The importance of tradition and of graffiti history in a city like New York can be overwhelming. You can feel it in books and the hundreds of instagram accounts. The old school laid down the foundations for what this game would be like in the decades to come.
But everything evolves and some of the writers who came after them have already been carrying their names for two decades.
Hoacs has been painting for 20 years, and that’s been enough time to carve himself out a place for himself in his city, within the country and to become known all over the world. We had the opportunity to talk to him and ask him a series of questions to try to get into this writer’s way of seeing.
-What neighbourhood in NYC are you from? Could you describe it a little?
I am from Queens, New York. Queens is the most ethnically diverse county in the world so I grew up with an array of people. Queens is a lower middle class hard working area where having both street smarts and book smarts was important.
-What do you do for a living? Is it related at all to graffiti?
I am a Union trades man. My job is unrelated to graffiti or any type of art form.
-When did you start painting and what motivated you do so?
I began painting in 1998 and my motivation was simple; seeing my name up as much as possible.
-Is it different from what motivates you now?
Yes & No. I still want my name up as much as possible but the quality of what I am painting now has more importance than ever. Always trying to outdo myself is a part of my main motivation.
”At this point there are so many people living in New York who aren’t form New York, so there’s no longer a ‘New York style’.”
-What is the best and worst thing about being a New York wildstyle writer?
Being from New York is tough because there is so much competition. Graffiti is everywhere, from tags to throw ups to pieces, but like they say ‘if you can make it in New York you can make it anywhere’.
-What role does New York graffiti tradition play in your style?
Growing up in New York graffiti was all about legibility and being able to read what someone wrote, so my pieces are essentially the evolution from straight letters into pieces.
My influences come from many places. Originally, from classic New York Bronx style graffiti, and eventually into the complexity of west coast wild styles and now with the internet, from people all over the world who are constantly pushing the limit.
-What do you think about the classic “vintage” wildstyle that many writers do in Europe?
I am a fan of graffiti in general whatever style that is, however, there’s always something to say about a writer who has a true style.
-And what about ignorant style?
I think that there’s always something to say about quality and regardless of the style, if there’s quality in it. It speaks for itself and if there’s no quality in it that is obvious too. I will never understand the point of making something shit just because.
“Graffiti is everywhere, from tags to throw ups to pieces, but like they say ‘if you can make it in New York you can make it anywhere’.“
-In Europe many graffiti scenes have an inferiority complex in regards to New York writers. What’s your thoughts on this?
I understand that New York put graffiti on the map especially for Europeans who viewed NY as the epicentre of graffiti and hip hop but I also think that the Europeans have pushed the graffiti scene so much that to some degree they have surpassed New York. I feel like I see many more young writers coming out of Europe than I do in New York City. Maybe it is because of the lack of love or maybe its because of the penalties of the crimes getting crazy, but I do notice it.
-Do you think there is currently a New York style?
At this point there are so many people living in New York who aren’t form New York, so there’s no longer a ‘New York style’.
-What about an American style?
-And a European style?
-What role does vandal graffiti play within your activity?
Vandalism was the only role for most of my life. Penalties in New York are so harsh that it has pushed me back from doing illegal graffiti and more legal murals. However, when I travel, it’s on!
-You’ve painted trains on both sides of the Atlantic. What differences did you notice?
That the other side of the Atlantic is like heaven. The risks of painting subways in Europe seem much lower than in New York. Being charged with terrorism starts to turn people away from painting here. Painting trains in Europe is much more doable and to me a lot more fun.
–Tell us some writers who you like but don’t personally know. With which ones would you like to paint?
That is a difficult question because I am lucky enough to have painted with many of my favourite writers/inspirations but some people who I’m always looking at are, Soten, Geser, Kem5, Sen2 & Musa71. They are constantly putting out the dopest work in the game.
-If you didn’t live in New York, where would you like to live? Why?
Good question, maybe in the mid west with a freight yard in my back yard, that seems like heaven to me.
-Tell us a winning color combination.
Blue fill, Green 3D, black outline with a pink background, will never fail you.
-A dish, a film, a music group.
Pizza Emoji, Reservoir Dogs, Gang Starr.
To win the lottery so I can paint graffiti around the world full time, now that would be amazing.