Gruenwald: Well, you know, graffiti gets on the wall, on the pavement. In a city where you do everything by yourself, you have got to be willing to come up with a way of getting your work on the wall and getting your message across.
In other words, the best way is always to come up with something unique, something beautiful or funny, and make it as good as it can be and have it on the wall.
How long does a graffiti artist stay in one place?
Gruenwald: Well, you know, every guy goes down to make a profit. I mean, everybody will keep moving in the same direction.
Is it just to make money?
Gruenwald: Well there are always going to be guys who make money and have to find another job. But in general a lot of guys move up in the scene.
Where do these guys go to?
Gruenwald: There is a general association with the city of New York, because it’s the epicenter for graffiti. It is such a beautiful piece of art—so beautiful—and there is one place to turn to.
So, in the city, the most desirable places to be on a wall, in terms of how many people you can get on it, are generally in New York or the Bronx. They may move up, but not always.
Where do these people congregate?
Gruenwald: Most of the guys in the Bronx come from the East End, the South Bronx—that has a history of graffiti.
This is part of the reason why, when we talk to our youths, we try to get in touch with their families in New York and the East End.
Do you think there are more East End guys who are in graffiti now than in the West?
Gruenwald: I don’t know why that is. Probably people have noticed them and are interested.
Where do you find these guys, and how do you keep track of them?
Gruenwald: The only way we have got is the newspaper—there’s no other way.
Is this a job you like?
Gruenwald: This is my thing. I like to paint. And the last thing you want to be doing is painting.
Have you found graffiti guys as much of a problem off-duty as the cops?
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