about style and wild style lettering techniques. I did not speak about style on all 26 letters. I did some time-lapsed footage as well so you can sit back and enjoy looking at all the steps I took in re-working and finessing the letter's structure. In my opinion another ground-breaker. I never get to see anyone that I respect as a style master do that let alone do an entire alphabet. Plus, I don't front at all. I let you see what it took to get to that final outline.
FC: You brought Ces and Serve on this second DVD. How did this collaboration take place?
Eaz: They got down on the bonus footage. I respect the fuck out of these guys. They unintentionally helped mold a lot of writers today. Looking at their work inspires you to burn. They are my boys and it seemed only natural to get another established writer's perspective in on this. Serve in my opinion does not get the play he absolutely deserves in graffiti. He is a style master extraordinaire. He does a lot of outlines for a lot of NY writers. He is straight up FBA to the fullest. His style oozes just enough old school flavor for today's eyes to see. On top of being one of my good friends Ces is a real beast with style. I admittedly have been influenced by him. Who hasn't though? He set it off by marrying a lot of different NY styles and techniques together into one sick style that sets him apart from the rest. He morphed into what he does today and does it really well. I feel it was an honor to have these two style masters on my DVD.
FC: Tell us about the "The Eaz Colorizer"?
Eaz: Oh man, I have had this idea for years. This year I barely had the ability and time to make it happen. It is very exciting for me to have a really cool bonus like this on the second DVD. It is a software I developed that allows you to change the colors of various aspects of the alphabet I created for the DVD. The fill's top fade and bottom fade, the outline, the glow around the letter and the top and bottom fade of the background. The 3d aspect was intentionally not included for a good reason. I didn't want to cover any 3d coming off of the letter because I did not want anyone to confuse that as being part of your style. Before you delve into 3d it is supremely important to have a good letter style base to work from. The second version of the software may have it included. I wanted people to properly digest this one thoroughly without the distraction of an added 3d. Since this DVD was about style I felt it would have been a un-needed distraction.
FC: How can it be possible that you handle the whole process of production by yourself? How much time did it take? Can you explain to us the different steps of it's creation from the idea to the stores?
Eaz: Wow, where do I start? Ok for starters since I finished the last DVD I was making beats for a while after just for the hell of it. Either way I soon realized I need to complete at least 26 beats. Granted I used a few tracks of my favorites from the first DVD but it was still not an easy task for me. This was being worked on up until the very last part of the DVD was completed and ended up making beats specifically for the last few parts like the outro and some of the bonuses. Working on the beats all this time gave me a sort of a small jump start. Then came the animated intro. I had a few ideas and sketches in mind so I explored them all and decided on one idea. I had been doing 3d illustration work for while and decided I would take another leap into character animation like I did on the first one with the robot. This time I wanted to do more of an organic pair of characters that somewhat interacted. The scene is sort of the portrayal of a couple crew members of a future excavation lab examining their findings. It started from sketches to side profile and frontal profile view illustrations to blocking out the characters in a 3d application. After that I had to make the UV coordinates visibly useable for me to use in Photoshop which is a huge pain in the ass. This way the textures apply correctly. Then importing that corrected geometry into another piece of software to make all of the high frequency detail. After that I touched up the final texture files and added all of the small details I wanted. Next I exported the finished model back into the 3d application for rigging (creating a sort of skeleton that allows the model to move). Then I planned my shots and started animating for a few weeks. Then I imported all of the shots into another software to edit and add effects along with another particle generating software. A ton of back and forthing and long hours of rendering and tweaking and re-rendering. Its fun and the end result is satisfying but very tedious. Thats just the intro. Then comes the filming of the letter sketching sessions. That was when I was feeling like it was coming more together because I had a few main elements underway at this point. After the filming I had to edit the footage, like adding audio and deciding what was time-lapsed and what was and wasn't important. Then I did the 3d titles for all of the letters of the alphabet. Since I wanted them all different that was a mini mission unto itself. Dropped those completed titles into the edited lettering sessions timeline. Edited and completed the bonuses and put it all together. Then finally authored the DVD and sent it off to replicate. Then I had to redo the website to reflect the new addition to "The Future of Graffiti Series". I am obviously glossing over TONS of steps but you get the idea. I unfortunately didn't have any fellow graffiti artist or designer help me with any steps. I had some programming issues with the colorizer software and I had some help with that. Other than that it was all me. I wanted it this way though. I wouldn't want someone telling me what they thought about a segment or track or even giving their opinion of what should be where. Thats why I keep it under wraps until I'm done. While I was doing it all to the extent that I was it seemed like I would never get done. I am glad I never stopped once I officially started working on it. Hopefully someone will remotely find this part of the interview interesting! hahaha.
FC: Hahaha... The reality behind the scene! WORK!
FC: What makes a good piece?
Eaz: Creative balance. Good colors. Nice smooth fades. Can control techniques that produce a clean final piece. Good thicknesses. Extensions that make sense.
FC : Why is graffiti scary?
Eaz: Expensive court costs and lawyer fees. I don't have a sponsor and no one to pay for my lawyer fees, I don't have any friends paying my bills and I don't have a lot of money to drop on retainer. Bombing and then running around associating my face with my graffiti name. Nah, Im good. I rather go to jail for a battery if given the option.
FC: Did your views on graffiti change over time?
Eaz: As far as views of some other graffiti artists, yes. This game has a lot of fakes, wanksters and haters. These people will front on you and these people will try and get over on you. Better luck next time papa. On a personal level, I still love painting alot. As far as graffiti as a whole. I am glad to see their are graffiti artists blowing up and fetching a lot of money for their artwork. Even if it is the kind of work any halfway decent artist can do.
FC: What do you think about European graffiti?
Eaz: Europe seems to have been way more accepting of this artform. There are European paint companies sprouting up targeting graffiti artists specifically. Meanwhile you have krylon and rustoleum changing their spout system, maybe to try and deter graffiti writers from using/stealing their paint here in the US? In my eyes Europe has always innovated and advanced the culture. For example when Loomit came to New York and started the "no outline movement". I definitely recognize that!
FC: What do you think about "street art"?
Eaz: I love it when it is done right. There are a few people I have seen do it that are extremely talented and gave great design skills to help it along.
FC: How do you see graffiti in 10 years?
Eaz: Hopefully evolved and more accepted. Time will tell.
FC: What would be the ultimate acknowledgment?
Get paid to run a character icon concept into the ground and get $250,000 per painting doing it! hahahahaha. Eh, that will never happen. I feel like an outcast in general so I doubt I will be hob-nobbing with the gallery/event elitists any time soon. I generally don't like people enough to do that I think. I don't feel like I should kiss someone's ass to get a showing or to get flown to an event. If you don't think I am good enough or I don't kiss your ass, fuuuuuuck you and you can keep the acknowledgement!
FC: Do you practice other forms of art?
Eaz: I have done a few canvases and sculptures. Not really my thing to be honest, although I believe I am ok at it. Canvases take too long I feel. I prefer walls instead. That's where I truly get my rocks off. I do really like black book work a bunch though.
FC : Your favorite time for graffiti?
Eaz: Legal? Early like 9ish if possible, it allows a full day of painting. Anything else? Very late!! ;)
FC : Do you do commissioned pieces?
Yes, I do on occasion. I got flown a few years ago to Texas and did a commission wall for Goya. I have done custom canvases for people as well.
FC: Describe a typical day for Eaz.
Eaz: Get up and make some coffee with stevia. Check emails. Fill orders. Make some food. Depending on what kind of freelance work I have going on, I bang it out. While the computer is rendering or whatever, I sketch and draw. Try and straighten up the crib. Hit the gym. Eat again. Sketch some more. Then sleep. All the while formulating in my head my next wall or project. It never ends.
FC: With who would you like to paint?
Eaz: Anyone that is cool and good and actually cares enough to make the wall look good is cool in my book.
FC: What's coming up in the next few months?
Eaz: Besides the "Wild Style Lettering" DVD nothing much. A lot of transition and pursuit of different things I have brewing. I am starting production on the 3rd DVD (Title Unknown) in late January. I am not sleeping. I felt like I let way too much time pass before dedicating energy on the second DVD. But in a way I am glad I did that. It gave people a chance to digest it and take in what they wanted to. I'm going to paint a few walls I have been plotting on doing. Stay tuned for all that on myspace El Digital2 . I keep the myspace page most current.
FC: What are your real goals?
Eaz: Mine are fairly simple. To have a piece of land and real space to call my own. I believe every artist needs it. Peace, tranquility and constant creative flow will all derive from that. I want to be able to create big at any given time. Metal, wood, canvas and anything I can get my hands on. Land to be able to build one big box, like an airplane hangar. If I get any one of those things within the next few years I will be closer to that goal.
FC: Anything you would like to add?
Eaz: Keep graffiti wild style alive. Characters, bombing and signatures are cute and everything but it seems anyone that is remotely artistically inclined can pick up a can and do that. It takes thinking, drive, dedication, letter style, technique, can control, talent, color theory and hustle to make all that I do happen. That goes for anyone that stands out in your head, not just me. Pick your favorite writer or artist, odds are he has many of these qualities. The point I am trying to make is, make sure you put in work because that is the only way you will get better and get the exposure you want to shine and have the world see your work. Fuck the haters and keep it moving forward regardless of who or what is in your way.
Thanks to FatCap.com for allowing me to share my thoughts. Big up!
Thank you Eaz!