7th Boro Writer Spotlight : Seekz
This week we continue our writer spotlight with Canadian graff/tattoo artist Seekz. I had a chance to speak with him about his art, hip-hop and tattoos. Dude is a really down to earth and funny guy. Check it out!
Scy: What name do you tag under?
Seekz: I write under Seekz One aka Typos, Types, Crews Tbv, Tio
Scy: Tell us how you got into graffiti.
Seekz: I started graffiti around 94, I was 14 and a hoodrat skate kid with a lot of freedom, hanging out late downtown, drinking 40s n getting into trouble and some of the older cats. I was skating with a crew, one dude in particular inspired me to write and I would normally throw some shine his way but since then he’s acted like an entitled princess so he can eat a dick sammich, that’s a lesson for all you egomaniacs on how to treat other people!!! But anyway I was at a party and he left a magazine laying on a couch and I started thumbing thru it, I had always been into art but it was more like comics Ninja Turtles n Terminator n shit, I opened this magazine and saw these huge murals that blew my fucking mind. These guys were painting all this nasty ass stuff with no filter, it was violent, evil, and angry, but so fresh just oozing with personality and style, right there I knew this was all I wanted to do.
Scy: That’s dope that you can trace it all back to one moment. Graffiti is one of the main elements in hip-hop. What was your first experience with the culture? Do you think the two go hand in hand?
Seekz: Ha-ha Kinda funny but the first Hip hop tape I played over and over was DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince, He’s The DJ, I’m The Rapper. I had to have been 9 or 10 years old but I remember cause me and the homie Rodney used to practice the raps and try to breakdance, Rod was an early bloomer and had a moustache and could dunk a basketball at like 11. He also was a dope dancer and girls were all over us so we ran that! Dancing with him and rapping was my first experience. Hahahaha later we were into ABC, BBD n that whole new jack swing stuff. I didn’t start to love raw hip hop till Rodney’s cousin was hanging him out a 2 story window and calling us bitches because we were dancing, he told us about 2 Live Crew and Criminal Minded. That shit blew my mind…. I know its older than all that stuff I just mentioned but I didn’t know any of it existed because I’m in Canada there was no internet you needed a giant satellite to even watch Yo MTV Raps. The stores in my city didn’t carry much hip hop. I think when Body Count dropped in like 92 was when I first saw my city flooded with commercial hip hop. Once I started high school lots of the heads I skated with did various parts of the culture. I took to graff naturally but I loved rhyming and spinning too. I missed out on the first generation of hip hop Grandmaster Flash, Sugarhill Gang, Kurtis Blow, Whodini, etc., and I went back and listened to it all but I’m glad I started in the golden era, Casual, Souls of Mischief, de la Soul, Duck Down, Jeru, Big L, Nas, Wu Tang, I loved it all. My homie DJ Subtitle had tecs and a gemini mixer we would all chill at his crib and destroy his Group Home Living Proof records for hours. Ha-ha man those fucking records took a beating, I remember them being so burnt out that the static was as loud as the song ha-ha. I was too broke to afford equipment so rhyming and stealing paint was easier. Sorry I went on a memory lane tour there but to answer your question I have always done style writing as an extension of hip hop, to me they are one and the same and I like it that way.
Scy: Nah that was a good trip ha-ha. So what inspires you to create a new piece?
Seekz: My inspiration for creating a new piece these days is personal growth, I go out and paint now for meditational purposes, it takes me into a headspace that I’m comfortable in. and the rest of the world just goes away. I love 70s art! Barbarians and monsters, savage ass creatures from another world and all that typa shit. I love Frank Frazetta, and Crumb, and weird stoner rock n roll album covers that were over the top. I remember that Meatloaf album Bat Outta Hell looked so ill! Then when I played the record I was like WTF! That’s false advertising! Ha-ha I grew up looking at that shit and thinking it was so fresh and still do. I respected when people used to hire painters instead of using Photoshop for shitty pictures of themselves on albums.
Scy: Yeah I can appreciate real artists and photographers. There is a lane for the Photoshop digital stuff but nothing beats that raw art. What are your favorite tools when working?
Seekz: My favorite tools are simple…my fatcap…spray can…. I sometimes fuck with German skinny caps but really it’s all a fuckin scam to remove money from lil kids pockets, they come up with a thousand stupid marketing gimmicks for bullshit. Art students and hipster soccer moms every year and I could care less it’s still just paint shooting out of a can. I use all kinds of paint whatever I can get, but my favorite is Belton and Montana for walls, Rusto on trains everything has a use, I love thin runny paints for doing transparent shading, and stock caps on rust for that raw ass heavy metal look, my man Rukis put me onto that. That’s my dude “WHADDAP! RUKIS TIO! ETC!”
Scy: How do you think the art has progressed from when you first started?
Seekz: I’d say the internet changed things quite a bit, and all the cameras everywhere, but artistically I really don’t think it’s progressed at all. I still think 90s heads were killing it nicer than today, sure everything is shinier and cleaner today but who cares, everyone is an art school major and uses graff as a way to look edgy. Doesn’t make it dope, just makes it milktoast, like everything else in society and also these days every-fucking body and they dog and grandma and second cousin is a writer. Everyone is just biting everyone else, like some dude becomes famous for a style before the guy he bit it off does. Shits all fucked up, also it used to be bad to steal other people’s style now it’s cool to do the same shit as everyone else, maybe that’s that old-school hip hop in me but I hate todays homogenized limp-dick attitude. We used to be proud, creative, forward thinking and independent. Now we are just mediocre mumbling yoloers waiting for some famous asshole to die so we can paint a memorial portrait and post it. A buncha cherry picking asshats scared to have an opinion just in case it offends someone you hate anyway! So that’s my 2 cents. Please take it personal….
Scy: I think that some people might! But hey I just ask the questions I’m not responsible for the answers. (ha-ha) But back to the art. What was the craziest thing you’ve ever done to tag something?
Seekz: Wow the craziest thing I’ve done for graff is a long sad list ha-ha. I gotta give a shout to my homie Kamit for that one time the cops had us surrounded and we almost fell off a cliff to our death!!Or that time we were on the reservation and these dudes started shooting at us. Or that time we were bombing all drunk and that crowd of Japanese tourists started taking pictures of us ha-ha. Or the time we snuck paint in that club and they searched me and the paint fell out of my leg and we picked it up on the other side of the rope. We tagged up the inside of that club and the bouncers were lookin for us going apeshit and he kept painting ha-ha!! Love you man!! But one of my favorite stories was one time I was on a rooftop downtown painting a throwie when someone yells at me from across the rooftop, I panicked, my golden rule is when you get spotted you fuckin run!! So I start running down the fire escape the last level is a spring loaded staircase and I jumped on it to ride it down, when it hit the ground it bucked me n I fell n rolled in the alley. I got up to brush myself off and there was this security guard squaring off with me” he’s blocking my exit so I just started running at him, I’m a big guy 6’4 245 pounds’ n this guy is a small dude like 5 foot nothing I faked him n tried to get past but he grabs on to me around the waist and I’m just running like “fuck man! Is this really happening??!” ha-ha I dragged him for what felt like a block and he just would not let go so I started prying his hands apart and finally he fell off me n I skated, but I couldn’t stop laughing about it cause dude had so much heart and hung on it must looked ridiculous to all the people waiting for the bus, like he was tryna get 8 seconds ha-ha and then just gave up after working so hard ha-ha… It’s a stupid story but funny as hell to me.
Scy: I am cracking up! Great stories but yeah the security guard one? That is hilarious. Poor guy. I just got the visual!
What was your favorite piece that you’ve done?
Seekz: One of my favorite pieces that I’ve done was a Ghostrider wall (not pictured) with the homie Kamit, it was the first wall that we did after a long hiatus and I was doing well with my art and had a lot of paint and could finally give back to my friend who over the years had funded our walls more than once when I was broke it felt good to not worry about how much paint we used and the wall came off nice.
Scy: No doubt. I feel you on that. With graffiti spreading globally is there anywhere in the world you’d like to leave your mark as an artist?
Seekz: I’d like to go to the mecca NY and New Jersey because I have some great friends over there, Grimlok! Troglydites! Nite Boogie whaddap! Phil G Whaddap, Paco Whaddap! And all The homies over at FTSR radio keeping real hip hop alive! Boston! Gage Whaddap! Germany Apieron and Kinetic Whaddap! and Spain, and also Australia I feel like a lot of the artists over there have shown me love over the years and they are really keeping the hip hop culture alive and respecting it properly.
Scy: I agree. I feel like globally hip-hop and it’s elements have been blowing up, maybe on an even larger scale than here at home. That’s a beautiful thing.
You’re a dope tattoo artist now. Was that a natural transition?
Seekz: Tattooing has been a love hate for me a lot like graffiti. They are lot alike in many ways, I slid into it naturally being a family man I needed a way to make money and all I know is art. I used to work in kitchens and construction but that shit was soul sucking taking flak from some asshole who takes a shitty job too seriously. That shit was gonna land me in jail with an assault charge. It was just the right way to go, I love the art and respect the people who love it also, there is so many phenomenal artists out there doing mind blowing things and I’m just happy to be a part of it, I’m blessed to have the few in my life to share the journey with.
Scy: I’ve seen your work. Pretty dope. There’s a spot on my leg I’m reserving for you! Any graff pics you would like to share with us?
Scy: Thank you for taking time out to speak with us. Any final words for our readers?
Seekz: Thank you for taking time listening to my bullshit, much love and success to you in the future, peace!