Joz and Easy: Still Going Strong
Nicole Gordon: Social Media is a wonderful way to connect to an audience. It can also be grossly misused as in the case of Graffitivogue hacking your account, that had over 100K followers. How did this happen, and how long have you been trying to get your name back?
Easy: Social media in this modern era is a fantastic platform for marketing. Whether it's artwork, merchandise, or events etc. However it does have its cons. Let me briefly elaborate how that individual managed to hack my previous account. I've sent Instagram an email requesting a blue badge on my account simply because several people were forging and selling my artwork, these individuals were going as far as pretending to be me on several primary social networks. Now I've successfully created something that shows it's authenticity. After a few weeks of my request, I've received an email stating I was eligible to obtain the blue chip. In order to receive it, I was instructed to verify my account by logging in my user name and password on the link that was emailed to me. I strongly believe that's how the hacker was able to obtain my information. Most people are not aware that this immoral act took place. If anyone reading this, @Graffitivogue is no longer my Instagram account, The hacker changed the name but only removed some of my images. The new one is @Joz_And_Easy which is the same name I've used on my original account, and that's what makes this entire situation so perplexing.
NG: On a very positive note, you are one of the most well known writers of all time. How does that feel, and how many years on the streets have you put in?
E: Thank you for your pleasant compliment Nicole. I've been writing for quite a long time dating back to 1982. My first graff name was LC. While writing that name during that time I've felt no significant connection with it. Thanks to these beautiful young ladies which were responsible for giving me the name Easy in January '83 due to my smooth demeanor, and being extremely attractive to plenty of females in my younger days played a roll. The fame during that era was astronomical. Not only the writers and artists took notice, but so did huge celebrities and musicians as well. From my analysis why this transpired on a huge scale was potentially because me, Josh5, Joz and Ghast on a lesser degree started the all city street movement while utilizing huge fat caps, with simple huge tags which the entire world is consciously or indirectly doing today. We were also HUGE MTA subway writers. My personal goal was to do art on every subway car on every line while hitting every avenue in New York then eventually branching out to other states. From my honest opinion, I strongly believe I've just about met those expectations. I would like to mention after most of my goals were accomplished, a few graff artists joined us in some of our missions such as Trap if, Chama, Cope2, Sen4, Bester and Tekay Tnr, on a higher degree. Tekay is a huge part of my crew. I refer to all of those guys as my brothers.
NG: How did you, Josh5 and Joz (RIP) get together initially?
E: The original crew was Easy, Josh5, and Ghast. Josh5 is my cousin and Ghast is my brother. Joz's first original crew consisted of Pean, Shap, Slade and himself. Slade was a great friend of mine. In my prenatal stages in this art form Slade would come to my home displaying his incredible sketches but ultimately spewed his methods on how he got his name on the subway cars. His stories were very interesting, I was a huge sponge soaking it all in. This took place between the years of 1982-1983. Slade was the one solely responsible for introducing me and Joz to each other. When we first met each other it was surreal. The pieces to a complex puzzle were finally assembled. The image spoke prophetic words and it's outcome was historic, far beyond our imagination. He is most certainly my brother for life.
NG: I remember the chalk battles you and your crew did with Keith Haring. Can you give us a little snippet of exactly how that went down? Shed some insight of how the MTA worked back then? You used only white chalk if I am remembering it correctly?
E: Yes we used predominately white chalk. It was pretty much a three man battle, which included me, Josh5, and Keith Haring. All three of us battling to display our names everywhere, but in Keith's case it was primarily art on every blackboard throughout the MTA system. Josh5 was literally on just about every board but I wasn't that far behind. Those were moral victories on our behalf, but Keith was the ultimate winner simply because he was doing inspiring art which caught the attention of so many people.
NG: Is it true you wanted to be either a Doctor or professional Baseball Player yet made the decision to give all of your energy into art? What made you decide to stick with art?
E: I often get ridiculed whenever I've elaborated on this issue with those that don't understand how one can surprisingly obtain a strong connection with art. What I simply refer to as an vehicle that people can express their inner feelings which enables you to communicate with all nations simply because it's a universal language and that enables us to become as one within that criteria. That makes it that much more beautiful. Since the age of five my ultimate dream was to become a professional baseball player. I've really exerted enormous amounts of energy to achieve that goal by training diligently while going to the batters cage. Becoming a Doctor was also a huge goal of mine in parallel with becoming a baseball player. I was extremely obsessed with studying anatomy, physiology and ancient history which I'm still heavily involved with even to this very day. While embracing my new found love (Graffiti) I began to detect a very small slippage of pursuing my goals. I must admit "it was pretty scary". That one day while I was in mid school dating back to 1982 was very pivotal. My life and perceptions had taken an entirely different course. During that time plenty of my friends and family perceived it as a total failure. I've most certainly understood their point of view even as a small child. WOW! You all got to be in great suspense. "Why would Easy abandon his dreams?" "What was the turning point? " Well, that one day a group of kids ran up to me expressing their excitement because they had seen my name running on the subway lines. That moment sparked an emotion that I've never experienced and I'm not able to eloquently explain to this very day but only the ramifications. That simple moment relinquished my two primary goals in exchange for what I'm currently doing this very day.
NG: I read that you will be working with a gallery favorite of mine, Redbird NYC. What will you be showing there and will it be a solo show or will you be part of a group show?
E: Yes, you are precisely correct. I'm extremely particular as to where my artwork is exhibited for several reasons. Perception that an art collector beholds is extremely imperative because it determines the direction of your art career. However I do respect all galleries that provide an platform for artists to showcase their works I think Redbird NYC is a special and interesting space which I'm very excited to be on board with. The owner and the representatives are insanely amazing. The original plan was to first do a grand opening in their new location with Ron English, Shepard Fairey ( aka Obey) and Icy and Sot and then exhibit a solo Easy show sometime after. I don't have a date available.The mass majority of work I'll be showing will be texture art in various styles some abstract and very little graffiti more likely on a minute scale.
NG: Where can our readers learn more about you and your work? I must thank you for being so kind to me throughout the years and acknowledging the passion people have for your work.
E: Anytime Nicole. Every fiber of my existence highly appreciates the passion that people and those that artists have for my work throughout the years. It's reciprocal because I'm a true fan of various art forms. If someone is interested in learning more about Easy I'll suggest them to go to google and type Joz and Easy or simply purchase books or magazines that pertains to street art and graffiti. I'm not a huge fan of reading books that pertains to graffiti, especially the ones that involve me. The reason these books don't entice me because they can be very biased and they often downgrade my history drastically. Numerous people brings this to my attention quite frequently. To be fair there are some great ones circulating. Other great artists share this unfortunate situation as well. I would like to take the opportunity to thank all the artists that cleared the air of these wrong doings such as Skuf, Cope2, Ja xtc, Jd xtc Rd357, Blen167 and the list goes on.Thank you all.
Nicole, I would like to thank you for these awesome questions and I would also like to give a huge shoutout to all the fans, artists, friends, and family.