I'M IN MIAMI BITCH! QUAKE Q&A

April 22, 2014.

On left is QUAKE of MSG working on his piece for the REEFA memorial wall in Wynwood. Pictured in the middle is ERAZE.

     The first time I ever met QUAKE he was working on the REEFA Memorial wall in Wynwood. He peppered me with questions about why I was photographing, what was my motivation. It was a good repartee. QUAKE let's his work do the talking. He along with a host of other artists are part of SOME LIKE IT HOT at HISTORY MIAMI. Go check him out!

What do you write? Are you in a crew?

I write QUAKE, and I represent for MSG, TSC, B5E, 28, and the Iries Crew. 

In what city did you start painting in the streets? Do you feel your work has influenced the community in return? If so, how? Is there a relationship between the artist and the community in which they work?

I started painting in Miami, and continue to paint in Miami. I’ve always felt that graffiti art IS the voice of the streets, the community. Although we’ve had our share of problems with police and authorities, the actual citizens of Miami have embraced us and our works. You can feel the energy whenever you’re painting a wall in Wynwood, Little River, Overtown, Little Havana, Little Haiti, Opa-Locka, Hialeah, etc. The people in those neighborhoods love it. And we try to appeal to them too. We try to make sure the content of our paintings is appropriate for the neighborhood that it’s being painted in.

Did you go to school or are you self taught? 

I went to school, but am a self-taught graffiti artist. School just helped me to discipline my approach and to be able to articulate my thoughts. Critiquing is a big thing you learn to do in art school.

How did you get started in the arts and why?

I was always interested in comic book art and once I started to notice the graffiti in my South Miami and Kendall neighborhoods (early-mid 90’s) I was hooked. I knew I had to get involved and work hard. The stuff I was seeing was so amazing. I wanted to be that guy. There was so much mystery surrounding these walls that were popping up overnight.

How long have you been working in the streets?

I started doodling in my neighborhood around 1993, and painted my first pieces in 1995. I wasn’t very good, obviously, but by the late 90’s I had a good grasp of what was going on.
Who or What inspires you the most?

Really my crews keep me inspired. These are the guys I know well and it’s always interesting to see what they’re coming up with. It’s important to keep up with them, like a competitive spirit that is always alive within our crew's ranks...

What should the general public know about street art? What stereotype about street art/graffiti do you hate the most?

The general public shouldn’t really know anything, that’s the whole fun of it! Just sit back and enjoy it for what it is, or don’t. It doesn’t matter to us. When I started it was considered a big problem, a disease to the city. Now it’s become so much more acceptable, you can even make a career out of it! I guess it bugs me when people assume that graffiti crews are equivalent to gangs. It’s different.

Are you a full time artist? Do you have a day job? Is it best to be full time artist or not worry about it and make your $$$ elsewhere, that way you can paint what and how you want, which one offers a more creative outlook?

I started my own company with some comrades, specializing in creative design, murals, signage, and even printing. It allows me to make my money doing what I love, whether it’s commercial or personal, I can put it all into the program, and get the rest of the crew involved accordingly. It allows me to have my cake and eat it too, in a sense.

What are you working on now?

More walls. Gotta take back our neighborhoods from the out of towners. Miami has become over saturated with murals and graffiti, never thought I’d say it, but it’s getting ugly. Time to clean up. We’re working on a few Miami-centric themes for these new walls.

What do you hope to achieve or accomplish by putting your work in the street?

I love painting in the streets, the energy, the vibes, the community spirit that comes with it. Of course there’s the visibility. A good spot will be seen by thousands of people a day, whether they like it or not…..

Now that you are a part of the SOME LIKE IT HOT! exhibition at the HISTORY MIAMI Museum how does that change your perspective on street art and muralism? Do you think the communities perception of street art is changing?

I know the perception is changing. Just the fact that History Miami reached out to us speaks volumes. Miami is excited about what it has, but time will tell how that translates into opportunities for the artists. We’re not going anywhere, so I guess we’ll just sit back and see how it plays out! 

Thanks, check out more of QUAKE'S work..... http://cushygigs.com/