2010 - Three contents
026 Ferds Valencia
Not for the money. Not for the show. This cat is doing it simply because he wants to.
Pilipinas Street Plan
US DC Pro-Rider Demo + Skateboard Competition 2010
Rock the streets while spreading environmental awareness.
Adidas X Ransom Pony X Hello Kitty
Okto Ungga EXLD Egg
Nike Air Max 90
One of the pioneers in the Philippines in BMX, Armand Mariano still rollinâ€™ & flyinâ€™ while keeping himself on top of his game.
028 Trash it or Keep it with Commune The Perea crew tell us what shoe brand did it for the summer, their thoughts on graffiti & their dream summer weekend.
Bombing the Streets
Graver,Nuno & Rest show you what it takes to do what they do and what the movement is all about.
Graffiti on Sneakers
Few places where you can walk away from your crime.
Sneakers Dictate the Color Dress like a pro with your sneakers taking the lead.
“Natural. Perfect, but not perfect.”
Air MAx 90 Current Kaws
TILT Adidas Stan Smith + Mariah
Better stay fresh this summer boys & girls.
BLACKBOOK opens it’s doors kids. Commune Manila is hustlin’.
The Parties You Missed
DC takes over the Philippines! Chicks & Kicks.nuff’ said. Obsidian bar rocks out opening night!
Art Direction: Borgy Manotoc Photographs: TILT & Steve Tirona Model: Mariah
Staff and Crew EDOUARD CANLAS editor-in-chief
YENTOWNKID & CO. concept and design
DALEMATIC GARCIA design consultant
sales & marketing
advertising account executive
sales & distribution officer
SAM KIYOUMARSI photographer
ARCEE CRUZ video editor
contributors ARYAN MAGAT SEBASTIAN TAY MIKE MENDOZA HECTOR YUZON JOHN ESTOQUE MSCLAVEL 2010 BOYBRIGHTBOY MULTIMEDIA CORP. email@example.com 703-2531
DC Brings Out the Best Skaters in Manila and Cebu Skaters went wild as DC landed onto the busiest areas of Luzon and Visayas to bring the US DC Pro-Rider Demo + Skateboard Competition 2010 in their events held at Bonifacio Global City in Taguig and Talisay City in Cebu. The scorching heat of the summer sun did not prevent the skaters of both Manila and Cebu to showcase their talents in jumping, fumbling and tumbling with their decks just to bring home the coveted title of being their respective region’s best skateboard athlete. At the event held on March 4, 2010 at the Visioneri Landskate Park in
Talisay, Cebu, 40 skaters went all-garbed and ready to become the best skater in the Visayas region. At the end of the day, JM Ocana from Bacolod City bagged the first prize while Rene Joyseph Ivanhoe, Ronald Chong, Edger Morales and JR Lapinid got the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th places, respectively. According to Dr. Eugene Neri, owner of the Visioneri Landskate Park, the first skate park in Cebu, “This event will be a big help to boost the skill level of Cebuano skaters. The dream is to increase the skill and confidence level of Cebuanos to make them excel and compete globally. I believe the best is yet to come.” On another sunny day in Manila, skaters gathered at the Bonifacio High Street to show-off what they got in the Manila leg of the DC skateboard
DC SKATE TEAM PHILIPPINE TOUR 2010 competition held last March 9. Sixty skaters went all out on the ramps and obstacles that were prepared to challenge their skating prowess and to find out who the best skater in Manila is. After a rigorous display of spectacular moves and stunts, Jeff Gonzales emerged as the best Manileño skater while trailing closely behind are Marvin Bolisay, Otie Tipan, Anjo Pineda and Marvin Basinal, taking home the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th places, respectively. On both events, the US DC Pro-Riders amazed the crowd with their fascinating moves and breath-taking stunts, which made the viewing people stand up from their seats and cheer for the professional riders named Greg Myers, Bjorn Johnston, Keiran Reilly, Hirotuchi Kawabuchi and Kota Ikeda.
Bjorn Johnston, the 25-year old skater from New Zealand said, “[Skating for Filipinos] is a lot different than in the United States. A lot more people show up here, for some reason. They were very appreciative, very polite, they were cheering us up the whole day, [they were] just enjoying themselves and having a good time!” Aside from the skateboard competition and the pro-skaters’ demo, DC also brought to the Philippines the world-renowned sneaker designer and also an avid skater, Mark Ong. In an event held on March 10, 2010 at Manor Superclub to launch his latest design line for DC, the Circus of Mutants, Mark Ong said, “The peak of my skate days in the ‘90s coincided with the emergence of a daring new look in sneakers by DC. Definitely a great mark in skate history. I will always be an asphalt cowboy that shreds on the streets and in spirit.” *More pix in the parties you missed.
20 > 1000 Simple® Shoes launches BIO-D: Collection of biodegradable footwear for Spring 2010 Twenty years... That’s less time than it takes to pay off the average mortgage. Twenty years isn’t even long enough for a baby born yesterday to reach the age when they can legally buy themselves a drink at the bar. Yet twenty years is all the time it takes for Simple’s BIO-D soles to completely disappear from a landfill. Regular soles can stick around our landfills for as long as a thousand years. Twenty is greater than a thousand. So how exactly is this possible? Simple has started using an additive called EcoPure in the EVA and rubber of all the BIO–D collection midsoles and outsoles (and in all of our plastic shoe hangers and shoe bags, too!). What is EcoPure? EcoPure is basically a bunch of little microbes that like to eat EVA and plastic. These microbes eat and eat, and in 20 years Simple’s BIO-D soles are turned into dirt. This process will only happen in aerobic (think of a compost) or anaerobic (think landfill) conditions… so don’t worry, they won’t biodegrade on your feet! Simple’s BIO-D collection for 2010 features new sneakers for men and women, as well as new flip flop styles. BIO-D takes Simple’s dedication to sustainability one step further by not only cutting back on the production of waste, but by leaving less behind. HOW we make our shoes is just as important as WHY we make them. We’re committed to making our products 100% sustainable.
Please check out Simple Shoes at Rustan’s and R.O.X at the Fort.
ENVIRONMENTAL AWARENESS 101 By Kumiko Mae Yasuda Our very own “Mother Earth” must be sheer proof that there’s nothing more frightful than a woman scorned. Late last year has been a painful story for our very own tropical shores. Two devastating super typhoons hovered over our islands and devastated thousands of families—some of which haven’t fully recovered until now. With an average of 20 typhoons a year, one is left to wonder where our tropic thunder would strike next. The Philippine Archipelago which is composed of 7,107 islands arguably has the highest bio-diversity in the world next to Galapagos Island, where Charles Darwin developed his Evolution of Man theory. However, according to a recent report by Nation Master, a central data source site used by various international media organizations, the archipelago places itself as the eight South East Asian country with the highest number of threatened species. While reasons for this may be of accumulated and collaborative destructive sources, Nation Master declared uncontrolled forest depletion, coral reef degradation and extensive mangrove swamp pollution as causes why Philippine ecological health is at risk. Other than bio-diversity, Philippines is also among the top few South East Asian nations that has the most abundant water availability; however, because the Philippine shores has long been a regular rest-stop of El Niño, drought is hardly an unusual problem for its residents. According to official statistics for 2010, 54 percent of the approximately 500,000 high-value crops planted on the agricultural regions of the country have been seriously affected by drought. As of press time, there are already three major agricultural provinces that are placed under a “state of calamity”. With the summer sun set to rise, is Manila set to break its hottest 40 degrees?
For years there has been numerous yet extensive debates concerning the greenhouse effect—a dubious but rather scientifically supported explanation of what is happening to the 4.6 billion year old planet which we call home. Some people argue that the climate change we are experiencing is but a natural wonder that only Nature can completely understand. Some people rebut, it’s a problem brought by the very men who’re inescapably going to be victims of it. Imagine yourself playing with fire, inside a cage where the flame itself burns—that is man’s self-concocted phenomenon. Greenhouse gases, mainly carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and water vapor, are increasingly trapped in concentration on the Earth’s protective atmosphere. Scientists explain the greenhouse effect as originally Earth’s survival plan. Greenhouse gasses are trapped on the atmosphere in order to insulate the planet—allowing life to begin, exist and persist; however, because of the exponential increase of gas emissions from various countries, US and China being the top two nations gearing itself as the top ranking carbon dioxide producer, and as Earth’s oceans are slowly emptied out, the very process that once sustained life is now one of the very reasons why life itself is at risk. The concentration of greenhouse gases trapped on the Earth’s atmosphere traps in too much heat which then explains the increasing temperature recorded across the globe through the years. Consequently, ice caps from the northern region of the planet decrease. Reported as early as 2006, the decreasing ice caps which serve as habitat for a number of Antartic species like the Polar Bears result to unusual animal behavior such as cannibalism. Other than unexpected environmental adaptation manifested in some species, sea levels also begin to rise because of the decrease in glaciers. However, due to the increased surface temperature, evaporation is accelerated and thus contributes to the concentration greenhouse gases on the Earth’s atmosphere. Likewise, precipitation is
decreased thus problems of drought in various regions of the planet, including the Philippines. It is but a staggering process. The Earth is the cage and the flame is trapped within the supposed “shelter”. Increasing population, an inevitable reason why carbon footprint increases annually is an evident factor why in a recent report, Philippines, a Kyoto Protocol signatory, comfortably sits after Iraq as the 36th nation with the highest CO2 emission in the world. The archipelago which has around 29 laws concerning the environment, the newest of which is Republic Act 9729: Climate Change Act of 2009, which specifically concerns the country’s response to climate change, continues to struggle for a more effective solution to alleviate problems concerning the environment. Among many, World Wide Fund Philippines Vice-Chair and Chief Executive Officer said in a release, “Collectively, we must identify ‘next practices’, because today’s ‘best practice’ will no longer suffice. We must start to learn fast and scale rapidly.” He pointed out the many solutions yet to be formulated and of the many solutions yet to be exploited in contrast with the only planet we have. Unsurprisingly, it is on this light that more innovative yet simple packages come as most helpful and highly efficient in providing step-by-step solutions to lessen environmental problems faced by countries internationally. Simple Shoes, an exemplary eco-friendly and sustainable line of footwear with its perfected process of producing 100% sustainable products—converting trash to treasures and reducing “treasures turned to trash, is a simple solution to a complicated issue that troubles the minds of even the world’s geniuses. In preparation for the dawn of the 21st century, the future lies on our feet. So what if the Mayan Calendar marked two years from now as the “apocalypse”, with the right footwear it is easier to beat a new fresh path for change.
Available at Limited Edt. SG
citywings WIRD high
citywings WHSL low
mexico 77 SLPI
When people reach the age of 30, they sometimes think, “I’m too old for this stuff.” But for someone as active and extreme as Armand Mariano, age doesn’t matter. Jumping around with his BMX bike, Armand shows the world that at 30, life is just getting started. His energy and enthusiasm in doing jumps, twists, turns and back flips with his BMX bike prove just that.
His interest in BMX started back in 1991, when the movie Rad Racing inspired him to get up and ride a bike. At the age of 12, he was able to assemble his very first bike, which led him to becoming the Philippine pride in BMX.
“I used to wear Nike and Etnies but right now I’m using DC because it doesn’t get deformed easily especially when I walk on rough surfaces,” Armand said. “And since they’re stylish enough, I get to wear them at any given day.”
“After I assembled a very simple bike when I was 12, I hanged out with more experienced BMX riders and sort of got an apprenticeship. We would watch all sorts of videos from the US and we got some of our stunts from those. Eventually I got the hang of BMX and started competing. I get championship trophies every year in and out of the country since,” Armand shared.
Trends are very much crucial in the BMX world because it spells how the competitions are going to unfold. According to Armand, it adds challenge to BMX since with different trends come different styles and techniques that are used in terms of handling. If a rider isn’t one to adjust easily, he goes down the drain in an instant.
Back when he was still starting, Armand recalled that his parents never approved of it. But due to the love of the craft, he went on practicing after classes and as cliché as it may sound, practice made his stunts perfect.
Since most trends come from the US and Europe, Armand really took time to pick-up the stunts and learn different approaches to the tricks that he performs. He was proud to tell that he was one of the firsts in the country to actually be able to execute the stunts that used to be just eye-candy feats.
“When I do stunts for the first time, I really get nervous but once I tried it already, it gets natural because I want to master it. I go on doing the stunt kahit medyo masaktan,” Armand said. True enough, Armand doesn’t seem to mind having injuries every once in a while. He’s suffered from an ACL injury on his left knee, a fracture on his left leg and another injury on his spinal C6 when a bike fell on him from a 10-foot ramp. “We’re used to having injuries already, normal na rin yung may masakit sa’min,” Armand shared. For the same reasons, Armand said that it is important for any BMX rider to wear the proper equipment such as helmet, kneepads, shin guards and elbow pads. Also of utmost importance are the sneakers that they wear to make sure that the impact on their feet is lessened. However, the said protective gears are running out of style already. What most bikers do now, according to Armand, is wear skinny jeans with very thin pads inside to reduce bulkiness. Sneakers, on the other hand, are still a major part of a rider’s protection without sacrificing a bit of style.
“I was so fond of watching BMX videos and I wasn’t afraid to experiment. I really wanted to learn, I wanted so much to be a champion and represent the country in foreign competitions,” Armand shared. Armand had been a champion for 8 straight years in the Red Horse Super X Series since the year 2000. From then on, he represented the country in several BMX events held in different Asian countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, China and Korea. A lot of times during his out-of-the-country competitions, he was able to bring home recognitions to prove that Filipinos can indeed excel in that sport. “Right now the BMX environment in the Philippines is going strong – a lot of people are starting to ride the bikes. I never imagined that BMX will have this much popularity in the country,” Armand said. “The only problem is the lack of skate parks where we can practice at.” According to Armand, the government’s support for BMX is never enough especially when compared to other countries that have gone all out in helping the growing BMX community. In Malaysia and Indonesia, for instance, government
skate parks are all over the place making their riders improve and gain competency. Armand’s sentiment is that in a few years’ time, they may no longer be of the same caliber as the riders from neighboring countries when a few years back, Filipino bikers are already on top of the game. “There was a time when the other countries already look up to the Philippines, but years went on and we’re stuck with not a single skate park to practice at,” Armand shared. “The difference really is the government support.” This hinders the Filipinos to excel in the international BMX field since not everyone can afford to pay for a few hours in a private skate park just to be able to practice, unlike in other countries where even the less fortunate ones can play for free. And that leads to what Armand thinks is the best advice he can give to those who want to try BMX: learn how to save money and get a good job that can sustain the financial demands of being a BMX rider. “Since BMX is a bit more expensive than regular bikes, you really have to be ready to spend money in modifying your bike, especially when you’re getting the hang of it already. My own bike costs about 40 thousand pesos already,” Armand said. Armand’s own way of putting up with the expenses of BMX is having his own line of BMX parts known as Scrapbikes. His products are manufactured in Taiwan but are distributed even in other countries. He shared, “Scrapbikes started in 2003. The products that I sell are the same ones that are sold in the US, but mine are a lot cheaper that’s why a lot of foreign buyers prefer to transact with me.” Through years of unending passion and continuous thirst for improvement, Armand Mariano has proven that his energy and enthusiasm for BMX will never fade and that he can never be too old for anything. As they say, get it from the expert. In the Philippines, who else will this BMX expert be than Armand Mariano?
D ollin g up the D ecks
Skateboarding is not just about executing tricks flawlessly. It’s also about the attitude and the style that a skater embodies once it goes to the ramp and does the stunts with his/her partner – the skateboard. And the style doesn’t just end with the skater himself, the skateboard needs some prepping up, too. What better way is there of dolling up your decks than having it designed and painted by a legit painter? Here we introduce you Ferdz Valencia, one of the first deck artists in the country. And he doesn’t just stop with designing boards - he spruces up ramps, too!
Can you tell us exactly what you do in decks? I do graphics. Most of the artworks that I do in paper and canvas, I convert into skateboard graphics and put them to exhibit. When and how did you start designing decks? I think that was in 1990, when my friends started to ask me to bootleg graphics for them and put those on their boards. They have blank decks then they ask me to copy certain graphics onto their boards – that was my first stint as a deck artist. From then on, when I saw that it seems okay, I started to design my own decks. Exhibit-wise, I started to release decks and oriented them to people, I think around 1997 or 1998. Prior to deck art, what do you do? Aside from deck art, I also put into exhibit paintings and illustrations. Before, I wasn’t really involved in the whole gallery scene. But since I also make comics, illustrations, zines, DIY epics, I got introduced to people who are into the same thing but were also involved in the gallery scene. That’s how I was invited to get into the galleries for my paintings. Even before that though, I’m more into illustrative works, more on pen and inks, works and paper, underground comics and DIY stuff.
the doors are all open, you get sponsorships from shoes, apparel, etc. that’s why it gets so competitive. They’re also having fun at the same time, but it becomes different because of the agenda of sponsorship. So you skate as well? Yes. I started skating back in high school, I think it was the 90s too. I had a group of friends from the Final Option Skateboard Association in Baguio, they asked me to design a logo for a skateboard competition. Through that, I was introduced to skating and that was when I started doing serious tricks. It never crossed my mind to go professional because I just wanted to do it for myself and have a good time. And since you skate, we assume you wear sneakers. Right. I wear Emerica, Vans and the early Airwalk Prototype series. My sneaker choice is mostly influenced by my friends, especially the Emerica. I saw how good the quality is, plus it’s a skate brand. Purist. Have you gone customizing a shoe? My own shoes, yes, gusto ko ako lang ang meron. The one I’m wearing, I painted it and it has duct tape here and there because I use my shoes until they die.
Do you think there’s more money in deck art than in other media?
We heard you also design and build ramps. What’s the story behind that?
Actually I don’t know. Maybe because I didn’t really look at it that way because when I do deck art shows, it’s just an added bonus for me if someone like my work and actually buy. I just do it because I want to do it. I also think that deck art is still not that accepted here in the Philippines as compared to the US or other countries, where it has already boomed. Here in our country, people still prefer the regular paintings or at least framed paper works.
Yes, I like building things. One of the ramps I designed is in National Museum, another one’s in Singapore. The others, since I don’t have much space to put them, I recycle them to other things for my personal use like bookshelves.
Through deck art though, I get to be commissioned to do some freelance works related to it. I’m not really selling decks, but when people see my work and like it, they ask me to do a different job for them. That’s how it works for me. Back when you started, how was the skateboard scene in the Philippines? When I started, everything is just carefree. The difference with how it is today, is that, the progression is of a different level because of sponsorships. Before, we skate just to have a good time with friends, we don’t care whether we get sponsored or not. But now,
You had your own brand of shirts and boards, right? Can you tell us more about it? Yes, the Incubator. I had that brand before, but I’m in the process of reviving it. It’s got shirts and boards that were solely marketed to the skateboard community. The boards are a bit short-lived because it’s hard to maintain especially when you’re a one-man team. The shirts are successful. The designs that I put on the shirts and the decks are from my other works in other medium such as painting and illustrations. The artworks that you create on paper and canvas, you actually convert them to shirts and boards? Exactly. For example I’m doing an artwork right now, I’ll be thinking, “This would look good in a shirt.” So what I do is I alter some details to make it fit on a shirt, then reserve it as a shirt design. Eventually, it stems out to boards. It’s kind of in reverse relative to the US because there, they do the board graphics first then have accompanying apparel. Anyway, there doesn’t seem to be any difference. What’s the next step for you? Revive Incubator, but I’ll start with the shirts first. I’m not sure about the boards yet because I’m finding a hard time looking for suppliers. Then I’ll make skate-art-oriented zines. I’ve released my first one, then I’m planning to release the second hopefully this summer. It’s called Chiller zine. I’m just going back to my roots as much as possible.
Oh, in Singapore! I had an exhibit there last November. It happened because of an exhibit that I did in 2008 in Pros Gallery. I built a ramp in the gallery then put some decks as well and I let the public use them, pinaskate-an ko talaga. I just wanted to see how I can pull it off with the gallery constraints. So from there, I got invited to Singapore. What I did there was put graphics on a ramp, but with the philosophy that it’s ought to be destroyed, it’s temporary and existential. It’s unlike the usual gallery setting where you can’t touch anything. In my exhibit, you can step on it, you can roll over it. Locally, my last exhibit was in January, Happily and Happy in the Blanc compound in Mandaluyong. I did acrylic and ink paintings on paper. Sabi ng iba it might look good in decks as well.
G r a v e r, R e s t , N u n o – y o u s e e those names several times as you t h r o t t l e a l o n g ED S A . T h e r e t h e y go again as you pass through Katipunan. As if it wasn’t enough, they’re right there again at Aurora. T h e n y o u w o n d e r, w h a t a r e t h e s e guys thinking signing their names at the walls of major streets with exciting psychedelic colors and impressive artistic lettering on bold, fearless surfaces? Who are these guys anyway? Don’t they get caught for vandalism? And h e y, d o t h e y w e a r s n e a k e r s t o o ? We talked to these guys and asked them the questions that you might want to ask them too. So here they are talking about graffiti, parents, running before 5-Os and the best sneakers to wear for it.
So ya’ll wear sneakers right? ALL: Yes. Good! What are your favorite style and brand of sneaker? Graver: I like Air Max’s because they’re so comfortable. But now I just wear Vans or Converse because they’re very simple and modest, so you don’t stand out in the streets. The last thing that you wanna do is stand out in the streets. Nuno: I’m ok with any kind of sneakers, actually. But most of the time I wear Adidas, Vans and Converse…sometimes ninja shoes.
G: Ah yeah! It was funny because when Nuno started writing graffiti, I was friends with someone who didn’t really like him. But I think I got Nuno’s number through another artist. And then I met Rest also through another graffiti artist. It’s so easy to connect because pretty much all the graffiti artists are active in the internet.
For you guys, what does it take to become a real graffiti artist?
How did the graffiti environment eventually grew?
N: You gotta have the heart. Kailangan mong bumomba. And you gotta have a nice tag.
G: I think it’s the media and the events. They put more attention to the urban-oriented events so they hyped graffiti. Kids got interested.
Speaking of tags, how did you choose the tags that you’re using?
Do you have a specific set of criteria on the sneakers that you buy?
N: One of the reasons why graffiti turned out to be like this is because of it being commercialized. But the level of bombing that was done by the earlier artists really helped a lot. For me that was the “Golden Age of Graffiti”, some two or three years ago here in the Philippines. At that time graffiti was so new and everyone knew each other but after that, too many people went into graffiti, a lot of them didn’t last.
G: Black, low-cut to make it low-profile.
N: As long as it’s comfortable.
N: Parang hayok na hayok sa simula e. Sometimes they stop because they got caught, or their parents forbidden them to write graffiti, or they don’t have money to buy paint. There are a lot of reasons.
Rest: I’m ok with anything too, as long as it’s for skateboard. Vans is my top choice.
R: Simple. Ok, now let’s go to graffiti. How did you start? G: It was in 2004 at Jakarta. I started during my first year in high school. One day after school, I just went out with my classmate to try out spraying cans. Both of us were really fond of doodling letters in class so we decided to just for once try the actual spray cans. From then on, I did it every week. I have a lot of spots there in Indonesia, actually more spots than I have here. N: I started just recently – I think around two or three years ago. I just aped Graver. When he got back to the Philippines (I still doesn’t know him back then), I saw his work then tried doing the same thing. Yun, tuloy-tuloy na. R: I think it was in 2007. I just saw Graver’s work and got inspired then I started with stickers tapos yun na. So it was you, Graver who started the craze? N: Ang graffiti sa Pilipinas, nangyari nung kay Graver. If not for Graver, there will be no graffiti in the Philippines. G: Too much credit! I wasn’t the one who started it, there were so many earlier artists than me but the thing is, they just didn’t get as much attention as I did. N: Graver is one of the first to bring style in the Philippines. Isa pati sya sa pinakamalakas bumomba – gumagawa talaga sya sa kalsada. Then after Graver, everyone followed suit. So how did you guys meet? N: Graver had a crush on me (laughs). He really asked around for my number.
R: Napansin ko, if you’re new in graffiti, you have more time na bumomba. But right now they just prefer legal spots over bombing. Does it still make sense if you’re in a legal spot? G: It’s not as exciting, but legal spots are actually where you can just take your time. It becomes an art session rather than a graffiti session because that’s where you just put details and experiment with styles. It’s still relevant but it’s not the true essence of graffiti. The point of graffiti is putting your name everywhere as much as possible and being consistent. If others’ interest in graffiti died down, why did you get hooked? N: It’s hard to explain. My only reason is I just really love graffiti. G: Yes! That’s the bottomline. I am just around graffiti artists everyday so it’s not something that I can just give up. It’s not something that I just intend to come and go to. Graffiti becomes a second nature. R: When you have gained lots of friends and met a lot of people, you can’t let go of it that easily. G: When you get to graffiti and you do it for years, you realize you’re not getting anything other than personal satisfaction. The people who actually are expecting more than that are those who easily give up. The ones who expect something in return, like maybe gaining popularity or getting money, they eventually find out that graffiti is not the answer. The people who usually last are those who truly just do it for nothing except self-fulfillment.
G: Graffiti is very subjective. There’s no one to tell you the right way, what’s good or not. There are actually styles that are ugly, but that’s actually how the graffiti writer wants it to be.
G: I chose Gravity at first, which has no meaning but just that it’s so close to the word graffiti. That’s how cheesy it is. But then the letters did not work out, so I kept twitching my name up from Grav to Gravo to Graver. N: I got my name from a Philippine myth, I just wanna have a Tagalog tag. Sometimes I put the letter E at the end of Nuno just so it would be a bit different. If you’re working with the same letters over and over again, you’re gonna get tired of it. You wanna switch it up and try different letters. R: Ako mahilig lang magpahinga. Tamad kasi ako eh (laughs). So which came first, the tag or the interest in graffiti? G: Actually, Gravity was the gamer name that I used for Counter-Strike when I wasn’t writing graffiti yet. N: Ako dati pa kong unano. Hinde, loko lang. What came first is really the interest in graffiti. When I started I was just doing random sketches, no tag yet. When did people start considering you as graffiti writers? When did your work get acknowledged or appreciated? G: I think it took me a good two years for people to actually appreciate it. I actually never talked about it, I never really hanged out with people who actually do the same thing so there was no one to it with other than maybe two or three people. That was a very interesting stage though, because that’s when you really actually go for yourself. There was no drive for unnecessary props from your peers. N: Mine is a bit instantaneous. When I started, nobody knows me. The only person who actually appreciates my work is my girlfriend then later on, my friends, when they found out that I was Nuno. Sometimes people mention that what I did looks good. R: Just recently because everybody saw my works in the internet. What was your first work? G: My first work was in Indonesia. I still remember how it’s like. It was a black and orange “Soul” and it was very small, very messy. I wish I had a picture of it. N: Mine’s under a bridge near Riverbanks. Black filling, white outline Nuno.
R: I just tried at our backyard. It was just one night, I was walking around and thought of trying it. It was so ugly! Hindi mabasa! So far, how many spots do you have? G: We don’t really count. I used to count how many spots I have when I was just starting, but later on I just lost count. N: I guess it’s a good thing that I don’t count as well so that there’s no limit to the number of spots. For now, you don’t see yourself stopping? G: No. An interesting story is, after a year of graffiti, I was actually thinking of stopping. I was bombing alone, then I got caught for the first time, it got me into thinking if graffiti was really worth it. I was thinking, I don’t know if I should be doing this all the time because it was such a waste of money, buying paints and all that. Eventually after two months I got back to graffiti. N: Right now, I hope not. I don’t wanna stop yet because I just started. I have so many things in mind, so many things that I want to do and so many spots that I want to bomb. R: I’m not really active especially in the bombing scene since money’s tight. But now I can afford it already so watch out! Watch out for the comeback!
then I ran in front of the car and went up the overpass. I texted them up to meet me there.
So they also know that sometimes, the police run after you?
N: But then the police saw us. I don’t know how they caught Graver, but I just hid behind a jeepney then put my hair down and took my jacket off. The police car even passed beside me and saw Graver inside.
R: Yes, they know. At first they get mad, then later on, they just remind me to take care.
G: I was detained the rest of the morning. I’ve always been taken advantage for speaking in English. They always assume that I’m rich and they always threaten me of deportation! What do you think are the best sneakers to wear when you go out there running before policemen? G: Air Max’s comfortable.
N: Vans. R: Me too, Vans ‘cause they’re light. G: And you don’t wanna be wearing expensive sneakers because you’re gonna be having paint all over them. How did your interest in graffiti start? Why graffiti out of all the other arts?
What are the steps in doing graffiti?
G: I actually like art. I’m not that bad in drawing but I’m also not like those Fine Arts students. I was into art ever since and graffiti is like something that caught my eyes – so colorful, so wild and spontaneous.
G: The safe way to start is pick a name and just keep drawing it over and over. When you’re comfortable, outline it on a wall, color it with the foundation colors, outline it again and then you can also add a background if you find time.
N: I want its illegal aspect because ironically, there are no restrictions in what you do. There’s no one to tell you what to do other than yourself. Another thing that I like graffiti is it’s like a public art, it’s for everyone, not just for galleries and the likes.
How about in choosing your spots?
R: I can draw but I’m not that good. Lettering is way easier than drawing a nose.
N: If you really want to get your name up, get high-profile spots where everyone who passes by can see your work, even those people who don’t know a thing about graffiti. G: Yeah, high-profiles spots will be nice – main streets, billboards. Nuno always climbs buildings. Have you ever been caught by the police? G: I’ll tell you this story because it includes all three of us. We all met up then we saw this spot along EDSA and we were like, “Let’s hit it up!” Nuno kept saying it wasn’t a good idea and he was right…a police car saw us. N: A police car passed then went close to us and stopped. I called them up and said we should go, but Rest here, he wasn’t listening. R: I couldn’t here him because I was drunk! N: So me and Grav ran. We don’t know what happened to Rest anymore. R: The police were still chasing me, so I went inside a street. The police car stopped
N: Or a hand. Do your parents know that you write graffiti? Do they approve of it? G: Actually my parents didn’t know that I write graffiti for two years. I think they knew but I kept hiding my cans in the house. It was only until I was caught doing it in school that they found out. My dad wasn’t mad, but I could say he was not supportive. N: Yeah, they know about it. It’s hard to keep it from them ‘cause I’m such an untidy person, I’m not good at keeping my stuff. They see all my sketches and the pain cans, so of course, what else would they think, right? For them it’s all negative. To quote my Mom, “basura”. R: They knew about it immediately since, as I said, I started on our backyard. And I also have sketches in my room. At first those were the only ones they saw, then later on they saw it in the streets. They were like, “Ikaw yung nagsusulat ng Rest no? Parehong-parehoh nung nasa kwarto tsaka nung nakita namin dun e! Kung san-san ka nakakarating, ah.”
N: I don’t inform them. I don’t want to burden them anymore since it’s my fault anyway. I just look for friends to bail me out. With all the hassle that you go through to do graffiti, do you carry a deeper symbolism in terms of design, style, etc.? G: Actually, no. Mine is just Graver with really nice colors. I’m not running into that deeper kind of thing like Hepe. Though I’ve been thinking of having an alter-ego that paints for deeper purpose. That’ll be fun. N: Wala. My only purpose is to get my name up. Sometimes I write something for a friend like a shout-out. How do you feel when you see your works scratched or crossed out? N: It sucks man, it really sucks. I really feel sad kapag “nababoy” yung mga gawa ko. You worked for that piece, undertook a lot of risks then some person would just cross it out dahil hindi makasabay, o dahil ayaw nya sa’yo. Whenever that happens, hindi mo dapat pinapatagal, balikan mo ka’gad yung spot. Tapos gantihan mo din yung kalaban. G: Yeah but it’s part of the game. We are going around the city painting what we want, why can’t they? What we do is either clean it up or do nothing about it. Do you have some unwritten rules as graffiti artists? N: It’s not really rules, it’s more of a code. Personally, I don’t write on churches, public schools and the likes. R: I don’t write in cars. But I do in trucks. Anything you want to say to those who want to write graffiti and those who are already writing? G: To those who want to start writing, be willing to get in trouble. But there will be so much fun on the way. N: Learn about the consequences. And in whatever you do, give it all out. R: You have to be ready to get caught. N: To the writers, musta na kayo? Kita-kita sa Expo. G: See you in THE Clothing. N: Tama na legal wall! G: See you in the streets! How cheesy (laughs).
TILT ADIDAS STAN SMITH FEAT. MARIAH
Photograph by Steve Tirona
Photograph by Steve Tirona
Photograph by Steve Tirona
Photograph by Steve Tirona
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