The Fantastic Partner, The King of Swing, SENTO TFP (North Bronx, NYC), is an irreplaceable writer, for various reasons. He has been the one to look up to and follow for dozens of writers around the world. This fine example of a graffiti writer, in capital letters, is an authentic style maestro, versatile, dynamic, a chameleon of the very lettering which always makes him identifiable whether he writes SENT, SENTO, WERD, DAMP, DEPH, RATSO, ERB or TENTH
Always doing something related to graffiti, and always working with dedication, he has shared some of his fine moments alongside writers like CASE2, NEON, CAVS, KEY, GHOST, KET, MILK, KAMI and DELTA during different eras in his life, always representing DAMAGE INC & TFP.
And we’re taking advantage of the opportunity provided by the German publishers, ‘From Here To Fame’, and the launch of SENTO’s bibliograpy by ‘On The Run Books’, to bring him to our Montana Shops in Madrid and Barcelona. The saga continues…
How and when did graffiti come so permanently into your life?
I been drawing since I was in grade school. Graf was everywhere and once I started I never stopped.
Seeing your archive of photography, it really seems like your second piece, on a train (1983), already had such a balanced composition, and a style which was already more or less defined. Did your Art & Design studies in high school help?
Before going to high school I had already done a few things in the hood and was taggin but no doubt high school exposed me to more writers from all over the city. I met some cool people along the way who shared ideas and outlines w/ me.
How was the transition from paper to train, and the adaptation to the use of spray as a tool for drawing?
Paper to train is the truth, if u can’t transition u will never be a style writer just a pretender. You have to paint on the regular to be develop spray control and technique, it takes time.
Which moments in your career as a writer do you remember as being the busiest?
I would say the mid 80’s to mid 90’s were busiest for me.
Could you describe these periods to us?
From 1983 to 1987
Was mostly trains for me and some walls/ rooftops. Lots of sleepless nights painting then catching pictures and all the work in getting enough paint to do what u wanted.
From 1988 to 1995
Was going from the dirty trains to the clean trains. More energy into the freights and walls also. I saw more sense in doing more walls where I could do more detail and it would last longer than on the clean trains.
I also got a kick when people told me they saw my stuff on the freights somewhere in the U.S.
I started travelling to Europe and I got to see all that was happening out there and I really loved the energy people were putting into graf out there.
From 1995 to present day
Was a transitional time for me. I was still painting in the late 90’s but thinking about where my life was heading. So as we approached the new millenium I had to make some life changes so as to have a better future. Painting slowed down as I put the pieces of the puzzle together. I would say the last 5 years have been good for me. I try and live a low stress life and paint when I can and try staying creative. There is always room for improvement so the saga continues….
In terms of style, many writers have followed the influence of other original styles, but how is it in your case? Where does Sento’s influence come from?
I get influence of course from Graf in general but from all types of art such as Surrealism, modern art, commercial art, comics, tattoo, etc.
TFP; how many partners does it have right now? And from how many countries?
I don’t keep count but we have people in many different countries.
Who does the ‘king of swing’ remember as his best ‘dance partner’?
I had a lot of fun painting with Kami.
How many of your graffiti friendships have truly been ‘for always’?
I still have friendships that have lasted over 20 years.
The key is in style evolution, a style which changes constantly, but which remains familiar to the writer… would you say that that’s correct?
I think all writers that have been around for a while have developed a kind of signature style that says “This is me”. Although there are those that are into constant change they would be in the minority because many people stick to whatever flavor they are comfortable with but still has an element of challenge.
When did you begin to introduce characters?
I started doing characters in the mid 80’s and do them whenever the feeling is there and it fits with what I’m doing.
Floralife, Krylon… you’ve painted with all brands of product. How have you seen the technical evolution of these products to be? What is that you most value in them?
I’ve painted w/ many different brands of paint and what I see is that American paint is far behind Europe and other countries when it comes to art spray. Most of what we have here is still mostly for home and industry. The demand is here but the U.S. companies don’t see the potential or just don’t care. I still use Rusto but for pieces it’s hard to get the detail u get with the art sprays.
Trains, top to bottoms, end to ends, whole cars, whole trains, rooftops, playgrounds, handball courts, walls under the bridges, metal shutters… Each subject has its moment, would you agree?
All surfaces are good whenever u can get to them. I’m an equal opportunity offender.
We’ve been told that you restore some of your pieces, so that ‘they last forever’… tell us about that.
If I can get to a piece and keep it alive for as long as possible I will do it. But that’s only in certain spots that I think deserve it like a rooftop or a wall that will last and not get buffed for a long time.
What’s your opinion on the graffiti of nowadays?
Graf nowadays is different I guess because for many people it’s a time issue. Especially for trains. Security is tighter in many places all over the world and more often than not you might have 20 minutes if you’re lucky. That’s why I think a lot of train pieces look simplified. As far as walls I see all kinds of work from super detail art to downright dirty and nasty so I feel good that graf will continue being an artform open to everyone just like it was when I was coming up.
How has the experience been of a writer such as yourself, who by nature is an underground artist but who has traveled to various cities, demonstrating his graffiti, as well as having a book about his life as a writer. Is that an odd thing, to you?
It’s a very odd thing for me to have a book on my life’s work. I usually just do my art and let that speak for me. I value my privacy and don’t like a lot of people in my business. It was cool to go and meet some new people who were dedicated to the game and to see a few new places. It’s good for inspiraion. Ya’ll can keep the spotlight next time I come to visit. All you’ll see will be a cloud of vapors. Piece!!!
What stage are you at with graffiti now? What are your plans?
I paint nowadays because I enjoy it so I don’t make plans. I live life one day at a time and see what it brings.