Speaking with Jeffrey Korn of Smart Crew

Your character is identified mainly with your throw-ups that became part of NYC’s landscape about 10 years ago. They were everywhere – on rooftops, on walls, on trains…in tunnels.  But lately I’ve been seeing your stickers around. When did you first start creating stickers? I started early on…at about the same time I got into graffiti.  That was back in 1995. I was 19.

What got you into the whole graf scene?  I was bored. I needed something to do. It was like a game.

And what about stickers? What was their appeal? It was an easy way to get up quickly.

Where were you living at the time?  In Howard Beach.

What was that like?  I hated the neighborhood. It had no flavor. There was no culture.  There were only two writers – me and Shaz.

Gee, how did you first discover graffiti? I was about 10 years old when I discovered Subway Art by Martha Cooper and Henry Chalfant among my mother’s books.

Getting back to stickers, what are your favorite surfaces? Any surface where they’re likely to run for a long time.  I like smooth surfaces like glass.

How do you get your materials? DCEVE is the mastermind of all sticker supplies.

What about SMART CREW? For how long have you guys been together? Since the mid-90’s.  In 1997 SMART CREW was born – when the two crews “SM” and “ART” came together.

How many are you? About 25.  But not all of us write. Just about 10 do.

Have you ever been arrested?  Not for stickers. But many times. I lost count after 10. I was reckless.  I didn’t care.

Can you recall one specific arrest? In 2001, they threw the book at me. I got hit with a $10,000 fine and I spent a month at Rikers.

What was that like?  It was boring. I did lots of reading and pushups. I stayed out of fights. There were lots of homeless people – who just wanted to warm up for awhile.

Has your work ever been exhibited? It’s been in a few spaces but I don’t go out of my way to get my work into galleries.  I was also featured in a few books like Peter Sutherland’s Autograf: New York City’s Graffiti Writers.

How does your family feel about your passion for graffiti?  My mom and wife love it. They’ve both been supportive. My dad is indifferent.

Have you made money from your art?  I’ve made money selling hats and working for a hip-hop company – doing designs.

What is your main source of income these days?  I play poker.

You must be quite a pro! Any other interests?  I love basketball. I’m an avid Knicks fan.

How do you feel about folks removing your stickers from public places and taking them home?  I think it’s a good thing. It ensures that the stickers will live forever.

Any favorite writers?  Dr. Sex.  He killed NYC in 2005. I killed it in 2000-2001.

What do you see yourself doing in five years from now?  I’d like to have enough money to play poker when I want and paint when I want – do what I want at my own leisure.

Sounds good!

Interviewed by LoisInWonderland

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