First in (hopefully a long, fascinating and highly lucrative series) whereby we find people who do interesting things – whether as a hobby or as a job, with friends or alone, artistic or technical – and discover what makes them tick. First off, the inimitable Jadell Zee, paint spraying soldier of fortune, from London NW10.
Who do you write with?
I write with THE OTHERS.
Tell us about your favourite piece – where it is and what it is
My favourite piece is usually the most recent one I did, because I’m still a learner; so each piece is better than the last. It currently resides in an estate in Stockwell, and it reads ‘Jadell’.
Why and when did you start doing graffiti?
I started doing graffiti around 1984, but didn’t really have a tag until summer of ’85. I just got into it when Hip Hop arrived over here, along with lots of other teenagers. It was dangerous, a good laugh, and impressed other kids.
What’s your favourite thing about it?
My favourite thing is putting my final outline on the piece, and watching it start to snap together. You still have a way to go before finishing; like your background, highlights, keyline and whatever; but I dig it when you finally get a picture of how well you’ve done with your main filling and 3D.
One top tip for the aspiring artist?
I would say bring lots of the caps you like with you. There’s nothing that can ruin your day more than having paint that doesn’t do what you want of it. Apart from terrible weather of course.
Have you ever been caught? If so, what was the first time
Between 1986 and 1989 I was at my most prolific illegally, during that time I was in trouble with the law constantly. I won’t bore you with the details, but the first time was just typical stupidity – I was tagging on a wall in paint and the police just happened to be driving past, saw me and pulled up next to me. I didn’t even notice because I was a bit….’tipsy’.
Okay, I want three inspirations. They can be other people’s pieces, bits of music or non-street art or whatever (and why)
Mad Society Kings and Heavy Artillery crews; I know they’re an obvious choice but they are constantly pushing the boundries of graffiti; you can learn a lot just by taking your time to figure out how they achieved certain paint effects and techniques.
In terms of music, if I’m doing a piece then it would be Black Sabbath. The two just go together so well, it’s just meant to be. Or, some quality Hip Hop like Little Brother or Action Bronson.
I guess the third would be my crew, The Others. Zaki Dee 163, Snatch, Chum 101 and myself. We get it on because we get along.
BMX, skateboard or snowboard?
Man I do ALL. BMX has probably been the biggest part of my life out of all the three…..but I snowboard more these days simply because more of my mates do it – all my BMX and skate buddies have either given up, got married and had kids, or are too fuckin’ fat to do it any more.
Do you have a favourite nozzle?
My favourite cap is probably the default one that comes with Montana 94 cans, which for some puzzling reason you can’t buy on its own. This is annoying for me, as it’s not my preferred type of paint!
Who/where would you most like to do something?
I would most like go back in time and do a fucked up MTA train, in 1982’s New York, with FBA or CIA!