GIN ONE: Bus Writer Days
Story by Gin TNT
50mm staff writer
The Year was 1986 when I began to notice graffiti on the transits. Some of the first tags that I remember seeing back then were "MR" for "Miner" and "Rival" dripper tags on the outsides of buses. Although these were among some of the first most prominent tags that I had seen they would not be the last tags I would see. My bus line was RTD Bus Line 68 which began in West Los Angeles and would end in East Los Angeles at the Montebello Town Center. I remember seeing plenty of writers up on this line who would eventually grace this line and many others with their names and crews. Writers such as "Smuger" "SG" TWC "Together We Chill", "Chase", "Earn", "Minus" UCA "Undercover Artists", "Rase", "Zappa", "Hael", "Remo", "Crier", "MCForce", "Dcreas", "Derect", "Shake", "Peace","MR 151", "Gee 69!", "Peace 67", "PonyBoy", and many others.
Bus writing in Los Angeles was new but quickly grew into an artistic phenomenon which spread throughout the city. Writers from all over started crews and began covering the transits with names and roll calls which for the likes have not been seen since. Bus writing for myself "Ginone" was inspired formost by wall art of local gangs who dominated the area in which I grew up in, an area southwest of which is known today as Pico Union. I remember in those early days all I wanted to do was to write. Myself and my crew would go out writing simply because we loved to do it! In those days I would easily get excited just by the smell of a fresh Pilot marker or the sight of a clean transit rolling my way. Bus writing later turned into a competition and drive between me and some of the best writers and crews the transits had to offer. This competition and drive by all writers to be the best was the beginning of a long journey which included many transit writing techniques and innovations which emerged out of this drive to be the king of all lines!
Bus writing techniques and spots were new...The drivers side rooftop was prized among writers as well as the drivers side window down tag which "Scamer" from SNM "Show No Mercy" would be known for. Writers would be amazed by any writer who could accomplish the art of the drivers side. Some of the writers I would see up with drivers side spots were "Triax" drivers side rooftop, "Ser" and "Price" driver side billboards. Billboards and the RTD bus body were among the most popular among writers to get-up on (pictures 2, 3, 5, 6). As the transit system began buffing more, spots began to go higher which eventually led to the passenger side rooftop (picture 4) which was harder for the transit system to buff. Another prized spot would be the corner top destination (picture 1). This was later followed by writers with the window top destination (picture 7), and also followed later with the crazy spot to get on the transits which would be the back of the bus grill...which you had to hold onto and get your name or crew up on! Later, the scribe began to make its mark on the scene in the form of small to huge window down tags using rocks, ceramic scribers, and other items which writers used to scribe their way to fame.
Among the many writing utensils used by writers the most prized possesion was the "Edding Streak" which was the size of a chapstick and which came in about 20-30 different colors such as : Avacodo, Silver, Gold, Hot Pink, Turquoise. These mini-streaks dissapeared just as fast as they appeared from the scene which was around 1988. Although writers had supplies it seemed that for a long time writing supplies in Los Angeles were very hard to find. Eventually writers including myself would venture outside of Los Angeles to look or visit secret racking spots. On one occasion myself"Ginone" and "Price" ventured out to El Monte Station and caught a bus to Glendora, CA to visit a racking spot that "Price" knew about which after-wards we were rewarded with 4 boxes of Mean Streaks. Writers also began to use different methods of writing like when "Triax" used to use a school eraser dipped with ink to do the fattest tags you have ever seen on a bus! or when "Smuger" and "Prankster" would hit up the bus body using custom deordorant stick markers filled with dripper ink! I eventually would make my own custom colored uni-paints which consisted of Baby-Blue, and Silver-Red.
Writers would also meet at benches which consisted of meeting places where crews or writers would meet to discuss topics or beef. Some of the writers benches during this time were: The Triax bench in Hollywood, CA where writers from all over the city would meet to hit transits some of the writers at this bench were: "Triax", "Price", "Cube", "Test", "Ginone", "Blizz", "Drew", "Lerner", "Akrem", "Sylo", "Rom", "Scab", "Recon", "Metro" and others. The other bench was the Fairfax bench which was another meeting place for writers such as: "Mane", "Deko", "Peace", "Wisk", "Ser", "Miner", "Pjay", "Rase", "Zappa" and many others. The other writers bench was in Huntington Park which consisted of members from the NTS crew for "Next To Serve" which was later changed to NTSK for "Notorious Kings". But eventually these writers benches would serve only as the meeting places but to get a feel for who the uppest writer/s on the transits were you would have to eventually go Downtown.
Downtown Los Angeles was the place to be in 1987-88 if you really wanted to get a feel for who the uppest writer/s on the transits were! Buses from all over the city would eventually end up in Downtown Los Angeles. On any given day or weekend you would find writers or crews walking around hitting transits or just hanging out. Eventually the biggest excitement Downtown was seeing a bus make its way through the hussle and bussle of the city and make its way passed you rolling and carrying your name! This was the ultimate feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction which in the end made writing on transits all worth while.
1. Picture: "Ginone" corner destination.
2. Picture: "Lerner" throwie on Rtd Line 180. "Evener" on window.
3. Picture: "Price" and "Wisk" on the Rtd 1 Line billboard.
4. Picture: "Cube" double tags Rtd Line 1 rooftop.
5. "Gin", "Rom", "Akrem", "Lerner" Hollywood 1987.
6. Picture: "Wisk" on Yamato billboard.