Interview with Then One coming from New Jersey

February 13, 2014 at 7:40 am

New Jersey’s own 4sakn talks with Then one about his work and painting. Check out what’s cracking with this beast in the East! Then one is painting walls, canvas, shoes, designing shirts, and has an all around style, and energy to his work. Please read on as 4sakn finds out what’s what with Then One. Enjoy.



What neighborhood are you from, also what crews do you represent?

I’ve lived in a number of neighborhoods, most of them in New Jersey. It’s where I got my first taste of graffiti and being close to New York City really influenced both my graffiti and artwork. I rep a few crews, Aids Crew, LCF and QM8.

How long and what got you into graffiti?

Graffiti was and is always part of your life’s backdrop when growing up and living in and around New York City. As a kid my stepfather was a big fan of the Mets so going to see games in Flushing, Queens riding the 7 train covered in graffiti was probably my first experience with it. My personal involvement with graffiti started in about 1993 when In met a few other writers in Jersey City who schooled me to a few things about the game. From that point I had nothing but love for the art.


What or who were some of your inspirations when you were coming up?

At the time that I started there was no internet to surf and pull any influence from, I grew up in a time where you had to go out and physically see these murals people talked about and take photos with disposable film cameras which you had to wait to have developed (pain in the ass.) Another big source was magazines that had pictured from writers all over the states and the world. A few really stood out to me, Under Cover Magazine, 12oz Prophet Magazine and Scribble Magazine. There were so many influential photos in those zines that I used to stare at and study for hours on end.


I have watched you paint a bunch of times you have your own unique method, can you explain how it has evolved from when you first began?

When I first started there was no method it was more madness. I’ve always really worked at being as clean as I can, I always felt that a mastery of your medium meant that you could control it to the point of personal satisfaction as well as creating a visually cohesive design. Being that graffiti is more of a freeform expression something that evokes a feeling of letting loose and getting over really helped push the idea of freestyling my pieces the same way I would tag a wall or elude the police. Anytime I tried to copy a sketch it never really captured the energy that I achieved when I freestyling a piece. So it’s what I’ve been working on for years and feel like I’m finally getting closer to the results I’ve been looking for.


From billboards to highways you have done it all, what are some of your favorite missions?

I’ve always liked a variety of places to paint. Some of the most memorable missions were always when I painted with someone else. There’s a certain level of comfort you have with yourself but when you’re painting with someone else you tend to break out of comfort zone because of the other persons approach to bombing. Some people are balls to the wall and others are calculating at all times. I’ve painted with both kinds of people and the outcome was always an adrenaline boosting experience. My favorite missions to date were painting spots with my old bombing partner Yodes. It never failed that when we went out painting there were always a few too many shots, beers and bad ideas.


So not only do you kill walls but your also an amazing fine artist, what drives the style in your canvas work and separates it from your peers?

My work in the streets has definitely influenced my work on canvas. I approach a canvas the same way a wall, an idea of the colors I’d like to use as well as some elements I’d like to  incorporate into the theme and just run with it. I feel a strong need to attack the canvas with the whole freestyle mindset, I feel like it captures the essence of the moment rather than recreating something that was pre-planned. It’s those moments of complete freedom, creativity and raw energy that can never be captured twice. It’s the feeling about being unsure about your next move, a fear of the unknown that drives me to paint.


You have been in a bunch of galleries and a part of many shows which do you feel was your personal best and explain how you prepared? ( hinting at the Philly show)

The solo show I had in Philadelphia last June was my best show to date. Having the support of gallery owner Evan Slepian was amazing. He was there every step of the way getting prints ready, coordinating his clients as well as our sleepless selves. We really cranked out the installation which was not possible without the help of my crew members and homies, Ntel and Dutch. Sourcing materials, getting paintings finished and trying to stay awake for a week was interesting, but Philly’s cheesesteaks helped me get through it hahaha! Thanks Evan!!!!!!!!


Besides art galleries what are some other events and companies have you worked with?

I’ve had my share of tough times but always stay focused on my goals which has led me to work with some really great clients. I’ve worked with Complex, Heineken, Smirnoff, Ray-Ban, Freestyle Watches, Guess Jeans, Art-Primo, Jedi Mind Tricks ,Roxy Cottontail, Jasmine Solano to name a few. It’s these kind of projects that have really taught me about the business aspect to being an artist.


Any upcoming events heads should look out for?

I’m part of a group show on September 21st, 2013 at the WP Gallery ( in Philadelphia. The show is going to feature collaborative paintings by Aids Crew as well as individual works and an installation. At the show we’ll also have a book release, definitely not to be missed. I’m also currently a part of The Element Tree collective run by Serringe. We’ve been really pushing for larger scale projects and murals and have tapped into some great things lately.


Any shot outs and contacts you would like people to know? (website, IG, etc)


I want to give some shouts to Aids Crew, LCF Crew, QM8, Element Tree, Snow FX/QM8, Liver Bashers, Montana Black, Flame Paint, Art-Primo, Works on Paper Gallery, The homies Max, Chuck and Bamms and my lady Sue.