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NY Times- BG183 Article

Discussion in 'Third Rail' started by Dik Upinia, Mar 28, 2004.

  1. Dik Upinia

    Dik Upinia Junior Member

    Joined: Sep 1, 2003 Messages: 172 Likes Received: 0
    'I Wanted My Name to Travel Everywhere'
    By BG183

    Published: March 28, 2004

    BG183, known more formally as Sotero Ortiz, painted graffiti on hundreds of subway cars in the 1980's. He stopped in 1986 and now works commercially.

    THE first time was like, "Yo, man, I'm crazy or something! I'm painting a train!'' It was a rush, doing something illegal. But then you're disappointed because you don't see your name on a moving train. You had to do a lot of damage before you saw your name.

    There were so many trains it took me almost two months before I saw my name, and I was painting 50 to 100 cars a day, painting BG, BG, BG, over and over again. I wanted my name to travel everywhere, for everyone to see it. So I painted, first in black. Then I filled the letters with colors. After a few months, people started asking me: "Are you BG? Man, you're doing a lot of destruction!'' I was proud. I got respect.

    We were painting together, calling ourselves the TATS Cru, for Top Artists Talents. From one end to the other, the train became one big graffiti. In the TATS Cru were Bio, Nicer, Cem2, Kenn, Mack, Brim, Raz and myself. We did so much damage, we were in the M.T.A.'s 10 most wanted.

    In the beginning we hit the trains that were close to the Bronx, the number trains. Then we discovered the ghost yard up in Manhattan where trains went for repair. All the trains were there, including the letter trains. We snuck in through the back and painted all day. A train might wait a week before it got repaired, so we had time. We could hit 200 trains a day. We took turns to look out for officials or other graffiti artists who might paint over us.

    Sometimes we ran because a repairman saw us; we'd hide for a while, then return. Or we fought with the other graffiti guys, stealing their paint and their sneakers. We had policemen yell, "Stop or I'll shoot,'' which makes you run even faster. We never got caught.

    At the ghost yard we explored new styles, and we also painted characters. I started to be called BG 183 because I had 183 different styles. We did a lot of exploring, like real artists. Graffiti is about how you take a B and change it so much it doesn't look like a B but it's still shaped like a B. Then it's the colors, and the control of the spray can. I was able not to drip, to fill the letters right, to mix colors so people would say, "Wow, that's incredible.''

    Now the TATS Cru does all legal work and we make a living. Today everybody uses graffiti style, from DKNY to Adidas to Versace. If not for the M.T.A. I'd probably be in jail or on drugs. Painting trains helped me find myself as a person, as an artist. I'm all about graffiti. It's my life.

    As told to Franklin Servan-Schreiber
    :king: :king: :king:
  2. Overtime

    Overtime Dirty Dozen Crew

    Joined: Apr 22, 2003 Messages: 13,989 Likes Received: 313
    [color=666666]nice article[/color]
  3. mikro137

    mikro137 Guest

    that article was really shallow... and really. dumbed down.

  4. Kr430n5_666

    Kr430n5_666 Banned

    Joined: Oct 6, 2004 Messages: 19,229 Likes Received: 30