Miami Graffiti OG Hec One Talks 30 Years In The Game

Hec One Love is a Miami graffiti pioneer who started bombing the streets in 1983.

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.

What are you up to now?
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.

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Jacob Katel
Contact: Jacob Katel