YESMA : KOC MO MRS
Can you tell us a bit about your background?
I write Yesma and am in KOC, MO and MRS. I grew up in Cambelltown in NSW and then moved to the shire where I went to school at Sutherland in Sydney's south. That's where I got my first exposure to graff.
How did you choose your tag, any special meaning?
I had come up with the idea of writing Tesm, but another guy from the Greenline in Sydney was writing it. I really liked the T,E,S so changed the T to a Y and basically added an A to the end of the word. There's a little more to the story but nothing I'd like known publicly.
How did you get in to graffiti?
I really started looking at graff in 92-93 roughly, I think through some kids at school - you have to love peer pressure. I think they were just writing on desks and things they saw on the way to school, one of them wrote "Scram" haha. There were two other guys from School, one wrote Size and he knew a lot of the TRA and RBS guys from mainline so he was easily the most active writer I knew then. The other was in LNZ crew and painted Shopfront a lot.
I was also catching the train a lot and the Blue line was pretty active in Sydney you had Stone, Rems & Kerupt who were personal favourites and had a lot up on the Blue line. You also had Help, Kers, Sek from KOA, you had the OTK guys, Mick and Slerp from FMC bombed hard around that time as did Heks, Pade and a few other FUA guys. Then about 1994-1995 PLS really started smashing it hard, Dems was fresh as and a cool guy. Oh the other active crew was DTA, shit too many to mention. I just remember the Blue and Green line were pretty active and a cool place to spot graff on the way to the city to play Street Fighter 2. You would meet a lot of writers on the trains who would smash insides hard. Shopfront was a legal spot where a lot of guys came together and painted on the Blueline. For me personally 1993-1997 Was Sydney's Golden era of graff.
That really got the juice going and started my passion for graff but in spite of that I never actually really started painting till 2000. Not sure what happened but one day it clicked, I filled my boot with solar stream and Action paint and never looked back.
What is it that you love about graffiti that keeps you writing?
I think at different points it's been different things, early on it was to progress at a rapid rate and try to improve on the last piece you did. Later on it's become more about mateship and the experience as much as the piece. I also think a lot of writers have that daring nature or that risk taker in them they need to nourish.
I would say I probably lost a bit of my passion for graff until about 12 months ago, I became stagnant and I didn't progress. I took some time out to consider what i wanted from graff and honestly the last 12 months I'm like that kid riding the train again.
Tell us about your style and how it has developed over the years.
Sydney has a very New York style about it for the most part, strong letters, every kick or connection has a purpose, things fit together collectively and each letter holds it's own. I think that mentality has certainly rubbed off on me. I think now I'm learning more about kicks, connections and those things and where they should be. Nowadays it probably has similar structure but more swing, movement and flow, that being said it doesn't dance like a Hooker piece.
Who have been your major influences?
My biggest influence growing up was Stone without a doubt. Later when I started writing I got the chance to meet him, hang out and paint a lot, he really took time out for me to share his thoughts and I'm pretty grateful he's a real chill low key guy. I kind of feel as though he never really got his dues. For me I consider him the Sofles of Sydney in the mid 90's.
My first few years I had a pretty strong collective of influences to draw from and it probably made my styles more diverse till I moved away. Guys like Caib, Sayno, Peyote move you in different directions so MRS and KOC were really good in that way, they were such a diverse group of writers both in how they painted and behaviour.
Nowadays It's Tues that I paint with mostly, If not him Sofles, Sirm or Linz when they are in town. I think all of these guys influence me in some way.
Paint brand of choice
Cap of choice
NY Fay or stock Lak cap.
What music motivates you to paint?
Hip Hop. At the moment it's Apathy, Brad Strut, LC and Ed O.G.
Memorable mission moment
Any tips you're willing to share to the next generation of writers?
Stay humble, listen to what others have to say that have been there and done it before you. Be open minded, Be diverse, Be active, don't be afraid, hone your craft and crush shit.
Anything else to add?
Thanks to the Sydney writers of the early to mid 90's that helped cultivate my interest in graff. Youstwo for pushing me and motivating me early on and Carmen for the patience and support.