Twick ICP in Clarion Alley (part 2/4)
At that point I'd realised I'd run into a San Francisco art identity - Francisco 'Twick' Aquino, of the Inner City Phame crew. Twick has been involved in graffiti in San Francisco nearly as long as anyone in the area, and has been a participant in the evolution of graffiti as a form of expression. Twick, today, was by himself, doing what he loves.
"So can you tell me a bit about this piece? What does it mean to you?"
"Well, you ever heard Grandmaster Flash and The Message? 'It's like a jungle sometimes, it makes me wonder how I keep from going under'. Well, we live in a concrete jungle, and that's what this is about. It's got a different texture to a real jungle but it's still a jungle."
"Yeah - life can get a bit intense. So can you tell me a bit more about how you got started?"
"I started out growing up in a gang environment in the 80s with and I had influences like XIV and SFM. I got exposed to the Cholo/Chicano style of writing, and I wanted to imitate the gang hieroglyph. One day hip-hop found me, gave me direction and I never looked back."
"Can you say a bit more about how your work evolved?"
"It doesn't just have to be tagging, writing your name. Art can be about writing a message, and it's a powerful tool."
Twick steps back to regard the last few strokes of paint, and he tells me about the spirituality of his work.
"I have Mayan and Aztec ancestors, and they speak to me through my blood. I think of myself as a modern-day Mayan, and the streets and their walls are my temple."
On to part 3.