Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Forging Friendship at 5 Pointz; How Ton and Ozzie Partnered Up.

By Madame Margherite

Ton: You can’t help but be introduced as his bright orange piece greets you as you come around that bend on the 7 train. The piece done in July holds its prominent spot on the top of 5 Pointz. This old school writer is a true pleasure to sit down and converse with.

Raised in the south with a long line of car loving family, Ton has quite a history as an active drag racer. Since the late 70s he recalls his sister’s boyfriend, at the time, owning Chevelles and Novas as well as memories of his mom and dad’s supped up rides. “In South Carolina everyone wants to put on fast parts” he says. As an adult, he himself owned a Fairmont Wagon, with 10” tires, along with a 1964 Chevelle SS; not to mention the countless other classics he collected and sold throughout his life.

But cars with fast engines and big wheels aren’t the only thing this man has a deep passion for. Street art also reflects his multi-faceted personality. As a former subway writer in the 70s and a member of the longest remaining crew in history, TPA established in 1976, Ton’s attention was always drawn to 5 Pointz. Without any knowledge of what the place was about he remained one of the million-a-day admirers from a far. That is until one day he noticed people painting on the factory’s walls in broad daylight. Taken aback by this unusual to him concept, Ton decided to finally inquire about the building. From then his position changed from admiring to doing.

Ton quickly got on board as one of the “permit only” writers to throw a piece up. Possibly, his most popular mural was of two classic black and white characters, and a very antsy dog surrounding his name. The piece was located on one of the popular loading dock walls. It took approximately two days to complete, and stayed up just a few months.

While Ton claims not to be an artist, it was his artistic freedom he found at 5 Pointz that led him to something far more valuable than that. On one of his visits to the Graffiti Mecca Ton introduced himself to aerosol legend, Ozzie. The two quickly forged an impeccably tight friendship, starting from that day. Known for his car-long subway pieces, Ozzie was at 5 Pointz doing what he does best and he and Ton just clicked. Both taggers knew of each other through decades of their work but it took an isolated museum of graff to bring them together.

While neither Ton nor Ozzie write for a living, they now consider one another partners in art, and still come out to paint every chance they get. Ton explains that even though what he and his friends did as kids was illegal, tagging up mailboxes, and putting up pieces on the trains, they were out of trouble. Sure tagging on public property isn’t “right” but it’s the ones that tag on private property who are the real vandals. “That to me is graffiti” says Ton, “They’ll write on anything, and there’s no call for that”. However, this iconic building serves as a safe haven for people who love the heart and soul of this art form.

Ton was shocked when he was first formally introduced to 5 Pointz, but now undoubtedly sends out his deepest gratitude to Meres for providing artists with a place to express their creativity, and to building owner, Mr.Wolkoff for allowing his property to be used in such a way.

Ton is a man who certainly has acquired wisdom over the years and his generosity shines through his many works for good cause. Most recently his Breast Cancer Awareness Ribbon was done to give strength to struggling women across the world, fighting this disease. Attentively he also sincerely represents his friends over at Street Level 9 and their clothing line. With whatever it is we do in life we could always use the support.

Thanks a Ton…


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