Spie is a OG of the Bay Area Graf scene. A king in my opinion. Born and raised in San Francisco during the early 70s, he is from the second generation of writers is Frisco. He began writing on his own first, then he began joining crews. He’s one of the illest local style technicians of letters and has always tried new things whether painting wild style pieces, throw ups, or even just his handstyles. He is a representative of several well known Bay crews; TMC, TDK, and Irie Posse. He’s also reps FC, a NYC crew. Something that connects him to a long legacy of artists both in and beyond Graf is his use of art to speak truth to power. Being the child of an organizer/activists instilled him with a DIY spirit and awareness that he always shared with the Graff community. In fact, in his career he is known as much for his unique letter styles as he is for speaking out against police terrorism, racism, imperialism, colonialism, and the system that uses these tools to get more money and power. Something I learned is that he was a mediator between writers who had beef. A peacekeeper. He is a citizen of the world traveling to Jamaica, Cuba, Costa Rica, NYC, even Palestine. He’s a father, husband, activist, credentialed teacher, and a hilarious guy if you get to hang with him. If you have been impacted or inspired by Spie or his work please comment w/ a big up, fire emoji, or a memory so he knows how much we all love him. Thank you big brother.
Sources: One Track Mind magazine, My Life In Letters podcast, Life, My Mom
More: The first time I met Spie he was already a legend to me. As a kid obsessed with Graffiti I loved taking flics of his pieces both solo and with Mike Dream. His style leaps off the wall, often using two outlines to accentuate movement. My family has a connection to his, as my grandmother knew his parents and worked with them on some labor activism. My mom who knew him since he was a kid proudly introduced me to him at a huge show he did in Oakland around the anniversary of the Hiroshima Nagasaki bombing. I could not believe she knew him and was floored by his humbleness and skill. Since the mid 90s I’ve been fortunate enough to get to watch him work, to hang, to speak to his students, to ask questions, and to be inspired by him. To watch him show solidarity with Palestine, Puerto Ricans, Filipinxs, and Black struggles such as Black August and Black Liberation figures such as Assata Shakur, Malcolm X, and more. I think his choice to put more up on the wall than just his name spoke to me as a kid. I was and am inspired so much by him and consider him a big brother and a mentor. Its great to hear him talk about his experiences coming up in the Graff world. I highly encourage you to listen to his episodes on the My Life in Letters podcast. Much Love dude!
Did you see the last piece of Pardon My Hindi?
Also, here’s a piece I did of Mike Dream.
Bay Area born and bred I can tell Priya Handa is one of those life long artists, a scorpio, lover of good music, ice cream, and justice. As a muralist she has worked with Precita Eyes in SF, the Community Rejuvenation Project (CRP), Twin Walls Crew, the Zapatistas, Trust Your Struggle Collective, and the Bay Area Mural Festival. She has painted nationally and internationally traveling as far as Mexico and Palestine. She is a tattoo artist and an illustrator who works both big and small, aerosol, ink, acrylic, watercolor, and needle. She is an activist making work supporting Black Lives, Sex workers, Farmers in India, the Navajo nation, the military complex, and police brutality. And she is a child of South Asian immigrants (Punjab in India).
The first time I met Priya she had paint/gear in her hands and she came through as we (TYS) were working on a wall for Reem’s California in Oakland in 2017 just to help. The last time I saw her she brought a painting she knocked out for elder Emory Douglas of his art for the “Love and Protect: Chinatown Black & Asian solidarity mural project”. Both times her skill, humbleness, and generosity spoke for itself. Although I’m still getting to know her I implore you to follow and support her work now. She’s a hard working rising star and deserves all the shine. Follow her on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/eightbirdz/
Sources: https://crpbayarea.org/meet-the-muralist-priya-handa/, http://www.puttpunjabi.com, Asian American Women Artists Association
Did you catch the piece of Maya Lin?
Last year I focused on Aapi musicians and this year I’m focusing on artists. If you’re new to this, “Kindred Journey” is a serious of paintings I’ve done of prominent and lesser known Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders since 2016. You can find a gallery of all past paintings here.