Although not a well-known name back in the day, Solo was around to
witness all the great work of so many writers and did his small part
as conditions allowed in order to help make the writing culture more
prevalent in Queens.

"It was August of 1978 when we arrived in the Kew Gardens
neighborhood, right by the corner of Metropolitan Ave and 116
Street/Audley, about a block away from the beginning of Forest Park.
Having only lived in Whitestone & College Point prior, it did not
take but a matter of days for me to take full notice of the writing
culture phenomenon that existed in our new neighborhood. Graf was
basically non-existent in our previous areas at that point, save for
the occasional band logo or a smattering of other civilian writing.
The first name I spotted, while initially exploring the block, was a
bubble letter SN outline behind our building, and those letters were
immediately appealing.

Within a week or two I had met SN, who founded the MGA (Mad Graffiti
Artists) crew and his younger brother MIGE. They introduced me to
additional members of the crew, STOCE, SOCO, RI, IT, GG, DR, as well
as others. At the age of 10 I developed the tags SOLO & SZ, and
became the newest member of MGA.

The area was loaded with writers at that time: SIKE, ST, COOK, ROCKY,
NIP and the rest of the 112 park crew, ROOK, COSE, ZACH, MARTY/NE,
KENNY/DI and the Metro park crew, UNCLE JOHN 178, TEAR, FLIP, SAR,
OD, STOE, MOVIE & ZEP, NED, KEVIN/EX-1, and so many more.

The J line was nearby to the south; the E & F yard to the north, and
the LIRR lines as well. These were all magnets for the writing masses
and we frequented all of them regularly. IZ THE WIZ and VINNY were
considered the two top subway kings at that time, and then the
recollections of seeing VINNY's stylish yet readable letters during
prior years started coming back to me. I knew nothing yet about the
culture before then, but always noticed that name VINNY rolling by on
the elevateds whenever we drove into the Bronx, as well as when my
mom would take me on the 7's into Manhattan on occasion. Now it all
made sense, and was quite inspiring.

My first piece on a subway occurred in the Spring of 1979, when my
partner DR and I ventured to the E & F yard by Union Turnpike on a
Sunday afternoon. We found a nice hole in the fence down toward the
end of the yard, crept in, did quick block-letter fills with white
and orange on an F train, and got the hell out of there. A week later
I ran into another partner of mine, STOCE, and he let me know that he
had already seen our work running. I was elated. And hooked.

Unfortunately, I was soon to find out that we were moving to Texas,
and by mid '79 we were out of that area. I was crushed, due to being
yanked away from the culture I had developed such a love for. Luckily
my mother worked for an airline, and for the next 6 or 7 years I was
able to visit NYC during just about every major holiday and for a
good chunk of every Summer due to the low-cost family travel benefits
that existed back then.

Always staying with my grandparents in Whitestone as a homebase, I
started to explore those areas of Queens and get busy when I could.
Flushing was closest and it was there that I started seeing the work
of PRO & SON, Partners At Large. I had much admiration for their work
and will never forget biking up to the Whitestone bridge in 1980 and
witnessing the beautiful pieces they had recently done on the
handball courts and pillars under the bridge. I was so excited that
they had chosen to put in such amazing quality work in Whitestone!

Around 1981 I started venturing over to the 7 line and watching the
trains roll by from the area around Shea stadium. FLAME, FUZZ, CONAN,
BIONIC, ANGEL DUSTER, OE3 & P13, JOEY, EKO, KB, and so many others
were rocking the line, it was incredible to see.

The following year, 1982, the TDK crew got busy all over Flushing
with killer work. SO, GHOST, REC127, ZONE, PEAK and others were
rocking the area with nice colorful burners, and that was so
inspiring to see. I was still mostly just sticking to the Whitestone
area at that time, doing a lot of pieces under the Throgs Neck Bridge
-- my main stomping grounds -- and that general area.

While hanging out in Whitestone that Summer I started seeing a new
tag appearing. The name ROBBIE was starting to pop up and he had some
nice style. There were very few writers in that area back then; none
of whom I had yet met, including SILVER, SLIT (who later started
writing TORCH), BOSS, TILT (Sundance Kid), myself and maybe a couple
others I can't recall now. And it was great to see a new name
appearing. Not long afterward I was introduced to ROBBIE while
hanging out with a crowd behind the Whitestone shopping center one
night, and shortly after that we went on some local writing missions.
Later that year ROBBIE changed his name to LOST, hooked up with GHOST
& NEO, created the RIS crew and went on to go all-city. That was
awesome to see.

That next Summer, 1983, my best friend and writing partner in Texas,
Rory, who wrote SI-3 & POLO, flew out to Queens with me and stayed
for a couple weeks. We had been excitedly planning this trip for a
long time, and got busy all over Whitestone, Flushing, rode the 7's,
E's & F's, N's, as well as some of the other number lines around the
city and into the Bronx, rocking stations, insides & in-betweens
everywhere we went. We got up in the area around the 7 yard, taunted
the guard dogs there, and one night crept out back behind it and did
black & yellow pieces on the old LIRR passenger car that was parked
back there, facing the elevated 7's. Then the night before the 4th of
July, we strolled down to the Throgs Neck bridge to sip beers and
light some fireworks and as we were leaving two guys our age were
walking by us and for some reason we all just stopped and said what's
up. They ended up being TORCH & BOSS, and we all talked graf for

Torch and I became good friends, and have been ever since. Sadly,
Rory lost his life as the result of a car accident in 1991, and is
greatly missed. He had such a strong love for the writing culture,
which continues to inspire me to this day. During another visit later
that year, possibly around Thanksgiving, I did my second piece on a
subway car. While riding the line toward Union Turnpike I spotted an
N train laid up at the 67th a\ve station. I hopped off, went down
into the tunnel and proceeded to do a blue and yellow piece on the
parked train. It was the perfect way to finish off a nicely active
year, and helped me return to Texas feeling like a stronger
participant in the culture.

1984 turned out to be the height of my subway writing career. During
my first visit of the year, in early March, I met some writers while
riding the line doing motions, DEO, DEEN, EN, as well as some others.
We met up at the 111th St. layup the next night and I watched DEEN do
a top to bottom outline on the white 7's in about 10 seconds. Then
after the next line rolled thru we all filed down off the platform
and got busy on those lovely white surfaces. Upon returning in the
Summertime I spent many hours riding the line doing insides, along
with my trademark spot which was the panel in between cars opposite
the conductor window. I loved that spot as it could be seen from both
inside and outside of the train, and recall how sweet it was to be
doing in-betweens as the train was rolling and at the same time being
able to see all the ones from the prior hour rolling back by in the
opposite direction!

I ventured over to the double R's one evening with hopes of hitting
the elevated layup in Astoria, but things just didn't seem kosher and
I headed back to the 7's. I think it was 111th that was laid up
again, so I hopped off and when things cleared out I descended the
stairs to the tracks. As I approached the train I heard voices behind
me and realized there were windows open in the building facing the
tracks. Hopes of doing a full piece turned into just doing an outline
& tag in black on the white 7 and I was out of there. Two days later
my grandfather and I attended a Mets game at Shea stadium, and at the
exact moment I was walking down the ramp to the concession, a line
appeared on the 7's and there was my new outline rolling by, on the
opposite side that it was done on! I was psyched to see it hadn't
been buffed yet!

At the end of that Summer I did my third and final subway piece. One
weekend morning I decided to check out that 67th Ave. layup that I
hit the previous year, and there just happened to be a GG train laid
up there! Things felt a little sketchy, as it was almost too quiet,
but I went into the tunnel anyway. Rocked a red & baby blue piece on
the train, caught a big tag high on the pillar next to it and hit up
1984. Climbed out of the tunnel and, all sweaty and dirty, headed
back to Whitestone very happy. A few months later I was back in town
for a few days and took off destined for the N line. Somewhere in
Manhattan there was a station where the last car was on a curve, not
visible to the conductor. I found the station and began doing tags on
the outside of the last car on every train that stopped, just enough
time between when the doors closed and the train started moving out
of the station. After about 5 or 6 trains, my confidence was very
high, and I boarded the next line that pulled in. There were two guys
at the very back of the car, so I walked to the other end and pulled
out my pilot. They didn't seem to be watching so I turned and hit the
panel above the seat with a nice big tag. As I turned back and was
putting the marker away I looked up and those two large individuals
were heading right toward me, not looking happy. They yanked me out
of the seat, took all my markers out of my pockets, and then slammed
my skinny frame around the car for a while. As we pulled into the
next station they told me they were subway workers and said I was
lucky they were off duty and had things to do. Told me to get the
hell off the train, which I gladly did, and they rolled off. That was
a damn good lesson on being overconfident, and foolishly tagging in
front of others.

While I did get to NYC now and then over the next couple years, and
was still getting up a bit here and there (I remember seeing SAINT
come out and do countless tags end to end across entire stations on
the 7's, and SHEER start taking over rooftops along the line as well)
the visits were shorter and less frequent now that I had started
working more back in Texas. Paying for cars, the ladies, and other
such luxuries took more of a priority at that point, and demanded
much of my time. Fall of 1986 I started college, met my future wife,
got kicked out of my folks house, and started getting up heavily
around the Dallas/Ft. Worth area with my new found freedom. While i
was loving getting busy out there, there was still a gnawing from
within due to no longer being around the NYC culture which I loved so
much. It was during this time that I stumbled upon a freight layup
while out and about one night at the end of 1986. I caught a few tags
on the one car that was there and then went on about my business.
Over the next couple of weeks I thought more and more about them and
then recollected that over the years while riding the 7 line over
Sunnyside yard it was always packed with freight cars. Also there
were times when I rode the double R's to the end station in Astoria,
and long freights would roll by high above on the Hellgate Bridge.
Then it clicked that the freights could be my way of still staying
connected with the NYC culture, while at the same time having to live
so far away from it. So in January of 1987 I began seeking out
freight spots around the DFW area, of which there were multitudes,
and have focused most of my writing toward the rolling steel canvas
ever since.

It has been absolutely incredible to watch the freight writing
culture develop from it's infancy, to the massive movement it has now
become. All-city has become all-continent, and if writers avoid
painting over the car reporting marks & numbers, work is now rolling
untouched for decades, phenomenal longevity.

Rest In Peace SN-mga, MIGE-mga, SI-3, IZ THE WIZ, REC127, KOOL AD,
FLAME, DONDI, CASE2, SHY147, DEO, SANE, SIRE365, and all the other
fallen brethren who dedicated so many precious hours of their lives
to the writing culture."