What an honor it was to be able to talk all things graffiti with a legendary writer like IXU. Long-time readers of this site know the amount of respect I have for IXU, as well as CAZE and BARK. It was the visibility of these three writers in particular that made me interested in graff and learning more about it. Hopefully we’ll get to see interviews with CAZE and BARK further down the road. Regardless, IXU is a man with a rep in Philly that is very strong. He is well-respected by many as not just a great writer, but also a very cool and awesome person, which are sentiments that I also share. Therefore, it is my pleasure to share with you my interview with the one and only IXU.
Chris: How long have you been writing graff?
IXU: I been writing since I was like 14, and I’ve been doing it for the 30 years since.
Chris: How did you get started in writing graffiti?
IXU: It was like a trend at first. I seen people’s names all over the city, and decided to write my name as well. I grew up in West Philly and would have to take this bus to school. While sitting there, I’d see people’s names and decided that I would start writing mine.
Chris: Is there any piece you have done that you are particularly proud of?
IXU: Definitely the one at the 40th Street Bridge. They just rebuilt that thing, so me, DERM, CAZE, and BARD hit the underpass and you can see what we did from the street, or from the train. I really like the style of that piece, especially how my style has evolved from hanging out with CAZE and DERM. I’m a bomber, but when it comes to graff, you should be well-rounded. I’m putting together a book of graff just to keep and learn from. Lots of people is represented in there, but I’m probably going to retire soon. This is something I can keep forever and show my 4 year-old son in the future.
Chris: Who are some graffiti writers whom you have a lot of respect for?
IXU: I got lots of respect for SX, KRAZY, RUE, (RIP) SKIPLAYER, (RIP) RAZZ, SOBAD, SATAN, and anyone else I saw when I was younger that kept me going such as TAN and DUCK.
Chris: What is your best experience writing graff and what is your worst experience?
IXU: Being able to get to know the people that write, how they got their name, how got in with their group, and what made them the way they are is what I consider my best experience. Some call this shit vandalism, I call it an art form. It isn’t easy to do what we do consistently.
My worst experience, aw shit. Well, I just got booked recently. Any time you get booked it’s a bad experience. I’m in retirement right now, depending on the outcome of this case I got. I promised my wife I would fall back until this gets sorted out.
Chris: Do you feel as though graffiti and graffiti writers are misunderstood?
IXU: Oh yeah. People always say we’re nothing but bums. They think all we got to do with our lives is vandalism. We’re expressing ourselves. I write for my fans. I write for the people, like yourself, who appreciate my work and like to see what I can do. When people say, “How you do that, how you get up there, how you get inside there,” that’s always motivating to me. Back in 1991 and 1992 when they was buffing all the walls, we’d go right back and tag them up. I had a buddy who was working at buffing the walls. He would call me up and tell me what they buffed, and I’d keep my name up there for people to see. I had an inside track. It was how I kept my name up during those tough times.
Chris: Do you have a favorite type of graffiti you like to do (bombing, throw-ups, pieces, etc).
IXU: I would say I like tags best. I’m a type of person that likes a straight letter instead of wild-style. I want people to be able to read it. I want people to know it’s me.
Chris: I’ve seen your tag along various routes that I travel myself. When you do a route, how do they usually go down?
IXU: Normally we try to hit one part of the city on a particular night. Say I park the car on 17th Street. I will walk all the way down to Front Street and hit some stuff along the way. Then, I will find a different way back and do the same thing. I will also try and find some back streets or alleys because those tend to stay up longer.
Chris: Any final thoughts about Philly graff?
IXU: It was almost a dying breed for a while. Shoutout to SX for bringing me back into it. I’ve always been a rep guy. If I don’t see it, you got no rep with me. I like with a rep, name is something. You gotta be all over the city, as well as Norristown, Chester, places like that as well. That’s how I know you got rep.
Shoutouts to the ICP, KOK, and PIV crews, and also to CAZE, GOOSE, BAM, BARD and BLASS. These are guys that definitely get all over.
It was a lot of fun to have the opportunity to chat about graff with IXU. This is a man passionate about his hobby, and with a genuine respect for others who share it with him. Whether he ends up retiring or not, one thing is certain, IXU has certainly built himself an outstanding rep as one of Philly’s most visible and long-lasting graffiti writers.
For more of IXU’s work, visit our friends at 215graff.com and stay tuned to LOLadelphia for more interviews with some of Philly’s best graffiti writers!
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