Uncapped: Connecting with New York Street Bomber ‘Easy’
Finally. An interview almost a year in the making for a man whose name currently sells on canvas for $5,000. He is easily (no pun intended) the most prolific bomber in NYC. Boogie faithful please welcome, EASY to our Uncapped series.
Bowery Boogie: Thanks for joining us. I cannot think of one person in the graffiti community that does not know who you are. How the heck did you become this famous/infamous?
Easy: From my analysis it transpired from an enormous body of work and from my battles with Keith Haring on the MTA chalkboards. Stickers, highways, trucks, six strong years hitting the subway transit lines. In my opinion, I believe it was the street movement me and Josh5 created which influenced thousands around the world.
BB: You battled Keith Haring. Never knew that. When did you start writing?
Easy: I originally started writing “LC” in 1982, That name was so lame. However, the name “Easy” was born January of 1983. I give thanks to the females who gave me the name while I was in middle school.
BB: Ha! Ok, then. What’s going on with Josh5 these days?
Easy: Josh5 has been in constant pursuit in trying to get his incredible artwork displayed in galleries. He’s also keeping his foundation by displaying his iconic signature in the streets. He is the primary reason why I’m in this art movement and my older brother to a certain extent.
BB: How did you, he and Joz become a crew? Is that correct? A crew or partners?
Easy: Josh5 and Ghast was my original partners which dates back to 1982. It’s quite ironic how Joz joined in with us. There was a writer by the name Slade who was a good friend of mine in the very early ’80s. He was also one of Joz’s original partners along with Pean and Shap. It was very strange simply because Slade was a good friend, but he was with the other two who were our opposition during that time. Slade kind of put that to a halt when he introduced Joz and Easy to each other. Me and Joz had a very quick connection from that point on.
BB: The peacemaker. You all were known for trains, but there are those who consider you the first generation of New York street bombers. Is that accurate? What are you known for now?
Easy: Yes, we were very known for writing on trains during the ’80s. We were also known for several other things such as doing the highways, stickers, chalkboards, and creating a worldwide movement consisting of huge fat cap simple tags and saving the entire graffiti movement while the subways were dwindling. But most of all, no one in the history of graff has done the streets on every main avenue in New York like me Joz, Tekay and Josh5, but particularly Easy and Joz. JA XTC is very close to that accomplishment, but in a different type of way. I view JA as an extremely high risk writer of his duration because of those very dangerous high spots he displays his name on. I must add my brother (TRAP if) did huge amounts of work back then as well.
BB: I love how you say he “displays” his name as if the city is your gallery and all the buildings your canvases. Bold statement. I am sure many agree. I, for one, see you up everywhere and yes, JA as well. What was your favorite train line?
Easy: I liked them all. I hit a massive amount of trains during my six year run. The 3 line was probably my favorite. I tore that line up big time.
BB: At one point you told people you were retiring. Was that due to Joz’s untimely passing from asthma?
Easy: It was very premature when I made that statement. It’s really not that fun anymore. (This is a lifetime commitment, that’s how I perceive it).
BB: But it’s not fun? At all?
Easy: No, not really anymore.
BB: Damn. Do you wear a mask now because of Joz’s asthma?
Easy: My prime reason for covering up is to keep myself exclusive. Although, my face leaked out to the public a few times which I’m not happy about. Whenever you mingle around large crowds things of that nature tends to happen.
BB: I may have a couple photos of you. No worries, though.
Easy: Lol. I know.
BB: Tell us about graff in NY during the ’80s.
Easy: I can go on forever when it concerns the ’80s, but I’ll keep it quite brief simply because I’m pondering on writing a book in the near future. I believe I don’t have to go in depth when it comes to subway graff during that time simply because the general public is pretty much extremely aware what transpired. But what the mass population lacks is the knowledge [of what] writers endured while bombing the streets in prime crack era. Whenever you picked up a can to go writing in the streets, there was a HUGE chance that you’d encounter opposition. I mean what bombers experience today is child’s play compared to what we collectively went through back then. A simple tag could cost you your life; it’s that simple. You had mass amounts of gang members, drug dealers that were eager to blow someone’s head off and people, in general, were in that state of mind as well. If you didn’t have heart back then, my suggestion would have been to leave this [graffiti] alone. I must admit (Ghost Ris) was one of the very, very few that went in the heart of the beast.
BB: Thank you for that insight. Subject change for a sec – you know we are a Lower East Side born, bred and based and we know you are; tell us some memories of the Lower!
Easy: Plenty of my memories of the LES derive from my prenatal stages, Which is very important to me. Like creating styles. I’ve actually seen my first form of graff by a guy who goes by the name of Lee [Quinones] during the late ’70s.
BB: I read that you were cool with Rakim, LL Cool J, and KRS ONE who, unbeknownst to many, was both writer and rapper. Are you still in touch?
Easy: KRS One was like a big brother to me. It was always fun being around him. During the late ’80s through the early ’90s, I had quite a few celebrities constantly encouraging me to exhibit my art in galleries around the world and they surprisingly offered to partake. I was very flattered, but wasn’t interested in participating simply because writing was just a fun sport to me at that time.