By the way, this is what we did before the interview. We talked with Derek about the very first “pieces” he saw, “acid boys” and “a barrel of monkeys” in culture, local madness and LA graffiti that still ugly.
Photo credit: Fresh Derek
What did you think when you first saw graffiti? How it was?
It started in summer 1998 I was 15. My mother would take the freeway to drop me off at summer school. On our route.
I would just look out the window and look at Graffiti. After school i would walk the train tracks and freeways to get a closer look. I appreciated the styles of the different names and colors. I would wonder how the hell did they get up there? What dose it mean? And why there is so much of it, but I never see who or what is doing it.
And what motivated/inspired you to take the can and start to draw on the streets? Tell us about your graffiti roots.
While in summer school “or any school for that matter” I always doodled instead of class work. One day a classmate noticed my drawings and asked the age old question: “Do you write?”
I replied: “Like poetry?”
He laughed and said: “No, graffiti”. I said no, but I think it’s cool. He continues to look at my drawings and asked me to be from his crew of writers. I agreed, then was asked “whats your Graffiti name?”
My reply “Wow I get to chose my own name?” That's when I got very excited. At that moment I thought of Akira the anime, so I chose Akira. The rest is history.
Tell us about the way how you found your own style?
Practicing everyday, and also applying the technics I learn from other writers and friends along my journey. Never Quitting when things got rough and I would get in trouble. Always being excited of what I can do next.
You’re member of ACID BOYS. How did you create the team?
I took LSD with ESPN… then we just came up with it. The Marines need troops, Graffiti needs Acid Boys.
At this time, world graffiti has changes. More people run away from wildstyle to simple or ugly lettering. So, What’s nowadays LA trends?
I just sit back and look, I can’t hate on someone who does graffiti. People make changes in their approach, its natural. Everything has been done, but what matters is how you flip it.
Our friends from russian graffiti scene once said that “ugly style won”. Are you agree with it?
Graffiti has and always will be ugly. when I see it I decide if it sucks or if theres stuff i like about it. Graffiti writers are a barrel of monkeys.
What things are important to you in street graffiti and bombing?
Making sure you are unseen in the act most importantly. Owning what you do, having balls, and making them letters dance.
In your illustrations, there are a lot of weapons, religious themes, drugs and human manipulation. Is it a reflection to things around you or something else?
I have always liked comics, cartoons, and all the kid shit. sure its a reflection of things around me if my action figures came with weapons and weird limbs. Plus I think drawing shit like that is cool. Also something else, there might be a devil living inside of me telling me to draw stupid shit.
Tell us about funny and scary things in your hood.
Read “The East-sider Los Angeles”, that would give you an Idea. I see funny crack heads from time to time. People get shot too and that's scary.
Few weeks ago PAPERWORK NYC published your zine “DICE & TEEH”. Tell us about it: how it happen?
I woke up one day. it pretty much made itself. You can get a numbered copy from PAPERWORK.COM
Did you know somebody from Russian graffiti scene?
My friend SPACER was in New York when I met him, real fun guy. He had his lady friend keep look out for police when we would paint.
FRESH DEREK / STORE