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the ZEPHYR thread

Discussion in 'Brick Slayers' started by IN FLAMES, May 27, 2004.


    IN FLAMES Member

    Joined: Dec 4, 2002 Messages: 847 Likes Received: 0
    The man Zephyr. This guy gots history and that classic NYC style. If you got em post em....


    "Letter to the editor of The New York Times (unpublished), January 10, 1995:

    On January 8th 1995, The New York Times ran an article entitled "When City Walls Speak". The story, written by Jennifer Bloom, "deciphered the hidden meanings" behind New York's street graffiti. It also followed the exploits of three anti-graffiti housing cops, Officers Cekada, Gonzalez and Ruiz. The Times has run a number of stories about graff over the last couple of years, many of which have been surprisingly fair and even. This story, however, was neither. Full of blatant inaccuracies and mangled theories, it was a sloppy piece of hack journalism bent on demonizing the culture. The following is my response to the article, which The New York Times refused to print:

    To the editor-

    Re: your article "When City Walls Speak" (The New York Times, City Section, Sunday, January 8, 1995. By Jennifer Kingson Bloom).

    So, for about the hundredth time in twenty-five years the police are claiming to have deciphered the messages of New York City graffiti writers. This time their three top police experts are excited to announce they've discovered that we are, for the most part, drug dealers, gang members and murderers.

    Possibly these young officers feel a need to add danger and mystique to their jobs by demonizing the thousands of disenfranchised kids, as well as many full-grown adults, who are putting their mark on the city. This slander campaign fits right in with the current administrations' portrayal of homeless pan handlers as life-threatening thugs. After all, it's the local police who are committed to enforcing the so-called "quality of life" with guns to the head. This is exactly the way two graffiti suspects were arrested in Queens last week-with guns to their heads.

    Meanwhile, I'm sure subway commuters will be happy to know that the quality of their rush-hour commute is assured by The Transit Authority's anti-graffiti policy. One which yanks trains out of service, regardless of the subsequent inconvenience to passengers, if graffiti is discovered on the cars.

    In the articles' glossary, a graffiti crew is defined as a gang. This is an interesting definition for kids with spraycans looking for a little local notoriety or a place to create. The mural, which the article pictured as an example of "gang graffiti," was identified as such because, you allege, a cartoon character is giving "a secret hand signal". You should be informed that the mural was commissioned by McDonald's and was done by the artist "Verse". He is not a gang member, and is unfamiliar with the gang you incorrectly associate him with.

    A word to the police. I don't think your draconian tactics will wipe out graffiti. It also becomes increasingly clear that try as you might, you will never understand what graffiti is saying. Graffiti writers are saying many different things. But then again I suppose we're not talking to you.

    Respectfully yours, Zephyr. New York Graffiti Artist."

    IN FLAMES Member

    Joined: Dec 4, 2002 Messages: 847 Likes Received: 0

    IN FLAMES Member

    Joined: Dec 4, 2002 Messages: 847 Likes Received: 0

    IN FLAMES Member

    Joined: Dec 4, 2002 Messages: 847 Likes Received: 0

    ZEPHYR. "Broader Than Broadway" Interview with Zephyr by Edward Morris

    Zephyr was one of the pioneers of the New York subway graffiti movement from the late 70's to the early 80's. Today he has made a comeback to the scene, and proves himself, once again, a true graffiti legend. The following is an interview with Zephyr, given on his 34th birthday.

    Q: When did you start writing?

    Z: I started writing the name Zephyr in 1977. Before Zephyr I was writing "Kane," but the name most people knew me as was "Sky." I was playing around with graffiti for a few years before I ventured out to the playground to practice my tag on the metal part of the slides.

    Q: How did you get the name "Zephyr?"

    Z: From a brand of skateboards.

    Q: What first got you interested in graffiti?

    Z: Seeing it. Stitch and Snake, the kings of Broadway. The other Snake, Snake 131. All the original writers. Barbara 62, Eva 62, Michelle 62. When I was growing up I rode the trains and saw the graffiti. I have doodles as far back as '72-I was eleven-you can see I'm starting to play around with it. When I started I was doing "motion tags",hitting insides while the train's moving. "Bil-Rock," the writer who started RTW, was really into hitting trains. He was one of the guys who got me into going to the tunnels. Then "Mackie" got me into painting outsides. He really had to drag me, 'cause I wasn't interested in doing pieces. I was a tagger. When I first started piecing I really sucked, so it wasn't much fun. Besides, I figured in the time it took me to do a piece, I could do a lot more insides. Eventually I learned that to consider yourself a real writer you have to do outsides, you have to do insides, you have to do everything.

    Q: Which train lines did you paint?

    Z: I started on the Broadway #1 line. Once I exhausted that, I hit the RR's, the 6's, the 4's. When I hooked up with Dondi in 1980 I started hitting the 2's and 5's.

    Q: Where have you done graffiti outside New York?

    Z: In the '80's I exhibited my graffiti canvases in Holland, France, England, Italy, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland. I also went with Dondi and Futura to Hong Kong in '82 and Japan in '83.

    Q: Was there graffiti in any of those cities when you first went there?

    Z: Hell no. The only place to see "New York style" graffiti back then was in New York.

    Q: What role did your going there influence the development of their "scenes?"

    Z: Everywhere we went the local kids heard about it and showed up. Then they created their own graffiti movements.

    Q: What do you see for the future?

    Z: Personally, I'm going to stay active until it's not fun for me anymore. As for the movement, the answer to that lies in the individuals involved. I just hope writers can rise above all the bullshit. In general, we're going to see more and more of the merger between graffiti and the internet.

    Q: Any parting comments?

    Z: I'd like to tell people to stay political, and never underestimate the importance of what you do. Graffiti is a critically important movement in modern history. Have an open mind to what other artists are doing...If you have respect for yourself, you should respect them too.

    IN FLAMES Member

    Joined: Dec 4, 2002 Messages: 847 Likes Received: 0

    IN FLAMES Member

    Joined: Dec 4, 2002 Messages: 847 Likes Received: 0

    IN FLAMES Member

    Joined: Dec 4, 2002 Messages: 847 Likes Received: 0

    IN FLAMES Member

    Joined: Dec 4, 2002 Messages: 847 Likes Received: 0
    letter by zeph

    Letter to The Village Voice, November 26, 1980:

    In October 1980, Crash curated an exhibit at Fashion Moda called "Graffiti Art Success." I was privileged to be one of the artists in the show. The painting I exhibited featured a big red heart in the middle of the canvas. On the left of the heart was a clean train running straight into the heart. On the right side of the heart a train covered with graffiti was exiting.

    The show was reviewed in The Village Voice by Elizabeth Hess, who described my painting in her article. The following week this letter was received and printed by The Voice:

    Dear Editor,

    Elizabeth Hess made a reference to a "painting" of a heart splitting a subway car in half-half clean and half dirty ("Take the A Train," Voice, November 12, 1980). That was done by Zephyr who (you claim) gets devious enjoyment from this. I am a T.A. car maintenance employee. My men and I have a big red pipe and we're ready to split Zephyr's head open (and anyone else). We are goddamn tired of burning ourselves with chemicals because of wanton vandalism, and until The Village Voice and others realize this and stop treating these two-bit assholes like heroes, this will never cease.

    -Name Withheld, The Bronx

    Wow! Although I never did find out if the letter was authentic or not, I felt it was so outrageous I had to respond. The line "wanton vandalism" didn't really sound like the writing of a car maintenance employee, but I figured I'd assume it was legit, and respond accordingly. The following is my reply, as it appeared on The Village Voice letters page on November 26th, 1980:

    Dear Editor,

    I wish that after trying unsuccessfully to combat dense subway graffiti for all these years, the Transit Authority would realize that the graffiti cannot be stopped, but only "legitimized." T.A. workers like "Name Withheld" [Letters, Voice, November 12] and his superiors alike who are fed up to the point of splitting youngsters' heads should remove their pipes long enough to realize that under controlled circumstances these "two-bit assholes" would make New York's grey and dirty subways the most exciting moving art spectacle the world's ever seen.

    If the T.A., which chooses to view the graffiti situation as some kind of war, wishes to see it ended, they are going to have to at least negotiate for peace. Cleaning the cars will never end graffiti. A clean subway car gets recovered in a matter of days, or hours. The chemical warfare is a huge waste of time, energy and money. Graffiti writers won't surrender, and they can't and won't be beaten. If the T.A. wants the kids and their cans out of their trains, they're going to have to start thinking differently. We are a community of young people. An enormous group of people in a very loud city and we all want to be heard. We want to be seen. Our goal is not to vandalize or destroy, but to say "Hey you, look, I am here. I'm not just riding. I'm not just standing. I am on this machine. I am part of this machine. In fact, my name is carrying all you suckers to work!!

    But not at the cost of creating chaos or huge financial waste. When the T.A. has exhausted all its money and energy, maybe they will try to negotiate with the ones out here responsible for all this "wanton vandalism."

    -Zephyr, New York City, Nov. 26, 1980

    Back then I was an idealist and an optimist. I figured graffiti on the subways would never go away. Boy was I wrong. Before the end of the decade New York subway graffiti was extinct. But as we know, it didn't die. It moved on...
  9. adderall

    adderall Elite Member

    Joined: Jun 10, 2003 Messages: 2,921 Likes Received: 1
    much respect..

    i like the fact that this homie is putting in work on the freights now..
  10. BeefJerky

    BeefJerky Member

    Joined: Feb 23, 2004 Messages: 765 Likes Received: 0
  11. crave

    crave Veteran Member

    Joined: Jan 20, 2002 Messages: 6,728 Likes Received: 10
    those letter to the editor(s) are interesting.

    this thread should grow by at least ten fold. . .
  12. johnny

    johnny Dirty Dozen Crew

    Joined: Feb 15, 2003 Messages: 7,231 Likes Received: 16
    bumpstiggity bump
  13. war pigs

    war pigs Dirty Dozen Crew

    Joined: Feb 18, 2004 Messages: 2,734 Likes Received: 10

    ice cold
  14. GamblersGrin

    GamblersGrin Elite Member

    Joined: Sep 24, 2003 Messages: 3,243 Likes Received: 16
    dont feel like shrinking it
  15. timemachine

    timemachine Banned

    Joined: Mar 21, 2004 Messages: 773 Likes Received: 0