The Bench: SP One

“It was like a right of passage, all my friends wrote graffiti in the early ’80s,” SP One says of his youth in Queens in the first edition of our new series, “The Bench,” produced by the one-and-only Chino BYI. “Unlike today, everything revolved around the schoolyard.” Not only did he write graffiti there, he also picked up firecracker wrappers and rolling papers for his first collages.

That early graffiti would eventually become inspiration for his later pieces when he rediscovered drawings during a move. His color schemes already revolved around old school Rusto colors and he was using older paper discovered at a lost stationary store in East New York, so the transition to throwback lettering matched. “The pieces are born, in essence, out of the first piece I did,” he explains. “For so long, I was doing pieces that had to be perfect.” But then he thought back to how much fun writers had in the ’70s, and the idea took over.

“I want to go back, kind of, and just have fun.”

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