Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Feature 03: Zone WST

Zone WST

I was recently digging through the older versions of the Expresh.com website, and found this Interview from 2006 with Zone WST. He is still doing his thing and making really good work, so here's a repost of the interview and flicks from Expresh.com.

How long have you been painting? how did you get started, and what got you into letters?
I Started doing little marker tags and what not in my neighborhood around 1985 or 1986. I got sparked by the whole Hiphop explosion that occurred on the West coast during this time period. Movies like Beat Street and the original PBS showing of Style Wars were a big factor and influence back then. The B-boy crew I was in at the time was heavy into late night black book sessions after practicing our moves for hours on end in my partner Terock's garage. After the the B-Boy scene kinda dwindled out, I started to get my fix by doing more and more graffiti. I did my first full blown piece in 1988 with guidance from my first graff partner Shock VCR.

Your style is from a distinct school of graffiti. Can you give a description of the style that your'e into, shed some light on terms like Wild Style, Bar, Funk, etc?
Basically, my style is based on a solid foundation of letter structure and flow. First the letters have to physically make sense and second they gotta have flow. Bar style would be a term referring to how a letter is constructed out of solid bars, which when broken down to a raw handstyle or tag would represent the stroke of a marker. To me "Funk" is the flow and style of the letters. The trick is for your piece to have funk and flow and also to physically make sense at the same time. You can't have funk if your style doesn't make sense. Wildstyle is an over-used term in my opinion. Some think that wildstyle is just a piece that is crazy looking and hard to read which can be true in some cases. Anyone can do a piece with a million whips and arrows coming out of nowhere, there's no challenge stylistically to that. It may be difficult to paint but stylistically it's garbage. The real challenge is to do a wildstyle burner that when stripped down to its basic letters can stand on its own. I see a lot of cats today with Ill techniques and crazy can control, but if you took away the special effects, would have a hard time busting a straight letter piece with any type of style to it.

Your influences, old and new writers that you have a lot of respect for.
My Influences are many, first and foremost the NYC pioneers who laid this whole thing down to begin with. Today when kids see my stuff they see NYC but in reality it's just the era and place that I came up in in the late 80's. That's the way we did things. In my part of San Diego it was guys like Sake, Izzy, Scae and Dase that influenced me. San Diego's long-time king Quasar set the standard for us all back then and he was way ahead of his time. I'm still amazed when I go back and look at old flicks of his stuff. In 1990 I was lucky enough to paint with Charlie DTK from LA and he opened my eyes to a lot of things, mostly his skill with putting up a piece without relying on "cutbacks" to make his shit look clean. He could rock a burner in less than an hour and style-wise burn everyone to the left and right of him. He had the skill and balls to outline his letters and not rely on the safety net of cutting with caps that a lot of guys did.
New Writers? Its hard to say, there are a lot of active old guys still holding it down and some who I don't know whether or not they're new or just an old guy on a comeback. Anyway, it goes without saying my favorites I see now are guys like King 157, Zore, Gigs, Revok, Awe2 and out East I would say Cope, T-kid, and Serve are my favorites. I still get hyped whenever I see something done right.

Any last comments?
Yeah, I'd just like to give a shout out to my crews Wild Style Technicians and The Funk Lords.... and remember, there's no substitute for style!

Zone1 WST
Zone | Flickr
Kel Troughton for Expresh.com | February 2006

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