Graffiti is everywhere. Most people despise it, especially the costs racked up in building and city structure damages. Our take: We're not saying it's a good thing, we're not condoning vandalism, we just want 600 words to fill this space. So we talked to Soler, a local tagger who is branching out into non-illegal art.
How did you get started?
I've been drawing since I was a little kid, I guess. In the margins of my paper mainly and then it kind of developed through reading Calvin and Hobbes and Shel Silverstein--that was a big one. I went off the paper and onto the desk, then to the bathroom wall and it evolved into graffiti.
You've said before you leave everything at home to avoid being robbed. Is the fear of violence or of being caught?
It's pretty much everything you could imagine, from falling off a rooftop, getting eaten by some guard dog, getting stabbed by a hobo. Or being arrested.
Do you take your girlfriend or is it strictly alone time?
I've taken her before just because I've seen a good spot and I'm like, "Here, wait in the car." And she's happy to; she enjoys it. So she'll wait.
Do your parents know that you paint graffiti?
Yeah. My dad hates it, and my mom doesn't really like it.
Would they bail you out if you got caught?
I don't know if they have the money to, but my parents definitely wouldn't abandon me.
What about artists who damage things?
There are buddies of mine that do that. That's definitely not for me, and I don't condone the things that they do. Some of the more "fuck you" in-your-face things are funny, but I draw a line for myself.
As far as acid etch and the like, do you think the lure of those products is the permanence or the damage itself?
It depends on who you talk to, really. Probably both. I've done it before, but I'm not going to use it anymore, at least not in Dallas. There aren't enough old abandoned warehouse windows.
What's your favorite color to paint with?
Black, because it's the darkest and it shows up on everything, and for canvases, this pukey green color that I have. You can see it on 95 percent of the canvases I paint. Also, I've come back to canvases. I've been doing a lot more, and I had an art show recently.
Where do you get your inspiration for the canvas or for graffiti?
A lot of times it's kind of like the frustration inside me. That sounds really cheesy, and it's not really frustration, just like...I've got little monsters inside of me that I let loose on the city.
So now painting is a career.
It's great. The show was for the DSVC [Dallas Society of Visual Communications]. It was supposed to be a release party for this publication I was in, and it ended up being an art show where I sold my work.
Where did that name come from?
I just liked it. It didn't really have any significance. I just picked a name and started writing it everywhere. There's this lawyer apparently in town [named] Soler.
If you ever get into trouble, you should call him.
Yeah, "Hey buddy, you gotta bail me out." --Merritt Martin
Summer Reading List
Once more, Full Frontal wonders: Who has time to read? Not you, and certainly not us, so we offer the first and last lines of time-wasting tomes, would-be best sellers and other things with words and stuff we got in the mail.
Villa Incognito, Tom Robbins "It has been reported that Tanuki fell from the sky using his scrotum as a parachute...Could it be, do you suppose, that despite her unfortunate vocabulary, Bootsey was on to something all along?"
Bangkok 8, John Burdett "The African American Marine in the gray Mercedes will soon die of bites from the Naja siamensis, but we don't know that yet, Pichai and I (the future is impenetrable, says the Buddha)...Inside, our live entertainment is singing 'Bye Bye Blackbird.'"
What Every Person Should Know About War, Chris Hedges "What is a war?...When disposing of an old uniform, you are to make sure no nonveteran acquires it."
30 Things Everyone Should Know How to Do Before Turning 30, Siobhan Adcock "A great present wrapped badly or not wrapped at all is a great present, yes...Your job interview thank-you is nowhere near as important as your résumé or the interview itself, and in fact, your note will almost certainly be chucked in the trash the minute it's read--unlike your résumé, of course."
Dad, Dames, Demons, and a Dwarf, Mancow Miller "'Girls in Berlin no fuck'...A different kind of being in the world, a new kind of life, a whole new level of exploration began with my dad's funeral."
Rumble Young Man Rumble, Benjamin Cavell "On Thursday, a man comes into the store and asks me how to kill his wife...But, really, it didn't matter."
Fantazius Mallare, Ben Hecht "Fantazius Mallare considered himself mad because he was unable to behold in the meaningless gesturings of time, space and evolution a dramatic little pantomime adroitly centered about the routine of his existence...'This is the cross.'"
Dating the Greek Gods: Empowering Spiritual Messages on Sex and Love, Creativity and Wisdom, Brad Gooch "Soon after my fiftieth birthday, a metamorphosis occurred: I began dating Greek gods...Inspired--or as Socrates might have said, returned--I exited the church of the Great Friend, dedicated centuries ago by its founder to the practice of listening to the inner voice."
Whitegirl, Kate Manning "I was not always a white girl...Amen."
Iraq and roll
In its May 26 issue, Newsweek revealed that "U.S. military units have been breaking Saddam [Hussein] supporters with long sessions in which they're forced to listen to heavy metal and children's songs." Two of the most popular--or unpopular, as the case may be--were Drowning Pool's "Bodies" and pretty much anything by Barney. Given that both of these "artists" hail from the area, we thought we'd be helpful and compile a list of other local songs that might be useful in crushing the spirit of an irate Iraqi. Or, you know, whoever happens to be near the speakers.
LeAnn Rimes, "Purple Rain": The most battle-hardened Navy SEAL would give up his own grandmother before Rimes reaches the chorus of this bombastic beat-down of a Prince classic. The worst part is, even after it's over, it'll be stuck in your head like crime-scene photos.
Lisa Loeb, "Stay": Listened to this again to see if it filled the bill, and after 45 seconds, we started making up top-secret tales about Saddam just so it would go away.
Meat Loaf, "I'd Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That)": Did you hear about the guy whose arm was crushed under a boulder, trapping him there for five days without food or water? The dude who then broke the aforementioned arm at the wrist, cut it off, rappelled down a cliff and hiked six miles to safety? Ten seconds of this, and that dude polishes a gun barrel with his mouth.
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Deep Blue Something, "Breakfast at Tiffany's": On the cover two weeks ago, back under the bus today. They're nice guys, and unfortunately, this song sounds like it.
Kelly Clarkson, "Before Your Love": If the mistreatment of Clarkson's stellar pipes in the hands of Desmond Child and Cathy Dennis wouldn't push someone over the edge, the reminder that she beat out the obviously more talented Tamyra Gray will.
Alligator Dave and the Couch Band, "Purple Headed Warrior": "Purple headed warrior/Woman destroyer/I'm about to need a lawyer to tell you what she said!/She said, go on now, bend me over/Take that Range Rover of yours, and park it on my ass." That, folks, is just too much raw American sexuality for an Iraqi to take. And we should mention that the music will have your eardrums reaching for the ejector seat.
Vanilla Ice, "Too Cold": Probably the best/worst of the bunch, since it combines Drowning Pool's grating guitars with Barney's nursery-school rhyming. True, Robbie Van Winkle's original pass at this ("Ice Ice Baby") is probably more annoying, but the rap-metal remake has the advantage of sucking very loudly.