ASHE/ASHER INTERVIEW

We were trying to get this out in 2018 but so much had happened we didn’t have the time it takes to put out a good quality interview. What I wanted from ASHER was yo put down some schooling for the next generation and without asking him to, he did full-fill the knowledge of an OG. Most of these new writers have no directions no morals no can control hey need a figure like ASHER to look up to so show them the way. It’s not his job to school kids so take this interview as a gift. ASHER is a very busy dude so for him to poor is soul out in this interview I give him much respect for taking his own time to do this and no I didn’t him this as on his time. His gift to the graffiti  culture. and here it is.

ADYORISM

1. How long have you been writing, how did you get your name?

I write ASHE/ASHER Downtown Angeles California. I started tagging in the early 90’s as a teenager growing up in Arizona. I have been consistently painting I am a bomber so I ONLY paint illegal graffiti. If you’re familiar with my work at all, I typically paint Main Street top to bottom black fill white outline, block style lettering, more often than not . Where most people are scared to catch tags I paint in broad daylight. I release myself from Fear a long time ago. Nobody wants to go to jail that’s would just be stupid. But since I’m not scared anymore you got me confused for someone who gives a SHIT

2. Do you rep any crews or are you a solo writer.
I don’t rep any Crews whatsoever. I stand tall all By Myself. A lot less problems this way.
3. Over the past 10-20 years how have you seen the evolution of the graffiti? Has the internet played a roll if any in the transformation of the internet.
10 or 20 years ago when I was coming up in the streets as a bomber things were a lot different in graffiti without a doubt! There was no form of social media at the time whatsoever. If you wrote graffiti back then you are a part of something that you can never get back or recreate. “There was a certain mystique and being anonymous was primero. You didn’t want people to know who you were!  You damn sure didn’t want people to recognize your face ” , an associate that with the name that you were tagging in the streets. It was like some superhero type shit. You would go out at night time and do what you do as a vandal on the street , and then in the daytime you were back to being a normal person. That was the whole lure to it is that it was underground , and if you want a part of it you didn’t know pretty much anything about it except for what you saw on the wall.
4. If you could tell the next generation only two keys of advice what would those two important keys be? 
1-If I can the Next Generation anything it would be to study your lettering ! Practice your lettering everyday,The fundamental application of lettering is something that cannot be faked or duplicated. With so much Freedom of Information on the internet people just screenshot and bite other people Styles.
2-And secondly,is to do you! “Don’t let social media, your friends, or anybody else dictate what you do as far as graffiti is concerned.” If you want to do characters instead of letters, go for it! If you want to bomb instead of piece, go for it! If you want to tag with dollar cans instead of Montana’s go for it! But Above All Else most importantly, is 2 practice your tags and hand Style! That’s the most quintessential part of graffiti is your signature and practice that everyday all the time if you really want it to not be wack. Just do it over and over and over on everything and before you know it it’ll show progress.

5. What’s you favorite aspect of graffiti if you could choose just one! Would it be bombing, illegal pieces, legal pieces, crew wall murals, trains, freeways, street walls, box trucks, infiltration of buildings, solo wall street side pieces or all city tags and throws. But you gotta only pick one.

For me my favorite part about graffiti has to be without a shadow of a doubt Street bombing! That Main Street, in your face, top to bottom(no floaters EVER!)

ASHER
6. How does tattooing connect with graffiti lifestyle. Over the past 10 years tattoo artist and Graff artist have evolved into this hybrid or writer that not does both. Do you like that graffiti style lettering has found its way into the tattoo scene or do you wish they had never merged at all.

 When I first started tattooing there wasn’t too many people that were doing graffiti and tattooing both. I started tattooing and early 2000. There were a few that really stand out though. Paco Excel grime and Mike giant for sure.

But over the past 10 years what I noticed is that it’s become a fad if not a cliche to do graffiti in tattoos both. It’s as if you do graffiti and you realize you can’t get a real job so I’m just going to tattoo now. Some don’t take it seriously never done a traditional apprenticeship . While others fall into the stereotypes of becoming a traditional tattooer and leaving the graffiti lifestyle all together. But once again there are a select few a handful that do both in have merge them very well. Those are the trendsetters in tattooing right now,in my opinion. We’re taking what would you do sleep be considered graffiti style lettering with 3DS and negative space and things of that nature and merging it with the tattoo lettering now and is just seeing such an explosion worldwide that everybody is copying it so that aspect of it I really like that we contribute to that and I feel definitely a part of that for sure.
Now things like neighborhood handstyles or what people would consider cholo style lettering. I do here in Los Angeles that learned from the streets of Los Angeles coming from neighborhoods in Southern California. I see people copying those same sacred markings or Tags in different countries and things of that nature is just something that I guess happens with the internet but it’s still odd to me to see other people my exact block lettering for example. doing something that’s so native to Los Angeles. But the thing of it is you have to also consider that Los Angeles California just a name in itself is a brand. So people from around the world look here for the stomping grounds to bite style and I understand that. And it’s something that I’m proud to be able to represent. Because authenticity is something that can’t be faked or duplicated.
7. Family and graffiti. The greatest juggle of all time. If your a family man how does your Graff/tatt lifestyle interfere if at all with your regular life. (If the question doesn’t apply to you use a friend you know as your example, if not we can cut this question)

The hardest question to answer so far definitely is how do you manage family life and graph life and tattooing? You know somebody asked me early on in my career how do you find balance? Is essentially the question that eludes us all. Especially me being a family man with children and growing up as a young artist their tattooer was very challenging but then you throw graffiti into the mix and you’re going to get divorced yo! Ultimately tragically that’s what happened to me.

Because if you’re at work all day and then the streets all night then when are you at home when are you with the family when you’re spending time with your girl. And that’s the thing every girl in the world wants is attention that’s quintessential for every relationship but how much attention is she getting if you were slave to the needle 10 to 15 even 18 hour at the tattoo shop sometimes and then go out painting at night. Even if it’s just on the weekends those times are considered valuable to a girl. So I’m definitely not the best person to ask because I was never able to achieve balance unfortunately I lost everything that I had work for that regard family-wise which is I think common unfortunately with Graffiti Writers and tattooers alike. This is a very challenging lifestyle when you have a family.
8. If you could go back any year/generation to paint what year would that be, why that year and who would you paint with?
If I could go back to any year to be painting I think it’d be in the early 90s and Los Angeles California. Unfortunately I’m state raised so I was in prison during that time unfortunately. I didn’t get to see the streets or the action like that majority of most writers coming up. But the one thing that separates me I think is that even though I might have started later in my career ultimately I’m still doing it on a regular basis well into my 40s. Which is extremely rare in graffiti. The average lifespan for a writer I think is probably between 13 or 14/2 maybe early twenties. And then what happens if they get a job then go to jail or they have a kid they get arrested there priorities change. 
Possibly even in San Francisco and the bay same time era and definitely Mike giant for sure and all the guys out there that were killing it. Guys like dream and tie for sure.
9. Before going out on a nights mission do you use any substance to increase your bombing powers and take away the fear.( for lack of dry snitching say the word “swim” IE drinking or “swing” does this before bombing…

When I go painting typically I always smoke some herb for sure before during and after painting and it depends as far as anything else I would just say maybe drinking sometimes but not always. I don’t have to have anyting to feel good or to go painting but feeling good damn sure doesn’t hurt your creative process.

I know some people personally need liquid courage to go painting or get super faded and then just start writing and tagging on every damn thing which is pretty funny to watch but then you see your stuff later and it’s so sloppy and shitty looking it is pretty funny.
 But for me I tried to corporate into graffiti into my everyday life in some aspect. Of the game. If I can’t go bombing then you could catch some tags with some scribes. It’s not that hard to do some slaps or something as long as you’re doing one aspect of the game to me I feel like you’re being consistent you know is what’s important to me is longevity in the game and that’s how I do it.  by being relevant and active.
10. In the late 90’s early 00’s before Instagram graff was going down almost like and economic recession. Did you ride the wave or did you stand your ground through those dark graffiti times. There was like only 3 Graff mags back then. 12oz prophet and ArtCrimes were the only online sites to view graffiti and back then if you told girls you were a writer they would curb yo ass, unlike today when your at a party and girls fine out you write they flock you like a loose McDonald’s French fry.

I was state raised so I wasn’t active during the dark times in graffiti because I was incarcerated at the time unfortunately.

 But before that I definitely remember how scarce that it was to get graffiti material anywhere. In the things that you do come across were very poor quality for sure. But I really enjoyed  the bootleg aspect of the game and especially the small magazines and stuff. A pop-up quarterly magazine the people that were doing them were real writers and we’re doing them with passion and you could tell but just didn’t have the income to keep it going.
11. Harsh honesty time what excites you the most; tattooing or graffiti?

This is an easy one for me I don’t have to think twice about it. Graffiti for me excites me way more than tattooing.! The reason why to me is even though I enjoy some aspects of tattooing it’s a service that you’re providing for somebody for compensation or Financial gain. Graffiti though doesn’t pay me anything. And it’s exciting in the aspect of I get to do what I want where I want when I want the color that I want the size that I want and that’s the artistic Freedom that tattooing doesn’t normally allow. And if it it does happen to do that when you reach a certain caliber of tattooer in your career and get a clientele that will allow you to do the things that you want every day and someone actually pay you for your particular kind of tattooing Styles extremely rare.

 Not to mention anybody can pick up a tattoo machine and make scars good or bad, but to go out and risk your life and your freedom to do graffiti in Los Angeles California is something that to me is authentic about who I really am as a writer and Separates Me from the actual tattooer who talks about it but occasionally go out and paint afraid once or twice a year on the weekend with the coupler friends and post that shitt on Instagram like they’re really down down-ass Graffiti Writers.
12. What was your main deciding factor that caused you to give up the 9-5 and become a writer/tattoo artist? What do your family and parents think about your decision.

When I was really young I was working at UPS I had a pretty good job and I was getting heavily tattooed when I got out of prison at this particular shop. They offered me an apprenticeship there and I had never really considered tattooing up until that point. And the more and more I thought about it I figured if I don’t monopolize on this opportunity how many chances am I going to have my lifetime like this?

 So I did a traditional apprenticeship under old school tattooers that taught me everything from building machines making my own needles and pigment from scratch drawing your own hand painted flash. I was extremely blessed to get in on that very end of an era and learn the right way from old school traditionall tattooers that had pride in what they did and considered tattooing a sacred art. There is a certain secretive aspect and Mystique about it that was very different than today. And you had to go to like the Seedy part of town and get tattooed by mean biker guys or from Shady cholo style gangsters that just got out of jail with homemade equipment you know it was a lot different back then
The one thing that those old-school guys really did not like was getting your hands neck or face tattooed. To them that was something that you did if you were in the circus. They didn’t like that the younger generation was starting to get those areas of the body tattooed. Now and my generation has a tattoo that’s something that the first thing people do now is kids get their hands neck and face tattoo and they have nothing else on entire body !!!
it’s shocking to me to see how ridiculous of fad that at that has become. I think I was fortunate that my family is proud of me as an artist considering that I was able to raise a family with my art as tattooer.
13. Have you ever had a tattoo client ask for the most ridiculous tattoo and you tried to talk them out but they  insisted on it and you had to tattoo it on them?
The thing of it is he didn’t know what he wanted when he actually came down to actually getting the tattoo. So I’m all set up I’m ready and he can’t figure out what he wants he ends up deciding after getting into an argument with his girlfriend that he wants the word fuk love across his face!!! Starting at his eye going all the way to his ear!!!(TERRIBLE placement)I try to talk him out of it I tell him this is definitely not a good idea I don’t want to do it and he had already prepaid me for the tattoo and he was trying to give me more money and I told him it wasn’t the money aspect even though I did take the money. It was just that I think he should really reconsider because he’s not always going to feel like that and he’s got to always walk around like that with that on his face. So we end up tattooing the word FUCK!!!. That’s it!!! just Fuck. And it was not good at all!! 
he was moving really bad and shaking the entire time while I was doing it he couldn’t sit still for anything it was like off-road tattoo I couldn’t believe it that he had ever been tattoo before. I could have cleaned it up and made it look a lot better but he tapped out.!!!  I couldn’t believe it!!! After all that talk!! so this guy is walking around Pamona California with the word FUCK  big as hell on his damn face (and it sucks!!BAS D)HE Looks really stupid. But I don’t feel bad because he was a total fuckboi!
14.  When you were s kid did you in s million years think this was what you were going to grow up to be?
  Absolutely not. I was a young happy kids at who was infatuated with skateboarding. I never thought I would grow up to be a prolific graph writer and tattoo artists in downtown LA
(15-20 is a SPEED ROUND  the questions are short and just give a one word answer. )
15. Lil Pump or Biggie Small “B.I.G.’
 Tupac (west west)
16. Face tats or nipple ring?
Authentic traditional Warrior style facial tattoos
17. LA or NY?
 LA #ALLDAY
18. Big booty, lil booty?
  BIGG booty, no attitude 
19. Krylon / Amer Accents or Foreign Paint ex: IronLak, Belton, Hardcore? Basically foreign or domestic?
 Dollar black fill, Rustoleum White outline favorite combo.
20. Where do you see graffiti in 20 years. Ex; the art fags take over, Toy graffiti is the new trend, We all start wearing baggy Ben Davis jeans again? Transgender Graff artist. The new generation uses nothing but projectors, tape and cutting boards. What’s your vision of days to come?
I think Graffiti is going to keep progressing and becoming more mainstream like skateboarding did unfortunately. 
But at the same time there’s always going to be the hardcore real writers in the streets and in the gutters and alleys in the trenches like myself cuz even though I’m not the biggest and the baddest, I’M DAMN SURE THE roughest and toughest!! poco’s Perros Locos
No Title

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *