On January 19, 2013, the event that will mark new beginnings for 2013 for many Graffiti Writers in the Los Angeles area took place at the Graffiti House LA presented by Inkstains. Judging this battle were Shandu LABS, Risk WCA AWR, Tempt STN and Dcypher CBS.
The morning of this event, I made Pryer and Aloy a beautiful breakfast for champions, while Pryer and he were getting ready; Aloy was working on the final fixes of his sketch as he kept on saying “Ima take this shit”. While we were cracking jokes about which one of them was going to win; I kept telling them that I knew that either one of them was going to make us all proud and bring the victory home or sure enough Aloy takes first place.
The contestants began setting up for their battle at around 10:00am, which gave them plenty of time to complete their piece before 6:00pm. which was the time they would announce the winner. This battle’s concept was genius because they were only able to use two different tones of colors, Silvers and Blues, no characters, no futuristic details or animation, these types of colors go way back in history for many OG players in the game. As Ukai SKA, mentioned to me that these were the basic tones they would use because when they hit bombs in either the freeways or alley ways; they were easy to see because of the flare and reflection of the silvers. It was all about the letters when you use these colors and now I understand why Besk had this concept in mind; to bring out the true essence of what Graffiti is all about and take it back to focusing only on letters as the main subject matter; this event was Graffiti at its best. The Graffiti House LA hosted their first 2013 event and Mel, Besk, Vyal our Birthday Boy Host and the rest of the staff did an outstanding job at executing this event in the most organized and professional manner. The site was divided into two different spaces; in one side they had the bar, art gallery and DJ which by the way rocked great music from beginning to the end. For sure I took his business card to book him for any future events. The vendors were also in this room, in which for the first time I took part of this vending, I set up my own little booth which was a blessing because artists like Aloy, Pryer, Zender, Roosk gave me art work and merchandise to sell and not to brag but my booth was a hit, you were able to buy anything with price ranges of .25 cents to 35.00. I had a variety of slappies, black books, signed spray cans by Aloy & Pryer, mini canvases of their work as well. And for the first time I introduced the photography by the one and only Pryer One WCA, SKA, UTI which were in black and whites with silver deco throw ups and quotes. They were a hit and sold out on the first hour. Mute the World Shop hooked it up with some gear, stickers and pieced up hats as well. So , I think I will be doing more if this vending, I must admit that it was much fun to have next to me Pesky Oner, as she helped out so much and I couldn’t have done it without her, must say it again, Thanks for all your help homegirl!.. it was very productive to support my fellow artists and sell their works while they painted on the other side of the venue, which was a bigger space, all black in its walls, with every contestant with enough elbow room space to concentrate and execute the best they could bring.
Back to the Graff, it was fun and thrilling from the moment it started till the last minutes we stood there closing shop. The crowd was extremely happy according to the feedback we received as the show was progressing, but the outreach for this show was not only for the public that came to support but was also on live stream! People from all over were able to enjoy from the comfort of their homes and computer desktops, our lovely host and friend Delany and the Huskey Radio team made sure the public at home or anywhere else in the world had the best footage of this amazing Graffiti Battle.
Within the crowd there were writers from many crews in the Los Angeles area, SKA, UTI, CBS, OTR, LOD, WCA, AWR, K4P, DCV, and many others among them, also the presence of some of the top magazines and press media coverage one can think of, such as LA Weekly, Juxtapox Magazine, La Taco, Piece Magazine and many other photographers documenting for the books. I also got to hang out with the one and only Eriberto Oriol, the legendary photographer and got to takes photos together although I must admit that one of the most embarrassing moments happened when he asked to use my camera and take a picture of me standing by Zuco’s K4P piece. My cheap little camera was not functioning and he was a great sport as he attempted to take a snap shot with my camera which push button did not work. Later, he advised that because there were too many silvers and reflections of light in the shots; my camera was not cooperating so not to feel bad about it, and he was able to take a shot!. It is now my priority to get a good camera. In the crowd was also Steve Grody best known for the photographer that began to document graffiti walls such as the Belmont Tunnel and many other yards. He’s got an amazing collection of many of the early works of graffiti writers who are now legends. Anyways, as I mentioned there were many key players of the graffiti scene supporting the contestants and of course the SKA Mob made its strong presence, they were deep and supporting Aloy and Pryer from the early beginning to its ending glory; that is what family is all about.
As the event progressed, more and more people were showing up and our booth was always surrounded by fans and Graff members signing books and putting their role calls on the wall that was behind us. We were joined by great company such as Anger from CBS and The Crewest Gallery sign and I Wuz There selling their merchandise next to our booth. Thank you Anger for all the laughs! And for scaring the shit out of me a couple of times.
I must say that the only way to give the battle justice on how it all went down is not by words but by actually being there but if you were not able to be there, photos will. So please take the time to view all the pictures in this post so you can get an idea of how the battle progressed. I cannot speak for all of them, but it was great to see them all exercising their skills with only two colors, this was their opportunity to show off their skills as true writers and for the OG’s we had in this battle. There are many different styles out there but it all comes down to letters and it was a privilege to see how it all developed. As the time to announce the winner, I was so anxious and wanted it to be over already, this was my first time watching a battle in which my man Pryer One and his closest friend Aloy did something like this, so I felt like my heart was going to burst out of my chest, as I anxiously tried to be patient and not let the guys knows how overwhelmed and excited I was over this; they needed full focus on this. Which I know can be hard to do because although they had their ears plugged to concentrate, they couldn’t avoid friends, fans and journalists and media to interrupt them to either get a few words of encouragements, to the endless Hello’s, them signing black books or taking pictures. Who said guys cannot multitask?…they were doing it all, so I don’t want to hear any more the excuse that men cannot multitask because I saw it at first hand that they are capable of doing this so..lol!
So the time was 5:30pm. The writers had to stop doing their piece and we were all trying to gather around to find out the finale of this battle; that is going to take it all because honestly there were great pieces done that night. My top favorites of course were Pryer; his piece was so clean, Aloy, which if you didn’t know my favorite are his Greas pieces. Besk, the only way I can describe his piece is with one word: Sexy. The curves and concept were great; it was really pleasant for the eye. Fearo and Zucos were pretty fresh too. All the pieces were great but there was only one winner.
So the time was finally here, we all gather around the judges; SHANDU LABS, RISK WCA AWR, TEMPT STN & DSCYPHER CBS. Mel and Vyal One, the Birthday Boy who did us the honor to announce the winner for the SILVER TRUE BLUE GRAFFITI BATTLE OF 2013, We were all by the entrance of the venue, all the SKA’s awaited together to hear it too, Vyal One shouted: AND THE WINNER IS : ALOY!!!!!! we all cheered and yelled and rushed Aloy to congratulate him for this success, as he stood there with this humble smile; I don’t think it had registered to his head that he was the winner, everybody was shouting SKA MOB along with Aloy, we were all so very proud. I remember when they said his name, I cut across the crowd with tears of joy and excitement to take pictures of him along with his brothers and sisters from SKA, as Risk, Vyal, Besk and the other judges came across the crowd to award him his gigantic $1,000 check and congratulate him. I must say that everybody was proud of him especially his crew members, as the hugs and shout outs across the venue paid their respects to the winner of the night, which he very well deserves for all his hard work and mad skills. As he gave shout out to his family SKA MOB, THE SEVENTH LETTER AND MSK. The judges mentioned afterwards that it was a close tide between him and PRYER which makes it more exciting to know that SKA was in the house and that night belonged to them. As many gathered around him and shared stories about him, Steve Grody also mentioned to me that he was very proud of him and he was glad that he was one of the first to document Aloy’s work during his early stages in the Graff Life. We were all able to see Pryer & Risk all smiles to see him take 1st. place. But in reality we all knew he would bring it home. The night ended with him and his fellow artists and friends drinking with cheers, taking pictures and going over every detail of the win
Much love and respect to you ALOY SKA, MSK, FTL. Great way to start off 2013!
-Monica Smiles Tobon
Q & A WITH BESK UCA LOD
First of all I want to congratulate you in a very successful show. it was pretty organized and all the artists and staff were taken care of, so thank you Besk.
Thank you for your support.
We all really love the concept of writers only using two tone colors. Is there a reason why you chose those colors? What was your vision for this battle?
I think with the tones of colors available to artist now a days , we’ve lost a lot of the letter structure that was necessary when I started painting, so I wanted to do a show where you had to come with dope letter structure or go home. No hidding behind colors or characters; just letters.
That is true. What was the conversation like when you starting brainstorming this? Was it an idea that just came to mind or was this something that you have been wanting to do to bring back the essence of what graffiti is all about; which is doing dope letters?
It all started like everything else in this world, over some cold beers. Im a true believer that Graff is and has always been about letters and I love what the next generation is doing, but I think weve lost A LOT of what Graffiti is, it’s turned really artsy and a ton of color and background, where at times the letters are not even the main focus, but only an after thought.
I think your battle was very well executed; how do you feel about the results? The pieces that were executed? If there is anything that you would like for everybody to know or learn; what would it be?
Overall, I think the battle as an event was excellent. We had the old, the in between and the future of graffiti under one roof and I cant think of another event that has done that in a very long time. As far as the pieces, I was hopping for a little more creativity from the fellas, but I think everyone did a dope piece and I can imagine how difficult it must of been for the judges.
Anything you could have done different?
No, I think at the end of the night, the walls spoke and my lil bro Aloy came with it and became the first winner of our first battle!
Very well said Besk, we are all proud of him too.
I know you are a real busy man so I want to thank you for taking the time to talk to me. I appreciate that and looking forwards more events from the one and only Besk One. Any final words before we wrap it up?
YES, thanks to all the artists, the judges, EVERYONE at INKSTAINZ and at Graffiti House LA for all your help and support and thanks to everyone that came thru and showed us all love, the Silver and True Blue Battle wouldnt have been a succes with out all of you..
Much love to my UCA and LOD family, you guys give me the energy to keep on rocking it, year after year!
Thanks Besk….Pryer says AMEN to everything you said
DCV not DVC
Thank you!…Earlee Bird…been catching a couple of typos in there…lol
Very nice story Monica, Where’s the pictures? I want to check them out.
they are in the same post..just scroll down and check out the interview with Besk
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