How I Became a Graffiti Writer

Most of us have origin stories. Those stories of where our hobbies came from or how it became a job we love to do. Here’s my story.

It all started when I lived in California. I would always gravitate towards graffiti written on buildings and walls, looking at all the colors, letters and lighting. I was so enamored by this and how it got onto that wall and why. Not too long after that, I saw this movie called “Breakin.” It came out in the 1980s. Look it up. It’s pretty corny but it has become a cult classic. In the movie, you learn the four elements of hip-hop: deejaying, rapping, graffiti and breakdancing. This is the first place I saw somebody using spray paint that wasn’t in the dark. I could see what was going on and from there I was completely immersed and intrigued by the process.

From here, I started to draw and learned that I could draw characters and fun stuff, seeing what I could do. Even though graffiti was on the back burner at this point, it was still there in a way, growing as I was finding out. Once I moved to St Louis, I was older and saw the graffiti all over downtown. I became immersed into it again and wanted to try some new stuff.

By the time I hit middle school, I was ready to learn how to draw letters and make them funky like graffiti writers do. I wanted to write graffiti the same way as what I saw on the walls in St Louis. I practiced drawing my name and other people’s names in bubble letters, which was the inception of learning how to write graffiti, essentially. Of course, I was doing this for fun and learning my craft, trying to develop my own style. By the end of middle school, I was ready to go out and hit walls, but it is nerve-wracking at the same time.

During my sophomore year of high school, I met my graffiti mentor. I learned my craft and the structure of graffiti from a real graffiti writer. It was one of the best things that ever happened to me. I met more people who became good friends. We started to write graffiti for the first time using stock cans and finding walls to hit. Later on, we discovered a graffiti yard where we could practice. From there, we all found our way. Over 20 years later, we’re still doing our craft and learning all the time and loving every second of it.

It just goes to show that something you love doesn’t have to be a job. It can be your lifestyle.