Graffiti Scene Hard Hit with Drug Epidemic [OP-ED]

Posted on: February 24th, 2016 at 10:33 am by

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TKID Freehand

The following editorial was submitted to us by a member of the graffiti community who chose to remain anonymous. The tipster felt that, while our Uncapped: Beneath the Paint Series showcases the artists, the inherent struggles, and even death, there is a huge piece missing. Drugs. This is not an easy read, and it’s going to piss off a lot of people. 


In the past 4 months, 6 graff artists have died from overdosing on drugs. The rest of the community never tells the public how someone died. The families keep it to themselves. Only close friends know and their lips are sealed shut. Out of respect, and understandably. The TKID interview talked about how graffiti saved his life and got him off drugs. Wouldn’t it be helpful to the rest of the community if other artists admitted their addiction and asked for help? Is he the only one with fucking balls?

Do you know what it is like to go to 6 funerals in 4 months and all of the deaths were preventable? These motherfuckers are real junkies, man, and at one point, I was no better.  I am about to retire. I ain’t taking this with me to my grave. I was addicted to heroin ’cause that huffing high didn’t do it for me anymore – me and my boys all got high. When my daughter was born I cleaned up. I was lucky. Some trade paint for dope! Get the fuck outta here. Molly, coke, whatever … and that shit is expensive, too.

Some of the artists I paint with can’t paint without being high. I know people who smoke crack. CRACK IS WACK! RIP Keith Haring. What happened to us? Why isn’t anyone doing anything to stop this shit? I don’t want to lose another friend or see a family lose another loved one.

In the Bowery Boogie tribute to Pane (RIP MY HOMIE) a commenter said that maybe he died from breathing in the fumes. Yeah, okay; the fumes are toxic and some of us end up needing it to huff and that leads to needing another kind of a high? Fuck, man I always wear a mask now. When I first started piecing, I was blowing color out my nose.

Here’s another thing. Jesus forgive me, but I think that there’s a lot of non-accidental, “accidental” deaths, and our code – no snitches, no rats, an eye for an eye – jives with the gang culture that prevents us from the truth. It’s true, man. Bunch of graff bros used to be bang. Once again the only bro to admit it was TKID. There are people dying that have been murdered. Too much fame, too many enemies. I don’t know why.

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“The only one with fucking balls”

Most of the deaths look obvious – they died in their homes asleep, they died after a break night of partying.

How many more of us have to die before the problem is addressed? We make art right? Are we that untalented that we need different highs to make us better? Fuck that. You are all my fam. I love you. Get help or die.

Bless you all my brothers. I’m sorry if I hurt anyone by writing this, but fuck it. Truth hurts.

Postscript: shortly after editing this piece, TAKE BTM died. Prayers for his family from all of us at Bowery Boogie. 

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