You might not find Geso on some Vimeo video with some fresh Hollywood editing, and were not doing this interview to sell some shoes to kids at Metropark, but Geso is your favorite writers favorite writer and its dope to see that these guys still exist. Anyone that has followed American graffiti over the last 2 decades has had to have seen the work of Geso, putting in work for so many years and keeping it real since the day he started his Graff career. Some of the best hands and throws you will ever see yet with a pure and unique piecing style. A True Triple Threat and reigning freight king, Geso pulls no punches and will always tell it like it is. This interview was no different and it is was good catching up with Geso and hearing about his transition and progression from one of the most bitten styles of the last decade to pushing his new current styles. Geso mentions his work might not be as abstract as some of the other artists we feature, but abstract is only one of the characteristics that i see in his work. Being able to bring a general mastery over letters and create an abstract aesthetic on the surface is amazing, but the letters are there and anyone that looks will appreciate the style even more when they find them. Couple that with the fact of being able to bring something unique and honest to the table in this day and age without compromising themselves is an accomplishment in its own right, much respect.
GF: First off i appreciate you taking the time to contribute to the Site. Man where do i start been so long since we’ve talked and seen each other feels like it was the late nineties and you where killing em with that distinct Geso Style. Now fast forward to now and you completely flipped the style and are now on some next level Geso flavor. So how you been and if you can summarize the transition in style to where you are now?
GESO: Im good man thanks for asking. I think the best way to sum up my style is, it started off with a heavy influence from Grey which is natural when you come up with some one. Not like biting or how things are now. After that i started doing a symmetrical bar type style that grew into a more technical version of such, and from there I started to fatten up. This was about the late 90′s when Ibd started and we wanted to bring our own flavor to the table, so this started what many call my “funk” type style. Our goal was to incorporate the Graff we loved and came up on, being the late 80′s to early 90′s N.Y. & L.A. with our style. Unfortunately my “funk” style was bitten to the fullest by many. I think this is when things started to go downhill as far as originality and integrity. People no longer push for their own style but would rather follow trends. Not to say i was the only one that had a band wagon of biters, but any one who takes that step to do their own thing you will get bit. So that’s why i decided to push it past the boundaries and make something so unique that if you bite it you will look foolish. I hear a lot of complaints about why i don’t do the “funk” style anymore and my new pieces aren’t as good, or there’s no letters in it. But i heard that about pieces i was doing 5-6 years ago and people are barely getting those now. My boy jest said i have like a 5 year curve on my Graff that people will understand it later down the line, oh well their loss haha. If you look at my pieces from the mid 90′s to now you will see its a natural progression of something I’ve created and i don’t think it could have gone any other way to tell you the truth.
GF: Wow. Damn that’s pretty sad when a style is bitten so much that people actually think it is ok to do so. Handing a style down to crew, or someone your bringing up is one thing, but in your situation as i remember things did get out of hand fast and if i remember correctly that was the beginning of the internet era of Graff. Shit the world was at every toys doorstep daily. Now it’s even more progressed, to a whole new level of immediate delivery worldwide through Flickr and all sorts of new social media trends popping up. Its a tough time to be in for a truly original artist that has something to contribute like yourself. You want to put your work out there for the world to see but at what cost? Will we all have to, like yourself go back to the drawing board and basically reinvent yourself for the pure reason of cats biting your style till its a trend? I’m a fan of your new new style, not that it is a good thing how you got there but it is dope that you were able to take the idea of how graffiti is viewed and going to be inevitably bitten and make that shit so unique that it cant be bit without being obvious. That’s Dope just the the thought of how you are approaching it is important. So what Next, we know your a Lifer any things your trying to accomplish in the next decade. I seen you paint some dope canvases also, is that a hobby or something you might get more into?
GESO: I don’t think that far ahead, I just do my own thing and try to do different stuff each time and keep progressing, moving forward on each piece I do. It’s so trendy to do art and Graff so I don’t get into much painting. People beg me for paintings so there’s a few floating around. As far as making a career out of art I don’t see that happening, there’s to many artists that are dope and too many writers think there going to make a living on art. If someone is going to pay me a ton of money to paint some art then I will, I’m not scared of making money. I just don’t think I will ever get rich off of art, Twist did it and he’s a exception. If someone is reading this and has money, and wants to make me famous then please holler at me and we’ll make a deal. I’m not a artist and I don’t do Graphic Design, I don’t sell the fuck out to the gayness
GF: Haha that’s whats dope about you, you always tell it like it is. So how do you feel about whats going on right now style wise in the scene? We’ve seen a lot of trends and fads coming and going.
GESO: Honestly there’s tons of trends now..lots of people biting people from Europe, Australia, New Zealand. Then doing their styles out here and acting like nobody knows. They do one that looks like Gebes and then get caught and they’ll do one that looks like 2tone get caught, then do one that looks like Askew or Berst and get caught and just keep switching styles and never do there own thing. Then you have all the dickriders that do 20 things in there life and go to Los Angeles and suck peoples dick to get in crews, while there doing my style and acting like they came from nowhere. I try to stay as far away from trends as possible. Im not going to lie, i have peoples stuff that i like to look at on Flickr but i look at the same people and there mostly my friends. I look at there stuff to see what there doing so i don’t ever do stuff like them. I never want to be labeled as a biter, thats probably the worst label you can have as a writer. That’s saying your whole identity and everything you have done and worked for is stolen from other people. There is still people that bite stuff blatantly and walk around like there the shit, and everybody knows. They must feel like shit or they are just way caught up in there head man..hahah its so funny trends that are going on now.
.Outline your piece with the most colors you have
.Do your piece with a fat cap and flare it
.Do checker patterns in your fill in
.Paint super clean and use fancy paint
.Trying to do tricky things
.Paint a legal wall and take 5 days.
.Wearing fedora hats
.Sagging your pants and having a boxer puff in the back
.Doing graphic design
.Making t-shirt companies
Stay away from me if you have at least 3 of these on the list and you didn’t come up with the shit.
GF: Haha.. damn man you pretty much have to cut off 2/3 of writers now days to find someone not on that list besides the cats that originated some of those trends. What sucks even more is that crews also have changed drastically, even some of the older more established ones. You got crews letting trendy writers in there crew to keep themselves relevant, and you got the new business crew model. Shit is all out of wack. I don’t know whats next for the scene but if the way crews are being ran is any telling of whats to come, shit is going to be chaos for a minute. To me I feel the lack of Elder writers schooling kids and bringing cats up like the old days, now it leads to kids just finding shit on the internet and going at it. Letting the computer teach them style history all courtesy of google. I cant fault them for that, they want to learn and they might know any better. But at some point they need to understand and seek out some kind of real schooling and tradition. Most dope writers are driven by ego and wont even take the time to school the next generation. So shit, its a catch 22 i guess. Where does the fault lie in your opinion if any?
GESO: Well this is a sore subject with me. Me and my friend jester took this kid under our wing and did sketches for him and tags and throw ups, schooled him over 7 or 8 years and taught him the old way, basically molded him into a good writer. He had good hand styles thanks to us and he was getting good, but when he thought he was getting good he thought he was too cool and didn’t need us anymore. He used us as a stepping stone to make a career out of Graff. He was more into impressing people and not actually doing Graff, then he went and he started going to L.A. and biting Revok and Msk guys, mixing Ibd style with theirs. Basically kissed the right peoples ass and got in Msk without doing shit. Then he totally turns his back on us cause he thinks he’s great and all that. And he acts like he just came from nowhere now, like he just popped out of nowhere and we didn’t help him do anything. The sad thing is we knew all these people before him and he just looks like an idiot, even people in his crew don’t like him Yet he still uses the styles we gave him, and he doesn’t like us..hahah ..its so funny man how are you gonna use my styles and hate me. That’s a joke, you know. When we were coming up you had to put in work to be noticed, and you learned from the previous generation. They schooled you and you were proud of it. You respected these people, they were your mentors and you would never let them down cause they gave you everything and you would be grateful for that. Now these kids go on the internet find a style they like and go buy some Montana, paint there gay name like the people they like they get good meet them and there in the crew. No imagination, and I’m not fucking impressed. I guess the fault lies in that new people just don’t know shit about the old people and how it was then. I took this kid to the freights, and i don’t go with just anyone, but anyways i took this kid and he was about to do a piece and i looked at the train and he was a bout to paint over a Sien 5. I was like hey idiot what the fuck are you doing, thats Sien 5. He’s like who’s that, i never went again with that fucker. They just don’t know shit and don’t care about the older guys and the old ways. My friend told me they just don’t know anything don’t be mad, they have nobody to look up to that’s good and nobody wants to teach them cause there idiots and there’s not that many people to teach. When shit like what happened to me happens, to older guys they are weary. We got family’s and life and a routine and we hustle, we don’t want to break that for some fag ..you know..
GF: I feel you on that, its a tough situation when you give and get shit in return. That’s fucking nuts about your ex-pupil, really daaaamn? Hearing that story makes me just wonder WTF is up with this next generation of writers. I don’t know if its just the states or what, but the energy and vibe i get from Europe and the rest of the world is way more humble and open to new shit. Seems like there a lot more honest with there styles even if there not the trendiest. Don’t get me wrong there are a lot of cats out there biting the shit out of the stuff in the states also. There will always be biters but when i talk to other writers that are doing some progressive shit there always humble cats. To me a lot of this sponsorship, T-shirt company shit has got a lot of writers twisted like you mentioned earlier. There are dope writers that wont even paint a piece without getting paid that’s just weird to me. I’m not gonna knock anyone’s hustle, we all got our own and we all do what we got to do. But shit i Hustle to make sure i can paint, and that is whats still pure for me. If i had to get paid to do a piece i probably wouldn’t be able to experiment and find new ways to do shit. So lets get back to style, what do you think about a lot of guys starting to experiment with the abstract stuff. This site wasn’t to start another trend just represent the other artists doing some progressive other shit.
GESO: Well i think my stuff was just natural progression and evolution. Some people just start out with a different thought on what Graff is for them. People say they cant read what im doing, well i didn’t do it for them to read i did it for me, and i can read it and i know what it says and that’s all that matters. Being happy about what your producing and having fun is what its all about, if you can read it big deal i did it to try new shit and step the fucking game up, so I’m able to say in this gay scene that i created something original. Plus I’ve done a ton of readable stuff and i just want to do different styles and do new letters every time i paint. If you look at all my stuff its all different letters..never the same. If people want to do abstract stuff then that’s what they should do, there’s no rules in this shit. For me my stuff isn’t all that abstract like some people you have on your site. But i guess compared to regular Graff it is. I do abstract art i have done paintings since i was 15 but for me my art is completely different than my Graff. I keep them separate, I don’t try to combine the two. That’s to Art fag for me, all I’m saying is its all about the person man. If you want to bite Dondi and paint his style on freights then that’s your choice, if you want to to abstract stuff or art fag shit faces allover town then do it. Im not the Graff keeper that calls the rules. But what i don’t like is people that don’t do shit and try to talk. If your going to open your mouth and have a say in this shit you need street cred. You have to do shit period, no matter what style it is.
GF: Real Talk. Me i really have no bias for certain shit a lot of people think that I’m all about abstract but i appreciate some dope readable funk, but rarely is it done with anything original. Same thing with street art there is some cool shit that i can say i don’t hate and then there is just some random artists that cant get a gallery show and they read an article on Banksy, so what better way to get famous than paste some shit on the street that they took hours making in there art studio. You seem to be able to sum it up, its all about putting in the work and getting respected from the street up. Real cats can smell it right away if it is fake, whether it be some kid biting Banksy or some kid biting Bates. To me your style might not be as abstract but I feel the progression and honesty, i will feature many writers in the future on here that wont be all abstract. Its just more about being on the tip of the sword making trends not following them You know. Thanks for taking the time man this was a great conversation that a lot of kids out there need to pay attention to. You got anything else you want to talk about or get off your chest?
GESO: Ya i have some shit to say like always, if your doing this for money you better get a job. If you talk shit on Flickr under a fake name and delete it your a bitch. If you diss my shit with no name your a hater. If your mad because i cover up crap then your a fucking retard. If your mad cause we paint tons of reefers then your a jealous bitch. Don’t be mad cause you suck and you have been painting 20 years, the more people talk shit about getting gone over the more shit were gonna do. Don’t bite my styles and act like your not my friend, and then talk behind my back when you still rock my styles. Don’t rob my house after i support your girlfriend and your gay dogs for 6 months, and you gave my family infatigo you dirty fuck. Don’t paint 20 freights and make a freight crew, your not doing shit. Don’t bite my people in Europe and try to do there styles here, we’re watching and your a complete fucking loser. Dont wear you pants super tight and sag them with your boxers puffing out while your wearing a v neck t shirt, and trying to be a pick up artist. Dont get molested when your a kid by your step dad. Get some fucking Selsun Blue for the flakes, and get rid of the psoriasis on your fucking head. And clean your ears you dirty fuck. You people know who you are, dont air my spots out on the net. Rip Sope One aka Billy Bronze gggg..
All flicks courtesy of IBD Flickr