Eez has stated that he is willing to answer any further questions via the blog, so be sure to leave a comment or two.
Introduction by Eez.
I wanted this interview put up cos there were a few 'misunderstandings' about myself that needed sorted out. Firstly, I've never been in jail – never been in court for anything I've done either. Was living infor a good few years having a great time of it all. Seems like the jail stories got started and spread by those who would have liked that to have been the case. Whatever, their ineptitude is something that they will have to resolve.
Also, bizarrely, there was also someone pretending to be me on an internet forum. They probably found it amusing that a few people believed their waffle, and again Chinese Whispers began. I feel sorry for all involved. Being jealous of my talents won't give you them?says, Better to work on your sparkles rather than look for another's drips )
If there is anything that any reader wants clarified about the following just post a comment and I will come back and answer.
Introduce yourself, how long you have been painting, what crews have you been part of?
EEZ aka EASE-A, EEZ-A, EEZ BAK, E, EB, BEEM, BE, BIZ - never anything else in graffland. There have been plenty of misspelling overs the years, EZE springs to mind? - Maybe the 'style' was too 'wild'
First painting with spray paint, 1983 (ish). I used to write my name in a calligraphy style for years before that (my older sister was a very good artist and forced me into drawing 'battles' with her) - but 3D with sparkles on the bubbles, 6ft high, was a new one to master from 83. I remember a guy called 'Smiffy' in my class at school showing me some of his graff drawings on the front of his maths jotter and then the same day goin home to find my wee brother doin fuckin handspins! That was cool n funky, with xtra cool n funky sprinkled on top ) Have to take the opportunity to give the bro a big mention here as he was always around when everything was goin on. Amongst numerous other things, he was the one who sat up and constructed the event pass that most people still have from the Under Pressure session (more on that later).
Yeah, so around 1983 was my first actual piece and EEZ is my main alter ego.. Earliest crew was a breakin one, Livi Supreme Breakin Team aka Warriors. Now THAT'S xtra cool n funky too haha. Most of the time I just painted solo cos it was easier to get things done - I didn't have crew ties so I could deal with others with less friction (which came in useful for future events organisation). In later years I got invited into the TTK - Third Teem Kingz (although there are numerous spelling variations). That's a legendary crew btw so I was honoured. EEZ TTK is what I'm happy to be remembered as.
BIZ was one of my first names/vibes in graffland. I vaguely remember seeing a piece by, or sayin, Bizerk in the Blues N Soul magazine (Tim Westwood had a page in it that covered Hip Hop, including the results of breakin battles). I liked the sound of it - Doin the biz, Takin care of business and so on. Also my housing scheme was bit crazy at that time and Bizerk was how some people were running around. Anyways, I digress.. Moved onto EASE-A. Just liked the sound of it. Take it easy. Easy does it. The 'E' was good to draw and so was the 'A'. The 'S' linked them together. I changed this to EEZ-A as some people were pronouncing it EASY-A and I wanted to redefine the sound. I dropped the 'A' eventually because EEZ had a good look to it and Extacy (along with a general drugs culture) was in fashion. I didn't write EEZ or E because I was taking them, I just tuned in to what was goin on around me. Because painting on a large scale at a high standard is so physically demanding it is better to be as clear headed and as agile as possible. Ladders and scaffolding are not to be tackled while mashed up ) I've tried and it's nowhere near 'cool n funky' )
Quickish word on the other nom de plumes. EEZ BAK and EB came from a line in an
BEEM was because of my initials - I'd sometimes been misrepresented as I wasn't a 'hardcore' letterist (although if you 'read between the lines' there plenty to see. Wild Style anyone?) I drew it so that all the letters consisted of the same shape, imagine how you would line draw a bird in the sky, that was the core letter - I just tilted the B to the left kept the two E's in the middle upright and tilted the the M to the right. And BE was just for the same reason as EB, also it sounded cool. You can be want you want to be, I think therefore I be.. Or something like that )
In summary - the style of the letters, the vibe of the name and it's context within the environment - that's what mattered to me.
You mentioned that you had a lot of exposure and that there were reactions that came from that. How did you first deal with the media side of things and then the reactions of people that came from that exposure (i assume that you mean negative reactions from other writers)
Not necessary from other writers and not necessary negative. There were a few things over the years - an interview here; a higher profile commission there. That taught me a few things about the media and how other people reacted to seeing myself within that portrayal. When the events kicked off it all just got combined and intensified. Hence a reason for calling the eventual main event, Under Pressure.
Journalists can be sneaky bastards, asking you ten questions, be all pally and then twist something to suit the theme they have attached to whatever is going on. Because I was one of the first to get a consistent national profile I had to tread carefully through the questions especially considering the illegality of the artworks reputation. The publicity itself was no big deal. I was more concerned about the painting looking cool n funky within the article that seeing myself look back out amongst the adverts and other stories on the go.
On reflection it was all a beneficial learning experience. Let's just say I would employ a professional publicist for any future endeavours.
- Who were your early influences?
- What are your memories of the early days and what are the main differences now to when you first started?
Early memories are fantastic ones. I loved the smell of the paint, which was Carplan and Duplicolor (got some Buntlac sourced along the way too). The grandiose and scale of the artwork. The bubbles. The 3D. The sparkles and highlights. The arrows. Everything was just FRESH.
Main difference would be paint access now I suppose. You can walk into numerous shops or go online and buy everything. It's pretty fuckin amazing actually. Also viewing other people work is a big change. There were a few graff-zines in black n white photocopy doing the rounds but now you can just turn on your pc and be swamped by it all in alphabetical order. Also Hip Hop was like a remote control after a gatecrashed party!is class for catchin new and old vids now though. In a word, the difference is, Internet.
Back in the day there was no quick hook ups over the net and the only real way to get in contact with other writers was through a sort of pen-pal system. You were doing some real serious networking back in the early days. Is this where the initial idea for the Livingston Jam came from? What set the ball rolling?
There were 3 main events in total. The third being the most complete. I'd been to a few and had a good time so I thought lets do it it in sunny Scotland too. Although as one balls up turned out, windy as fuck! The first two were held at the skatepark, the third indoors at the community centre.
In terms of having contacts to bring it all together, I had published a graff mag for about 5 issues then put out a freebie A4 both sides newsletter over a couple of years. There were numerous homebrew concoctions at the time also so we all used to trade flix n keep the scene on the go.
- How did you go about organising the event? How did you attract the funding? There must have been so much going on and I assume that you didn’t have any previous experience of organising anything on such a scale.
- Is it true that all these writers and bboys crashed in your house for the duration of the jam? What was that like, where there any ego’s? Most importantly, who ate more than their fair share of the chocolate biscuits?
And, I ate all the biscuits beforehand. Do you think I'm daft?
- The Tramways jam in
- Why was there no Livingston Jam part 2 - Son of Livi, Tramways part 2 – Return of the whatever? Had you become disillusioned with things?
- I think its safe to say that you didn’t really go out there with a traditional approach to graff. Not many people at that time where out there doing photo realistic paintings or abstract type work (which appears to be the norm nowadays). In fact, I think its safe to say that that particular style was actually looked down on by many. Why did you take that approach rather than focussing on a more traditional lettering style?
I looked on other artists with more of a sideways glance. If they thought they were looking down on me from afar then that's cool. When I met with people it was always a different story. Those who saw my piecebook then knew what I was capable of.
I love letters. I had to point them out within my pieces as they were embedded within it more often than not. Wildstyle.
One other thing, because I was networking a lot I saw a lot of different styles. Although abstracts and realistic pieces weren't the norm amongst the train painters and dub bombers that was the main emerging style that was developing throughout the uk.
- What are your views on the current scene, Scottish or otherwise?
- I always remember having some really interesting conversations with you and you telling me some incredible stories. Whats your favourite graff related story?
Most graff stories are best kept to when the photo albums are out and the company is selected. But I will tell you this, when the Under Pressure event was on and there were loads of heads goin to an fro from my house, some fucker left the gas cooker on, unlit. By chance, I headed back up to sort some stuff out and was met by a waft of some serious build up. I didn't even turn the key in the back door incase there was a spark. Had to push the window open, slow as fuck (while holding my breath) to let the fumes out. That put the whole shenanigans into perspective. Half the street would have been decorated in body parts if I hadn't clocked it. Oh yeah, another one - Shagged a wee burd in the toilets during an event inwhile Keen and Mode 2 were outside waitin to get in haha
- Any plans in the pipeline for a few new pieces?
Yeah, and maybe an event too. Prob next Summer for the event and this Summer for a couple of pieces. Watch this space.
- If you could do it all again would you change anything?
Yeah, prob wouldn't have told you the shaggin story.
PS Thanks to everyone involved with the events and assisting me along the way. You know who you are and you know what contribution you made. There's too many to mention and I would be doin a disservice to those I missed out if I attempted to do so. Lastly, no one is perfect and we improve because of the errors we make or by witnessing the errors of others. Time is the teller. Not you and not me.
Just because you don't see the sun shining it doesn't mean that it's not there.