During an impromptu visit to Bushwick, graffiti-writing friends Krave and Ski were soon busy spray-painting their names up on a wall on Starr Street, between Irving and Wyckoff. By the time I see them, the sun has almost gone down; they don’t have much time left to finish, but the shapes of their work had already begun to take form.
Krave, birth name Daniel Fila, has been writing on walls since 1995. Now 43, his bright visuals started gaining traction in Miami in the early 2000’s. The most famous of these was a large mural of a semi-nude woman called “Sunbathers,” which made a notable appearance in the 2013 Miami-set Micheal Bay movie Pain & Gain. More recently, he landed a commission from a cement factory to paint their silos in the Miami neighborhood of Wynwood.
“I’m up here in New York for a visit,’ he tells me, “I’m from Miami, representing. It was over ten years ago when I recognized Ski’s graf and we went to a gallery show, so we’ve been friends ever since.”
Krave’s signature tag is a monkey, accompanied by his name, written out in wildstyle lettering. And on this day, he’s embellishing it with polluted fumes. It’s intoxicatingly beautiful and doomsday all at once.
“One of the things I notice about New York, though, is you guys don’t care as much as Miami about your outside walls.” He adds, “That’s one thing in Miami that’s better. Since this is a bombing wall for taggers, I’m painting graf. Maybe they’ll show a little respect.”
Nearby, Fernando “Ski” Romero is working on his own graf, which takes the form of a mixture of ocean blue with a beam of light streaming out from the center. He says he’s been writing graffiti since he was eight years old. Nowadays he’s represented by the Pop Gallery in Manhattan.
“As a New Yorker, getting to write graffiti for a living is a dream,” he says. “In my opinion, there’s no other art form than graffiti that has had as big of an influence on the world of modern art… Once I went pro, back in 2009, I traveled to Australia, then Austria, Italy, Israel three times, and all these people said, c’mon let’s collab and we’ll comp your ticket or something like that.”
Ski goes back to writing his elegant lines. Every one of his movements have a rhyme and reason to them. After I ask him for a photo, he hands me a cigar.
“The Miami-New York Connection is stronger than it’s ever been.”says Krave, “Back in the day, guys were going down to Miami and vice-versa. That’s the bloodline. Now Miami’s having its graf moment. It’s on super mode right now.”
Says Ski: “We owe that connection to Lee Quinones. We owe it to all those guys of that generation.” Ski and Krave go back to finish writing on their walls. Even though the sun has gone down, they work around this by holding lights up from their phones so that they can see.
A few minutes pass before someone approaches with a blackbook to get Ski’s signature. After Ski finishes writing his tricked out name, Krave turns to him and says, “That’s a second one. We’ve had two blackbooks today. That never happens, does it?”
“No, that never happens,” Ski says.
Photos taken by Max Rovo for Bushwick Daily.
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