This Interview was conducted in 2008 in Issue #6 (Throwback)
When it comes to LA Graff Pioneer Galo, Make or Time, whichever way you wish to refer to him as, it is almost impossible to define him as an artist. Hailing from the inner city streets of Los Angeles, Make, who refuses to define himself, has definitely put in some work not only as a graffiti artist but a person in general. Cutting through the long intro, let’s start with the basics and hear it straight from the mouth of The Babe…
U$M: So how long have you been writing?
Make: Awe man I’ve been writing for like 30 years now…I remember back in the 70’s – naaaaaah! (laughing) Just kidding man. That’s just a little inside joke amongst us writers. Fools always be adding like five to ten years to their game. I’ve been writing a little over 20 years now.
U$M: What is the reason for writing Make & Galo?
Make: Well Galo is my given name. (pretty tight huh?) Make came after I was Time. Although my first name was Mine, then I switched it to Fraze. I went through a glut of names before I stuck with Time for a bit. But I still wasn’t happy with it though. I remember one day watching Styles Wars and seeing this kat Mare139 and thought to myself, “dang he’s pretty dope!” I also liked his name. So I swapped the R with a K and Make was created and was like “yeah!…Make! That’s me!” And Make is pretty much what it means: to create, to produce, to cause to exist. I am the Maker – your Maker! (smiles)
U$M: What were the first crews you were affiliated with?
Make: The first crew I was ever affiliated with was HR (Hit-N-Run). That was with my boy Krenz/Yem and a couple other heads. About a year or so later, STN (Second 2 None) was formed. Other crews afterwards were AM7 (Angelz of Madness), WCA (West Coast Artists) – although I never really hit up WCA. I also, sort of, stopped writing AM7. I’ve been asked to be in other crews but I’ve kindly turned them down as I’ve also been “kindly” turned down to be in other crews I may have wanted to be in. But I do often romanticize the thought of not being in any crew.
U$M: Who or what are some of your inspirations, mentors, or influences?
Make: Anything that’s related to letters and fonts and whatnot. Things such as: rock-band logos, surfer and stoner letters, the punk and skate scene, gang-writing, Mexican blackletter signage, old rock-art posters, the 80’s, pin-up posters, vintage ads, calligraphy, Haight and Ashbury, ancient scrolls, nice printing, etc. I’ve also, as of more recent, been fascinated with Hiragana, Katakana and Kanji. Basically I appreciate every characteristic form of lettering. The whole Hip-Hop movement inspired me as well.
As far as mentors or influences? There was Krenz/Yem-AM7, who was one of my first major influences. The KGB (Kids Gone Bad) crew whom only lived a few blocks away from me. My biggest influence though was RickOne-K2S (Kill To Succeed) who came later. Other influences throughout the years have been, of course, my crewmates like: Defer, Skept, Sine (R.I.P.), Doc43, Relik, Tempt, Easie (R.I.P.). Other artists that have influenced me too were Geo (R.I.P), Prime, Risky, Primo-Dee and the list can go on. Most of them still influence me today. Many other graff heads influence me today too such as: Eyer, Panic, Size, Peque-VRS, and so on – Even I influence myself.
U$M: Where are some of the places you wrote, did pieces, had art shows etc., shown your work at or whatever?
Make: I’ve painted at yards in LA such as: The Pan Pacific Theatre, The Belmont Tunnel, The Jefferson Yard, The UCA Yard, The 2 Yard, Santa Fe Yard, The Motor Yard and too many to list. I’ve rocked walls in Mexico, Hawaii, Milwaukee, Miami, San Diego and hopefully this year Japan and Europe. I’ve exhibited in galleries throughout LA, in Taiwan, in Mexico. I’ve also exhibited in a couple museums.
U$M: Do you hate or love George Bush?
Make: Neither. I really don’t care for the dude. But for the most part I love all peeps man. Regardless of what they do, have done, think or say. I am a lover man. I always try to see the best in people. People often fail me and disappoint me but I try not to let it get to me as I myself may do the same, right? And it’s not that I set myself up for it but I guess in a way I have. I guess we all do in a sense and that has taught me to do things without expecting anything in return. For the most part I nourish having faith in people even if it’s someone like Bush. If I don’t, people wouldn’t have any kind of faith in me. And that’s even if any do.
U$M: Who are some of the cats you write with?
Make: There’s quite a few actually. Maybe too many to name but to name a few I paint/write with my boy: Big SizeOne-OTR, Panic-LOD, Cab-LOD, Ware-SH, Eyer-SH/STN, Unit-LOD, with my boyees from the crew Sketch, Relic, Heaven and Teler. I‘ve also painted a lot with homie Besk-UCA and RickOne of the K2S crew. I‘ve been blessed and privileged to not only meet many great artists but also paint with them too. But overall I have been blessed to paint with the greatest and the wackest of all writers – myself.
U$M: What is your definition of graffiti?
Make: My definition of graff would vary from one end to another. One day it’s this and then next day it’s that. It is black to white, sad to glad, long to short, dead to alive, good to bad, ugly to beautiful, clean to dirty, straight to round, to mean and be meaningless, to create, to destroy, to vanish, to appear, to enrich, to strip, to unite, to divide, to stop, to continue, to be and not be, to incarcerate, to emancipate, to increase, to decrease, to be real and be fake and to be Make and not be Make and vice versa all.
U$M: Do you like blondes, brunettes, or red heads?
Make: I like blondes, brunettes, redheads, jet-black hair, dyed hair, dark, light, pale, tall, short, skinny, petite, midgets, giants, Latinas, Whites, Asians, Blacks, Indians, Armenians, did I say Asians? Long hair, short hair, no hair, two arms no arms, two legs no legs. I like them all man. As long as they are pretty smart, cool and have a great personality. That is always key! Overall, ALL women are beautiful. E-ve-ry single one of them.
U$M: What is your take on recreational drug use?
Make: I been clean for a while now man. Soooooooooo really? No comment. I just don’t encourage it. I guess that qualifies as a comment huh? (laughs)
U$M: Since you’ve been writing so long and you’re a veteran of graff what do you think of the new generation of writers opposed to the old school?
Make: Well I believe many new-school writers have no concept of lettering or posses fundamental graff values. The majority of today’s graff looks like a regurgitation of what is seen in magazines and the internet. No one pays dues anymore and no one seems to go through the developmental process many of us old-school writers went through. Many want the instant coffee mix know what I mean? There are, although, many new-schoolers who do have it and know it, execute it and produce nice work. You can see the foundation, the composition, and the understanding of letters in their work. Another thing too, many new-school kats also have no knowledge of graffiti history. And at times some of the history or knowledge some have is false information that is perpetuated through and fueled by gossip and rumors or even site threads or forums.
U$M: Who are some of the old-school guys still painting and what do you think about them still painting?
Make: There’s quite a few who still paint. Many have sort of faded out completely while others still stay somewhat connected, not necessarily in “the scene” but through other artistic mediums with the graff core fundamentals.
As far as some of them still painting? I think it’s dope of course. I think it’s important they do. You gotta understand. A lot of these old-school kats were looked up to and for many to witness them painting and/or paint is a treat. Shoot, It’s a treat for me too. But I do think that old-school kats have a measure to meet though. They should still be able to maintain themselves at a level and skill set that still reps and sets standards. We need to represent that we aren’t all washed-out writers, has-beens, you know? We should still be able to hang. Not to the point where we are out mobbing the streets and dangling off cliffs but be able to bring some fire when we paint. Be able to bring technique, style. Outline our own pieces, shoot…even finish our pieces for that matter.
And I must say that although it is dope that a lot of old-schoolers are coming out of the woodwork to rock and paint, I do think that some old-schoolers need to grab a feel and understanding of what is going on today in the graff scene. Many gotta remember that it is no longer 1985 or 89 or even 91 or whatever year it was they dropped out of the scene. Things have changed. Too many writers are time warped in their time. I find it funny, almost sad, that many come out of a like a 10-15 year retirement, do a few pieces or do something for the LA graff scene and all of a sudden they wanna call shots, make all these changes, criticize every piece and even re-hash old beef. Unfortunately, what happens with these kind of kats is the “crash and burn” process. As quickly as they came in they are gone again. I usually give’em maybe two years tops.
I don’t know man! My advice for old-schoolers is to chill, learn the ropes, know the haps, know the whose, take it easy. Shoot, even learn what material is out there and what peeps are hip to. (laughs) Like some fool came up to me, with attitude even, trying to tell me about this new marker they “discovered”, waving in it my face and all and it’s been like around for like…eh-ver, you know? I am like ohkaaaaay dewd! (laughs) That stuff cracks me the heck up. I can’t even be like “dewd, where have you been?” cause I know! (laughs hard)
U$M: How would you describe yourself?
Make: I wouldn’t. But if had to I’d say, I am who is not. I am the wackest writer. The toyest. The biggest biter. The lamest. The most annoying. The most hated. (oh wait! that’s someone else’s title) The biggest liar. The rejected. The opportunist, the ignorant, the naïve, the oblivious, the unwanted, the unskilled, the washed-out writer, the old-schooler who I just said came out of retirement…I am the complete opposite of what I’ve said I’ve ever been. I am the exaggerator. I am the chief of sinners. I am the non-existent element in the graff scene. The fictional figure in a story. The “here today gone tomorrow”. I am no one.
U$M: Any last words?
Make: Yeah – later!