Ina Wudtke

'Bom 5' teaching 'Neid' readers about graffiti, Bronx history and the incredible comic artist Vaughen Bode

If you ever get the chance to visit 'Bom 5' at home in the Bronx, you know when you first step through the door, what he's all about. The now 31 years old graffiti artist has his apartment packed with tons of photobooks of his work, blackbooks, videotapes, spraycans, markers, and canvases - like I never saw it before. The crazy Puertorican 'Bom 5', who has been painting for over 20 years now, is also dancing for 'Rock Steady Crew' by the way. 'Crazy Legs' is his cousin, both of them danced at the 'Rock Steady anniversary party 95' in 'Rock Steady Park' N.Y. City (July 22).

Bom 5: The first crew I was down with was just a street crew, called the 'Melivell Boys'. My block was different, there were just a lot of white kids into sports. So I used to go to other areas of the Bronx where it was more alive with breaking, hip-hop and graffiti. Places like 'East Tremont Ave', '180th Street', 'West Farms', 'Bronx River', 'St. Anns', 'South Bronx', 'Tremont Park', '183 Davison Ave.', '183 Contona' and 'Belmont Park'.
'Melivell Street' was the name of my block, so we used to call ourselves the 'Melivell Boys'. There were 12 of us and I was the one who started graffiti on my block.
I first hung out with puertorican-, black-writers and then I met white writers, too. One of them called '2 high 2', he was much older than me and he was the one who showed me to write first...
He lived on the next block, we hung out every day, we used to play football - I was a kid, 12 years old. And one day I saw him writing with a spraycan on rocks, he wrote his name; after that, I wrote my name, he said: 'Your name is a toy, you got no style, you are whack!' I said: 'What do you mean I got no style? I wrote my name just like you...' He said: 'No, it's not the same, I got style, mine is written in graffiti style.'
So I didn't understand that at first. I asked him to explain that to me later on, after ther football game... So later on he explained how you do the curving letters - it wasn't like my name, I wrote it simple. And he showed me how to put stars, little copyright things - stuff like that. I saw what he meant and I went home and practised the whole night long. That's how I came out with my first own little style, everybody liked it. I used to write my name 'normy norm', haha yeah - 'Spart' and they used to call me 'Mousey 183' - because of my (boy-)voice.
So 1975 I started scribbling inside the trains up and down: from the last stop to the last stop. I met 'Billy 167' in 1976, he showed me how to get into a yard and how to jump on the tracks.
Yeah, 'Billy 167' an irish writer, no one give him enough props. He was down with a lot of the crews - crews, a lot of people would say you can't even get down with, in that time - black crews. He was not prejudiced and they like Billy so much that he get down with one of the original black Bronx crews, called 'The Ebony Dukes/T.E.D. Inc.'. They were run by big time graffiti writers: 'Staff 161' (oh shit forgot one name) and 'Phase Two' who was one of the originators of graffiti style how it is today; he started in 1971.
Billy's crew called 'Slick I.N.C.' stood for: Super-Lastic-Incredible-City-Killers. He was one of the best wild style masters at the time, he took me under his wing and so I hung out with the best writers in the middle 70's from the Bronx, like: 'The Crazy 5', 'Blade', 'VAMM', 'Crashee-II', 'Tull 13', and 'Devil One'.
I was at that time trying to find out what was the best name for me. I was writing different names, like 'Super Rem Star', 'Heatwave 167', 'PED', 'One 67', and 'BOM005'.
Neid: Were you inspired by certain comics or films at that time?
BOM5: No, mostly I did lettering cause that is the main purpose in graffiti, get your style together and put your name all over the place. Then come the characters. First I was drawing regular characters like Mickey Mouse, Flintstones - stuff like that. In the late 70s someone picked up Vaughen Bode - and he became an inspiration for all graffiti writers (learn how to draw characters). So graffiti writers blew him up. No one knew about Vaughn Bode until graffiti writers started painting his characters on the trains.
Neid: Can you describe your style?
BOM5: My style is and always will be Wildstyle with arrows, the old school way or no way - that's how I'm going out. Arrows galore, complex lettering, fat styles, beautiful colors, and neatness. If shit ain't neat, it ain't worth it! Wildstyle is creative - you got to have imagination for coming out so many years with the same name, you got to have mad style!
I started my own crew in 1978, 'Most Wanted', because what was originally 'Mad Writers'. The younger members of my crew are keeping that name alive and strong. 'WAE One' is the one who takes care of my crew when it comes to illegal stuff right now...
For me the train stuff is dead. I'm 31 years old and got two kids - too old to risk my life on trains. I did all I got to do back in the days and I got flix (pictures) to prove it...
I do a lot of legal walls now, I'm getting into airbrushing, silkscreening, and I'm doing my 'BOMing gear' (T-Shirts) seriously. But I'm really addicted, sometimes I just pack a bag, hit a truck or a wall...
Poeple all over the world write 'MW' (Most Wanted), like: EDEC, BANE, SAZ, WAE, TORE, CEBO, FCEE, BOTH, YES 2, SMK, NEV ONE, KOOL, TOPIC ... Respect!
peace BOM 5 !

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