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Elk Elk Elk

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i will kill this debate:


London is one of the worlds most visited cites, people pay attention to it, and it has massive amounts of international visitors.


virginia on the other hand is obscure, unnoticed, and basically left alone and unvisited even on a regional level, and is completely unknown internationally.


Basically, Elk (uk) has been around a lot longer, and does the majority of his work in cities that are heavily significant on a worldwide level...


and for all you fuckin idiots that say me and amaze jock europe! well fuck you cause we are worldwide and you bitches are just local pee-wee league motherfuckers!!!


if there is a "euro" style that me and amaze are "jocking" then what is "american style"???


i mean come on toys, lets hear this one. let's see how out of tune your geography is.....




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ok 16v why doesn't everyone who doesn't live in newyork or london or some internationally known city just quit. i really think both elk's could give a fuck what we think. you know the public could give a fuck about graffiti, its just some bullshit they don't even pay attention to. so really the only point in painting these internationally known cities is just to get some so called "props" from other writers.


"Patriotism is a funny thing. It can cause like minded people to fight with each other, leading to battles, and eventually leading to war. A war undoubtedly has potential to gain enough momentum to outlive the initial conflict, thereby producing scores of soldiers who are willing to sacrifice their lives for a struggle that they may have no connection to. No connection other than the fact that they are from the same country, state, or county as those who were originally fighting. They are carrying the torch becaus they were born in the same place. That is what patriotism boils down to. Being proud to have been born where you were. Ironically, this sense of pride is based upon something in which a person has absolutely no control over. We are left to the mercy of chance, and consequently must make the best of what we have been given. A person cannot and should not be judged on where he or she is from. It is irrelevant. However, what is relevant, is what that person has done with th terrain they have been presented with." - Elk DOS

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Everyone I have talked to gives THE REAL LONDON ELK respect. Period. This Virginia guy just plain sucks. Its not graffiti. It amazes me how ignorant and closed minded some American writers are. Look at the big picture you fucks, its a big world and graffiti is everywhere, its not just going all city anymore. You have to go ALL WORLD.


By the way jocking European style = if you do a Euro style but have never been there.

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Written by Imogen O'Rorke on June 28 1996, titled in full, 'This is Elk. At 16, he was the scourge of London Transport Police. Now he works in advertisng'


When SoHo street artist Jean-Michel Basquiat picked up a can of spray-paint it was poetry; a brave new expression of racial anger and social discontent. When Simon Sunderland, a 23-year-old student from Sheffield, got his hands on one recently it was five years for criminal damage. Twenty years since the jagged, hip hop-style tags started appearing all over our cities, the debate over whether it is art or vandalism is as hot as ever. Sunderland, who caused £7,000 damage using the tag Fisto, was given a "public hanging" to deter others. The authorities despair of ever containing the underground art form, which costs London alone £110 million a year in cleaning bills.


Society sends out confusing messages to graffitists: the Prince's Trust has been known to patronise them, Providing them with paints and canvas, while Politicians call for the "vandals" to be put in the stocks; council-funded youth centres put spray cans in the teenagers' hands and the law slaps handcuffs on their wrists. Captains of the art establishment like Brian Sewell of the Evening Standard dismiss the art form as "deplorable", "a form of aggression towards society".


Even the graffitists - who call themselves "writers". are divided over whether it is art. Elk and Cal, who wrote for the gang CWS (Cheeba Wizards) during the eighties, have wholly different experiences of the graffiti scene.


Cal, 25, grew up in the middle of the graffiti boom in Ladbroke Grove, where names like Mode2, Zaki and Pride, known as "the Chrome Angels", dominated the school playground.


He was handed his first can at his community centre when he was 14. He bumped into his teacher, a respected writer, on a train later that week. "He gave me a green can and I wrote 'Clash' all over the carriage. It was the biggest buzz ever. From then on I would ride the trains every lunchtime, wearing a big mac crammed with cans. I became a serial sprayer."


Getting his tag around guaranteed instant respect at school. The arrival of breakdancing and the book Subway Art - which he says was like "a junkie's first fix" - from the US in 1986 started off a craze. "It was all about getting your name up." he says "What we were all doing wasn't art. It wasn't like New York, where they were expressing proper anger at the government for poor social conditions. It was a status thing: I'm a nutter. I'm a bad boy. I do loads of trains - I'm the king"


Cal spent most of his teens crawling under wires and over roofs to get at trains; letting himself out of his bedroom window at night by a ropeladder to go on "wrecking" sessions in the yards. His favourite hits' were Gloucester Road (nicknamed "happy faces"), Wembley and Rickmansworth (Ricky). He left school at 16 and went to art college.


Graffiti became a full-time occupation' Cal scattered his tag over all the Tube lines, but was most prolific on the "Little Met" (a branch of the Metropolitan Line, since renamed the Hammersmith and City Line). 'At most stations you could just walk off,the platform and into the tunnels and wait in the cubby holes for the trains to stop," he recalls. "The trackies would yell, '0i, you! Drop it!'and we would run into the tunnel where they couldn't get us, hoping a train wouldn't come. I normally consumed a bottle of whisky beforehand, it was so nerve-racking."


When London Transport Police raided a station, they were supposed to give advance warning for the electricity to be cut off. Often it wasn't. The first death happened in Kilburn Park station in 1990 to the little brother of a gang-member. Evil, a 12-year-old, was scooped up out of his cubby hole by a train and dragged off down a tunnel.


Cal was unlucky in another way. At 18 he was charged with causing £45.000 criminal damage: for tagging and setting trains alight and raiding an off-licence with a gang of 50. He came back the day after to to take souvenir photographs and was picked up. He was still paying off the £800 fine and doing conimunity service two years later.


Times have changed. "I have to bite my tongue now when I hear advertising executives in moleskin trainers discussing graffiti," he says. "As coffee table art, it's bollocks. I used to have a motto when I was 17: 'The trains are the canvases and the galleries are the stations." That's bollocks too. Graff is about how much damage you can cause and how quickly you can do it. It starts through boredom and becomes an obsession."


He reserves his opinions, however, when dealing with clients, who Pay him handsomely to decorate their studios and Regency terraced houses with tags and murals. His client list so far includes the singer Wendy James (who asked for Tank Girl in her study), a member of the Rothschild family (who wanted Good V Evil. in the bedroom), a stockbroker, a banker, a publisher. Cal eventually wants to be a graphic, designer and has "absolutely no qualms" about marketing his skills in the meantime.


Elk, 24, reigned suprenme on the London Underground for three years from 1989 and is still considered be one of the top five "old skool" writers. He now lives in Manchester and has just been offered a place at Glasgow School of Art. He doesn't know what started him off: "What motivated me aged 12 to pick up a felttip pen and write 'Pinky and Perky' on a wall? I don't know," he says, "I guess it was the adrenalin at first and, later on, the fame." Driven by a desire to get his name up in the station-yard Hall of Fame, he taught himself how to trace the letters from Subway Art and develop his own style of writing, which has developed into what he calls "Old English".


It took years of dedicated "raiding", but at 16 Elk had taken over the Metropolitan Line. He formed his own crew, PFB - standing variously for Profits From Bethlehem, Punishment For Bumpkins, Paddy's Fighting Back - with big names Drax, Robbo and Shun.


In PFB, the more perilous the task, the higher the rewards: one of Elk's biggest thrills was to hide. in the bushes to wait for a Jubilee Line train to stop at a junction, then jump into the tracks and tag before a fast Metropolitan train came rushing through.


The death of a gang member during a raid in Neasden yard marked the end of "innocence". He remembers the night: "LTP surprised us, and we had to escape across a 40 track junction. It's like running through knives. Raze tripped and fell face down on the live tracks. Nobody realised that he was dead till the next day. One or two stopped after that. The rest went ballistic - declared all out war on LTP's graff squad." Nearly all of them ended up with serious convictions.


Elk has never been caught in this country and has carried on playing a game of cat and mouse with police. He plays it safe, hiding his designs at friends' houses, resisting the temptation to keep photos at home. He has started moving with the legal crowd as well, most of whom he says are "trainspotting types, more into graffiti art magazines than girls". They meet at "Halls of Fame" and "Unity" sessions, which he organises once a year, around the country to paint on sponsored hoardings or wall spaces.


He also teaches spray-can art to homeless people in Soho, deprived children in East London and Bengali kids in Brick Lane. Graffiti, he hopes, keeps them out of worse crime: "There is a kind of scally- wag who is gonna get a record whatever they do," he explains. "I never talk about the illegal stuff to the kids. But if a kid is already doing trains I will educate him."


ELK only hits BR trains these days (considered the lowest of the low by London writers) because they are "easier" and the "canvases are bigger". "Kids on the Tubes these days are hardcore. They have to deal with laser beams, hidden cameras, carry bolt cutters and gloves for fingerprints. It's a real hassle," he says.


He believes the British scene will progress naturally on to walls and canvas, but fears narrow- mindedness in other graffitists. "In Brighton there's some fantastic abstract being done. But they are outcast by train writers," he says. "Graff as an art form should not be scorned at. It is an expres- sion of where we are at now: of our insecurities, our disposable lifestyle. Our generation is starting to be influential. Young art buyers understand where we are coming from now."


From pop videos to the set of Lynda La Plante's new fihn, Supply And Demand, graffiti is being deployed for the designer cityscapes of the nineties. Elk is frequently contacted to do film sets and advertising promos and is soon to star as a graffiti artist on the run in a short film to promote Renegade Soundwave's new album. His work- place, scattered with multifarious cans of Smoothwriter, Krylon and sketches for a new "Old English" figurestyle that he's been working on, is becoming the studio of a fanatical graphic designer. Without equivocation he concludes, "Graff is definitely the best thing that ever happened to me."

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Authored by Ekow Eshun, it was accompanied by photos of a tube jam on the Lil'Met and tube pieces by Drax and Cazbee.


Inspired by hiphop, graffiti exploded across our cities in the 80's. It is now a dying art form as far as popular interest goes. But to hardcore "taggers" like Drax and Elk, the writing is still very much on the wall.


It is a wet, grey afternoon. Tube trains the same colour as the sky shoot through the London Underground and intersect at Edgeware Road, a busy station where three different lines meet. On board one of the trains, Drax and Elk peer through carriage windows, checking for signs they have been here before. In their early 20's, the pair are anonymously dressed in well worn padded jackets, their faces practically hidden by hats. They pass Latimer Road and Elk breaks out into a broad fresh faced grin. On the platform, every sign or hoarding has been obscured by a highly stylised, spray can applied signature. Untangle the "tags" and they will unmistakably all read "Elk". He points up as the train continues. On the sides of buildings which overlook the tracks are larger, more elaborate colour pieces which are also his.


Inside the carriage, Drax and Elk have been getting busy writing their tags on the windows with the short, thick marker pens they have made themselves. With a flourish, Drax takes out an aerosol can and deftly sprays his tag on a window. He takes no more than 2 seconds and leaves a wet signature and the unmistakable bubblegum scent of spray can paint.


But they're spotted. An irate elderly passenger is trying to flag the attention of the driver as the train pulls into its final stop. Mindful of the in-station video cameras, they dash into another train on a different line. Within minutes they'll be far away lost in the system. But it's likely they'll ensure their passing will not go unmarked.


This in the subculture of graffiti in 1991 undercover, risky and sometimes vaguely romantic. And, although many consider it to be a distraction of the past, the artists and writers who make up the scene insist it continues with a vengeance. But with an increasingly belligerent London Underground determined to wipe out a problem which costs them over 2 million a year, a British Transport Police which now has it's own nine-person Graffiti Squad, and a rising severity in court sentences for arrested graffiti artists, the scene is under fire. As a result it has gone underground.


"Graffiti is dead as far as popular culture goes," confirms Drax later, in more relaxed circumstances. "But it still exists in London and across the country; in most major cities, it's just massive." And if anyone should know, it's him. Over his five year career, he's one of very small number of artists never to be caught. He's also responsible for the single biggest piece of art (or vandalism, depending on your point of view) ever done in Britain. On Christmas Day 1989, he and another artist graffitied an entire train, from toptobottom, in an enormous piece which read like a roll of honour grandiose gesture probably marked the end of the golden days for London's graffiti artists.


The British graffiti scene began in the early 80's, when it was imported as part of the first wave of hiphop culture to cross the Atlantic from New York. While deejays like Grandmaster Flash explored the possibilities of scratch mixing, it was people like Futura 2000 who demonstrated the art of graffiti. But it was films like 'Beat Street' and books like 'Subway Art'(a photo history of graffiti on the New York subways) which acted as the prime inspiration for would-be London artists.


The scene flourished for some time, with the police turning a blind eye to what they took to be a short-lived fad. But many artists refused to put down their spray cans. Their pieces became more adventurous and increasingly began to appear on trains and the weight of criminal damage being caused rose. In response, the British Transport Police incorporated a full-time Graffiti Squad in 1987 and courts began to switch from imposing light fines on the adolescents to handing out jail sentences intended to deter others. Today, Sgt Thompson, the most experienced officer on the Graffiti Squad, believes "graffiti is contained. We're slowly winning the war and, right now, we're down to the real hardcore." Underground, however, the scene continues and shows no sign of going away. But why do artists and writers continue?


"I think what plays a great part is the fame you get" suggests Elk. "People that are absolute nobodies just become really famous." "It's basically egotistical," agrees Drax. "You get kids coming up to you asking what you write. When I tell them I'm Drax they freak out. It's like introducing a little girl to Jason Donovan." But despite the glamour of graffiti, it remains a dangerous activity. "A friend of mine, who I'd known since I was six or seven, was in Neasden depot doing a piece with two other people," says Elk after a moments reflection. "The Transport Police came running along and chased them out onto the largest train junction on the Underground, which has about 20 sets of tracks. As they ran, he tripped and fell onto an electrified rail and died." One of the others with him "went totally mad", waging a personal war against London Underground, setting fire to trains, assaulting Transport Police and eventually ending up in jail.


Elk himself has recently been arrested and faces a possible six month sentence. "Getting caught is like an occupational hazard, and you deal with it when it comes along." shrugs Drax. "You're not going to do graffiti in front of a policeman, but the prospect doesn't stop you." Like that other secret obsession, computer hacking, graffiti has gone underground after a brief flash of media attention. But the desire of the artists and the hackers to leave their mark and crack a network either made of computer circuits or tube lines is still very much alive.


"I'm doing my art and putting my name up for people to see," defends Drax. "If I can get away with it, that's good luck to me. If I get caught, that's my problem." Graffiti, says Drax, is still all about individual expression an artistic alternative to the corporate adverts that blanket our cities. "I have to look at names and symbols from people like Coca-Cola all day and I don't have a say about that. So if I put my name or art somewhere, it's there anyone else's ." Sgt Thompson disagrees. "It's simply damaging other people's property and it costs London Underground over 2 million a year and they don't want it." The Transport Police are now targeting school children in an effort to deter them from ever becoming involved in graffiti. Sgt Thompson reckons, "It's a craze which will die when something else comes along."


Underground as it is today, the graffiti scene shows little sign of disappearing. And a cursory inspection of the tube lines of London, the buses of Newcastle, or wall spaces in any major city from Glasgow to Brighton will make that clear. "The penalties and fines will deter many," says Drax. "But in the end it's art. People like Salvador Dali or Van Gogh never stopped painting and neither will we."

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Originally posted by locationtwelve


And the ledge that was done on was no joke!

Amazing for its time and location...

Anyone got a photo of the EK down rock that used to be on the Lil Met by Bush station?

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"Elk, 24, reigned suprenme on the London Underground for three years from 1989"


Thanks for the Elk interviews Crazeebob... very interesting reading... ELK, WD AOK PFB was a king of the London Underground for three years even after losing a friend in a yard... and no redneck can ever take that away from him.

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Guest rib



Freeque, you are a fucking legend thanks a million mate!!!!!!!!!

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Guest imported_sofarok




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as for ELK from va, i dont think we need to "choose" one or the other...and ive read this WHOLE thread. 16v and amaze never said (originally) anything about Elk DOS being wack...that only came out after a whole bunch of dumb fr8 dickriders tried saying VA elk was the only real elk, or the better elk, etc. like 16v and amaze, my reaction was to support the elk who was writing longer, was already a legend before VA elk ever started writing, etc....you can see my post on page one of this.


i think elk from VA is pretty humble from what ive heard...and unlike sigh, he isnt stealing from anybody, so do your thing ELK va...but there are such things as graff heirarchies....and ELK AOK preempts anything anyone painting legals and fr8s in va is doing. sorry, its the way it works.....its like my own partner onorok...hes dope, a lot of yall sweat him and the work he put in in the last 4 years, but he would never put himself ahead of a writer like elk aok, or reas aok, or chaka, rew or level or oxboe in germany, delta or zander, cat, jeziz in the netherlands, and so on.....if youve been writing for a minute, you understand the heirarchy cuz you pay attention and give respect where its due.


all you cats that have written for 3 years and think you know everything are just embarassing..as americans, as graffiti writers, as people...


as for 16v and amaze, i dont know these dudes personally, but theres a lot of mutual friends between us (espo, nemel, dasar here in philly) and i know that basically these guys, love em or hate em, put in fucking WORK. thats all i need to know to hand out dap. in cities where graff originated, like nyc and philly and chi, graff has ALWAYS been an ego sport, and a shit-talking game. all you writers from podunk, nowhereville that think these duydes are assholes for standing their ground should never visit nyc. cats will seriously give you a buck50 for going over a fillin...fuck the internet, fuck whining about fr8s vs. transit. i think grey and amaze do a pretty good job of biting thier tongues, or at least *trying* to talk and explain themselves. i think this thread was started to give dap to a legend, thats all. i know i was super amped to see an ELK thread. just like id love to see an OXBOE (one of my favorite berlin writers) or a DRAX thread. or a fuckin SPADE fba thread. just cause all you young bucks only know about graff on fr8s, or graff on the net..YOUR lack of knowledge about what came before you doesnt mean anyone was trying to clown ELK from VA. and your rush to scream that elk from va is better is stupid for so many reasons:


a. does ELK dos even WANT any of you starting all this shit for him?!?!!?


b. even if you love that art-schooly type vibe of ELK (which isnt my cup of tea, but so be it..i still heard the dude is humble and cool, and i DOUNT hes sanctioned ANY of this talk on his behalf), the LONDON ELK came first, painted more, over more territory, on more mediums. its simple graff-math. subjectively, yeah, you might like one more than the other. but objectively, ELK AOK deserves your respect, and earned it on the up and up, in the streets.


c. aside from some screennames on here that i dont know, i know that about 98% of you responding hardly have shit in the states even...hardly even have your own cities on lock. well, ELK AOK has a city on lock thats bigger than almost any city in the states, AND SOME. grey and amaze also have more trains running in poland than some of you have in your own hometown. this includes ME....so i say everyone just give soem dap to the subject of this thread, the great ELK AOK...and just leave ELK dos out of it...that dude gets sweatted on enough threads on 12oz....i doubt hell suffer from missing out on this one. and until you can really claim more WORK than grey or amaze, you should really leave them alone too. half of you haters are still just salty that amaze clowned ya on the track bike thread. sheeesh.


respect due to ELK aok.

respect due to all the europeans...trust me, A LOT of us in the states know the time, and have MAD respect for the kings over there...keep in mind that about 99% of the kids on here dont even know the history of THIS country...dont let their ignorance stand for all of us

respect due to GREY and AMAZE....not because im trying to win brownie points....these 2 could care less about my graff career...but because i know it sucks when 30 people are coming at you...its hard not to get flustered and cocky when its 30 on 2. ill say this: politics are politics, but most real heads know the drill...


and finally, respect due to ELK dos. i dont think dude asked for anyone to mix his name up in this. and it sucks that hes getting pulled into a beef by name-droppers and dick riders. if you REALLY like ELK's shit, then keep is name out of your fucking mouth and let him stand on his own two feet. if he wants to start shit, let him do it. i feel bad for dude.


-----NSF CREW VP----


yall know who.




PS: i would love to see some DRAX too..he was one of my favorite london writers for a minute too...him and FUEL.

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