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Writer's Block

Letting Go and Getting up with Graffiti Writer Fuct D30

More often than not, a vandal claims that they took up graffiti as means of escaping a more grievous criminal life and it’s inevitable consequences. For Los Angeles writer Fuct, that's certainly the case.
May 1, 2014, 11:00am

Writer's Block is a regular column that takes a low-brow approach to profiling various street bombers and modern-day vandals with a mixture of stories, off-the-cuff interviews, and never-before-seen pictures.

More often than not, a vandal will claim he took up graffiti as a means of escaping a more grievous criminal life and its inevitable consequences. This was certainly true for Fuct (AL, OTR, NCT, 3AK, D30, FTL).

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He grew up in a rough East Los Angeles neighborhood that offered a wide range of vices. His parents picked theirs, and were absent for most of his young life. Luckily, Fuct found solace in his uncle, who would support his blossoming interest in graffiti under the condition that he’d stay away from gangs—something that his uncle had learned firsthand.

“Drive-bys were happening to my house,” he explained, “My uncle was affiliated through drug dealing and stuff so every gang member that came over to the house was just… It was always something. My uncle knew the next step for me was joining a gang, so he told me, ‘If you join a gang, I'm going to fucking beat your ass.’ I took his word for it. I always listened to him. That was my pops. That was my mom.”

Unfortunately, the gangs were often too persuasive, and on more than one occasion, the pre-adolescent Fuct was not only recruited but jumped into a set. “I'd go home and tell my uncle. He'd grab his shotgun and look for the initiator."

Barred from gangsterism, Fuct fell in with a group of young writers, mainly the crews CTK and GTA. While they mentored him in the art of letters, his style was being equally shaped by the territorial markings of the area’s Hispanic gangs.The dual influences gave Fuct a style that was uniquely his own, and he quickly established himself as a force to reckon with in the world of graffiti. In Los Angeles, you have to climb to bomb, and Fuct became a fire-escape artist. He adopted rooftops and billboards as his favored targets and set off a trend of sky-high destruction across the Southland.

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The friends who taught him to paint eventually transitioned into Sureños, the dominant gang in Southern California. And around the same time, Fuct watched his uncle, the one person in the world on whom he could depend, head to prison for 15 years. His graffiti kicked into overdrive at that point, with a moniker to match his mood: Fuct. “When it came down to it, I just felt fucked,” he explains, “There was nothing out there for me, ya know? I was just one fucked kid, and all I wanted to do was paint.”

Fuct has the scars to earn the bars, as evident in the story of his first time bombing with Augor MSK. Using a homemade harness, Augor lowered Fuct to an otherwise unreachable spot on a wall three stories above a freeway. But the plan, if not ill conceived, was certainly ill executed.

“The harness jerks me, and then that shit just fucking lets loose. I'm holding on for almost like 10 to 15 minutes. If you're doing something like that—your arms, they lock. My hand was so numb, I couldn't do anything. I'm trying to pull up, he couldn't pull me up, and I start going down.”

Realizing that he wouldn’t be able to make it up with his arms out of commission, and that landing on his head would mean certain death, Fuct came to an instant and unimaginable decision. He had to let go. Augor protested wildly, but Fuct let go of the harness and plummeted to the freeway below.

"Ignoring his plea for me to hold on, I let go of the harness, pushing against the wall, and I fell. I let myself go, and I looked at him. When I hit the floor, I broke my whole right side.”

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A screeching SUV alerted the rest of the traffic that a body had just fallen from the sky and Fuct avoided death again. He crawled to the shoulder, through the plants, and over a fence, where he eventually regrouped with Augor.

The ensuing recovery time was hell for the over-eager writer.

“My leg was broken for 16 months. My cast was from my foot all the way close to my waist. So finally I decided, ‘Fuck the hospital; they don't know what they're talking about.' I needed to paint; I had so much paint in front of me that I was looking at everyday. It took me six scissors and four days to cut the cast off.”

It may seem like a drastic measure to the average citizen, but a vandal thinks differently. The insatiable urge to get up seems to seep into all aspects of a vandal's being.

“When the streets are talking and they love what you're doing, you can't stop. There was no way I could stop, so I kept going.”

From the moment a vandal begins getting up, he is told to grow up. It is a puerile pastime, a kid crime. Even criminals themselves, confounded by risk without profit, will tell the vandal to grow up. Now, two decades deep into his graffiti career and renowned worldwide, he's managed to see past the detractors.

He maintains a clear sense of dignity in his pursuit to enrich his life. He is hungry without being thirsty, and uses his formidable time in the game and the skill and wisdom that comes with that longetivity. In a new-school world of hollow hustle, Fuct is the rare type to believe in earning the right to do as he pleases.

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“There's so many people now that just jump on stage, you know? Especially right now. Everyone wants something for nothing. I don't ask for anything. I just make noise and wait for the moment to happen."

And as is often the case when something is given enough time, connections made in graffiti have transitioned into opportunities outside of cans and caps that Fuct has successfuly been able to capitalize on.

It could be argued that all with all of this success in life and business, not to mention fatherhood of a young son, Fuct would be tempted to retire from the vandal life.

“I’ve gone two fuckin’ decades or more with my name, even before that I was still running amuck as a little kid. It's in your blood. You can't let it go. Just yesterday, I was killing with a bunch of younger cats. And when give me my props, it makes me look up and say, ‘Yeah, I did work hard.’ I could've been doing ten to life right now, like most of the friends I grew up with. Half of them are dead and the other half of them are doing life. Writing on a wall took me away from a lot.”