I write Barnes or Animal Shelter, and I’m an American living in Seoul, South Korea. I’ve been writing for about 6 years now, but have been interested in graffiti since 95/96- just never got properly schooled by any older writers growing up.
I moved to Korea a few years ago for a few reasons. I moved to Portland, OR in ‘07 just after university and found my life to be a little stagnant. I looked into teaching English in all Asian and South American nations that sounded interesting and ultimately South Korea offered the best opportunity to travel, make and save money, and get up in a truly foreign country. Had never been to anywhere in Asia prior so the decision was easy.
Some estimate that the city of Seoul itself is more populated than the entire continent of Australia. Something like 22 million folks in Seoul and the outer metropolitan area. There are literally people everywhere at all times of day. It’s also got the highest suicide rate on the planet. Go figure.
The food is amazing if you like Korean bar-be-que and kimchi. It’s all spicy as hell and very meat oriented, which both work very well for me. No complaints on the food front. Even tried dog a few times.
It’s not as much strange so much as consistently annoying, but cars and scooters here don’t obey traditional road laws. Red lights are optional and cars frequently drive on the sidewalks. A pain in the ass for us pedestrians, but something you learn to work your way around.
It’s actually surprisingly easy to get up in this country, considering the amount of people always meandering about. Also, it’s not a real developed scene here yet, so very few people even know what we’re doing. By the time most civilians even notice what’s happened, you’ve either disappeared or maintain like it never took place. And it’s not the cops you worry about, it’s the older storeowners and occasional random you encounter that’ll chase you.
The nightlife here kicks off well into the break of dawn with loads of quality spots depending on your forte’ or mood. Most places don’t seem to close until the place is empty, and you can smoke (ciggies, herb is simply not available in this country) and drink pretty much anywhere you want- subways, taxis, streets, anywhere. Koreans love to booze. Soju being a local favorite.
Asian chickies are fine as fuck and not that much of a challenge to tackle when you got your head on straight. I do all right for myself. Dating a Korean broad at the moment whom I quite dig, so…
I miss my homies, my family, and a few bad habits I can’t dabble in in this country, but I’m happy here for the time being.
Not much else to be said I guess, other than the backwards outlook a lot of writers have here about bombing. Since graff just got introduced to Asian culture not that long ago, kids here are taking it on without the history engrained. Trains aren’t really an option, and a lot of cats don’t really cover all the bases. I mean, it’s nice to be able to rock a skilled piece in a chill spot, but you gotta put in a load more work to be called a writer, which obviously means hands, throwies, straight letters, etc..
There’s a handful of cats getting up hard in this country and I can happily throw my name on that list, but most writers here take it on more as an “art form” rather than a battle against concrete and pubic space. Which I would say is more urban styled artwork than real graffiti. And I’m not claiming to be anywhere close to a giant in this game, but I’ve put my name on enough shit in this country to be able to say that confidently.
Word up. Shouts to the True Brother’s Militia , AX crew, my girl, my homie’s here in SFD, Clesh and Bisok, and Day in the Lyfe for hooking this up. Cheers.
Man Hope killed it! He emailed me a week or so again, and asked if he could do a piece with my moniker in the background, and would I mind. I said sure bro, I don’t mind, shit HOPE 4 was going to rock something with me in it, NICE! He’s been rocking the freights it for years, and he does it quite well! I felt honored because he asked me, and second because he wanted to do it with respect to me. He has always been a good straight up guy. Thanks Hope, piece bro!