FCEE has been skating and writing in NYC for four decades. He bombs while riding his board, and his tag has roots in skating–FCEE fits the bill perfectly for this project. We sat down for this interview at the end of 2019; now we are in a new year and a new decade, and I am certain FCEE is going to continue to maintain a steady presence in both scenes for a fifth decade.
What came first: skating or graffiti?
Writing, at a very young age; like ’82. These guys known as the Majestic 5 (dj crew) used to hang out at my stepmom’s house in Corona. This guy Hec had his jacket done up and I was stoked on that. I was always doodling and everyone was into graff. I was always into art; all my grades were fucked up except for art. At age five I was drawing on my mom’s walls at home, and she was like, “Chill!” So she put paper on the wall and I’d draw on the paper. But even before that, I lived on Long Island for a short period of time in a town called Massapequa Park; I was there for 2nd and 3rd grade, I think. There was this kid Steve, he was into drawing airplanes and shit, and he was also into writing. He didn’t really bomb, but he was into it. And that’s where I picked it up. But I didn’t get a name until like ’82 or ’83.
How’d you get your tag?
I started off writing “Kid” because every called me “kid.” There was this dude “Mega” aka “Mr. Cleen” and he was like you can’t write Kid because there’s Kid 56, and Kid this and that. So in like ’84, I’m starting to push around on the board. I was back in Flushing and looking for people to skate with. I ran into a lot of guys from 165 Park, on Kissena Blvd: Mace, None, Swave, Sumar, and Nom, and half of them skated. By ’85/’86 I was skating at the Banks. There was this kid from Jersey who I used to skate with there. He was always rockin’ a tube sock on his head and he had this whole flower power thing going on. He got hit by a car going over the wall and ending up dying from his injuries. He was known as Flower Child. So in memory of him, I was like, “I’m gonna rock FC.”
By ’87/’88 I had compiled enough sketches and practice. Two kids in my neighborhood that I was skating with took up writing: Both and LM. Both was going to a school in LIC where you had the SPORTS crew. Smith threw him down with AW. Vamp started writing in ’89. I met my boy Docs and he was skating and into punk and hardcore. So we became bombing partners, hitting everything on our boards. Between the four of us, we started a crew called ESP – Even Skaters Paint. By 1990, the machine is well oiled, and we were skating, going to shows, and bombing at night.
How did you get into skating?
The first time I got on a board was ’84. I moved around a lot growing up. I lived between Queens and Florida. I was in school in Fort Lauderdale, and made friends with dudes that skated there. This one dude in my neighborhood had a Lester Kasia with OJII’s. I said, “This board is really cool.” And he was like, “You want to borrow it? I’m leaving town for a little while.” I’d skate it around, and my dad was like, “Whose skateboard is that?” I was like, “It’s this dude’s from over here.” And he was like, “You really want a skateboard?” I was like, “Yeah!’ So he got me a Variflex, which wasn’t what I wanted, but whatever. I used to write to Madrid and G&S, you know, “send a dollar/get stickers.” After a while I started learning more about what was good and what wasn’t, and ended up getting my own stick. I got a Mark Gonzales street deck, my first official joint.
Who did you look up to in graff in your early days?
At age five, I’d go with my mom to Delancey so she could shop. NYC was dirty and scary, and the train rides were ridiculous – flying through tunnels, lights going out, doors swinging open. But the one thing I enjoyed on these missions with my mom was watching the trains go by. It was just colors flooding and letters dancing. From then, I was infected, but I didn’t know it. I was infiltrated subliminally. There’s too many inspirations to list. But here’s a quick list: Dondi and Lee; I’d have to say Old English, as far as bombing; Serve FBA; and to top it off, IZ, I really liked how clean and simple his shit was; and I can’t leave Seen out – his shit was killin’ it!
Who did you look up to in skating?
I was mostly interested in street. But before the street chapter, I really liked Tom Groholski and Lance. As for the street division, I liked Tommy Guerrero, Danny Sargent, and Mark Gonzales. But I can go on and on, we’d be here for hours.
Video by Steve Marino (@stephenmmarino)
What do you think it is about these two subcultures, graff and skating, that attracts the same type of dude?
There aren’t many things that give you that feeling of adrenaline on the cheap. For example, drag racing and snowboarding cost a lot of money. I was snowboarding for a period of time and I saw my funds being depleted. But with skating, I can just step out my door and I’m skating. Bombing, I would always rack my paint. Plus, I was always fishing through yard sales and flea markets and I’d get a bucket here or an old can there. I never slept on anything. But I’d say they are both a cheap adrenaline rush.
Back in the 80’s and 90’s, skating and graff weren’t accepted by the mainstream. Nowadays they are a lot more so. How do you think this warm welcome from the masses has changed these subcultures?
Vandalism will never be accepted. Street art is accepted. If you produce something that makes people stop and look, yeah that’s accepted. And I can understand why.
As for skating, in NYC in the 80’s, there were maybe 100 skaters per borough, and skating wasn’t accepted. We were always getting into beefs with neighbors because of the noise. So we took it to Manhattan. ‘88 through ‘90, I never got chased for skating in front of a building. You could skate anywhere you wanted. It wasn’t until the population of skating tripled that these spots started getting decimated. That was like ‘91,/’92. So they start posting up security guards with dogs and whatever. So by ’93, I was hating on the skate scene. The concaves changed and wheel sizes changed. So I amassed whatever I could and skated until about late ‘93, but by then I was fed up with it. But I always kept pushing. I didn’t skate to rip; it was for transportation or to go bombing.
In skating it’s not cool to film at skateparks. In graff it’s not cool to paint legal walls. So are legal walls the graff equivalent of skatepark footage?
I do both, in both scenes. At my age, I find it convenient to find all my spots in one. Like Astoria Park and Maloof. But if I’m gonna film, I want it in an urban environment where you have that risk factor. In a skatepark, you don’t have that risk factor of other shit happening, like dogs chasing you or getting into a fight with some dude whose shin you just hit with your board. There are no cops or security. I give more respect to whoever is out there doing the on-the-edge or illegal shit, but to each his own. I’ve seen skatepark footage that has blown my mind. I give respect across the board. If you get up out of bed and do something, I respect you for it. But I don’t expect writers my age to go out and bomb trains anymore because we have something to lose. When they (the authorities) see how old you are, they’re like, “We’re gonna throw the book at this guy!” You’re looking at possibly a year in jail, and if they don’t hit you with time, they’re hitting you with fines. If you have a kid or a family, you’re kind of fucked. But one way or another, I gotta go out and cause wreck!
Last question: Will you hit my book?