His main stomping grounds were the southwest area of Miami-Dade, and he ran with a crew, Alive 5, that claims Miami's first wall of fame, and first graffiti art gallery show.
Today, Hec is still heavy in the arts, and we caught up with him curating a Miami Street Collective show at Fountain Art Fair. Here's what he had to say about starting out, and where he's going.
Where are you from?
I'm from Miami. I was born in Cuba and moved here in 1982. By '83 I was already chilling at the Beat Club, by Bird and 97th Avenue. Run DMC came through there, Mantronix, DJ Mohammed, a lot of shows through this small place.
What was the graffiti scene like back then?
I was on a mission, one of a few kids doing it the way I was. In '84 and '85 no one was doing big pieces in Miami. But after Style Wars came out, it changed almost overnight from wak stick letters to arrows and connections. The book Subway Art was huge too. That and the movie were groundbreaking. Everybody was talking about it. There were several dozen of us in the hip hop scene, with the shoes, and the laces, and the breakers, but back then we had to wait for WPBT to show the movie and someone would record it, and then ten people would record that copy, and it would get messed up from watching it so much. We used to have to call the program director of the station just to get them to play it.
Who were you running with?
Alive 5. That was me, Hec, Sar, Senik, Joker, and we would keep one spot open, one rotating spot. We had the first wall of fame in Miami, on Coral Way, around 97th Ave.
You can only write your name so many different ways for so long. I'm exploring my own style and visual language. I first took a wall in 1983, so coming up in 2013 that's gonna be 30 years. I'm taking my art global, not just to other cities, but to other countries. I keep meeting different versions of myself and my friends from all over the world, and getting offers for walls in Buenos Aires, Rome, all these different places. We did the first graffiti art show in Miami at West Dade Regional Library in 1986 thanks to SAR, rest in peace, and now street artists are our future Picassos.
Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.
Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.
Get the latest updates in news, food, music and culture, and receive special offers direct to your inbox