We’re launching a new section on our site, reserved for the major players in their scene back in the day. In this section, they’ll tell us about their experiences with graffiti and how their day to day life was.
Thanks to Madrid Revolution, we can kick of the whole thing with an important player at the beginning of the Madrid movement; Rubén ASR.
“If I had to define that era, I would do it with the following words: freedom, emotion, rivalry, adventure… from the moment you woke till the moment you slept, you thought of just one thing: PAINTING.”
“Before, to get paint, you had to nick it, you couldn’t go to the store and say, ‘I’ll take three blues, two violets, and one black for outlining…’ You got what you could get your hands on, and with whatever colors you managed to get, you’d do your piece.”
“Those of us that painted the metro discovered it like everyone else during that time. We started as ‘flecheros’ (‘graffiti with arrows’) on the street, remaining that way for a few years until all of a sudden, people started painting on posters in the metro, which meant everyone could see it, and you could get away more quickly. Afterwards, we discovered how to do stylish tags, Nuevos Ministerios, and of course, ‘Style Wars’.”
“At that time, Hip Hop entered into our lives, and it was then that we realized the many possibilities that there were for painting Metro cars. Your tag would travel throughout all of Madrid and all of the writers in the city would see it. It was a new world. Each time you’d take the metro, you’d carry a marker or a can of spray paint to leave your tag. It was an addiction; any free moment you had, which was a lot in those days, haha, you’d catch the metro just to churn out tags. Above all else, I remember the times when you’d hop across the tracks and do as many tags as you could on the trains as the passengers got on and off, always being aware of trains coming in the opposite direction.”
“There were times when you’d throw yourself down on the tracks at the Vista Alegre station to paint, and when the train arrived at Urgel (the next station), the writers at Urgel couldn’t do any tags ‘cos it was already totally saturated with tags from the writers at the previous stations. Keep in mind that at that time there were various groups of writers doing the same thing in a different station…there was so much competition. We weren’t interested in doing pieces, it was all about doing bombs, and the more tags you could get up there and the more quickly you could do it, THE MORE YOUR STUFF WOULD BE SEEN. Once when I was working, during my lunch break, I met with my ex-girlfriend who brought me an omelette sandwich, and everytime a train came I’d put down my food, jump down to the tracks, do as many tags as I could, and then back up again. IT WAS AN ADDICTION.”
“Later on, other groups, like PTV or CZB, began to do more elaborate pieces and that was the start of the boom. Then people didn’t do as many tags, and pieces started to appear on trains. Shit, it was beautiful; it was graffiti that moved! It was a time when so much was produced. (1990, 1991, and 1992).”
“Almost all of the groups that were doing bombs then started to do pieces; PTV, CZB, AST, TMF, SPC, TFV, and us of course; ASR. You’d be sitting at a station and it would be a rare day that you wouldn’t see a piece in circulation. It was a time when New Year’s Eve was always spent in depots…haha. There were groups that just dedicated themselves to painting trains, and others, like us, that did other stuff; music, murals, etc…; but nothing compared to doing trains.”
“In the beginning, we’d get into depots just to do tags, without intending to do pieces. I suppose only us ‘bombers’ would get that feeling. FUCK, I love that word! Even today, there are few things which relax me and let me vent as much as a good tag.”