Moist: On Meeting Daze.

Daze Moist Blaes Birmingham Graffiti

On Friday, I shared the majority of my interview with Moist, a Birmingham graffiti artist. However, the last question I asked had such a fascinating answer that I saved it for a post of its own.

I asked Moist if he had ever met Daze, another graffiti artist whose tags I see all over town, and if they were friends. Here is his answer.

DAZE is the king of Birmingham graffiti. I have painted with him a good bit but I can’t say I know him personally. He’s the most careful person you will never meet. I can’t go into super detail about him because he could literally kill me if I say too much.

For those that aren’t already aware, DAZE has been painting since forever, he’s a super old school writer. No one crosses him.

I have a website that I occasionally post photos to, and so does he. So one day I received a message on there from Daze. I anxiously opened it to discover a simple message that said “Under the brick, 11th Ave north and 19th St north, tomorrow”

Are you kidding me? Secret messages? This dude is a kook for sure.

So of course the next day as soon as I got off work I went to 11th and 19th. And I won’t lie, I was nervous as hell for sure. I showed up around 4pm while the sun was still out – I had no idea what was going to happen. Also, for those unaware, 11th Ave north and 19th St north is the corner of Oak Hill Cemetery.

Oak Hill CemeteryPhoto from Wikipedia Commons

Of course I didn’t know that until I passed by it in my truck, I drove by and sure enough there was a small brick wall on the corner. I parked and walked over, the whole time I was checking over my back looking for people. I started touching the bricks in the corner of that wall, jiggling them trying to find the loose brick while looking like a crazy person on some scavenger hunt that ends with God knows what.

None of the bricks were loose. I checked every one of them on that corner. I was confused. I started looking elsewhere. I knew there had to be something there. I climbed over that short wall and there it was, a regular brick in the corner just sitting in the grass. I lifted it up and there was a note inside a Ziploc bag. I looked around again before I opened it.

The note was intense for a note. It said something along the lines of  “Meet me at the Amtrak station up top at midnight, wear dark clothes, bring a bag of black and white Rusto. Don’t @%!# this up. I’m giving you one shot.”

I was so stoked and freaking out at the same time. I went and got all my stuff together and waited for nightfall. I had to walk way down the train tracks to get to the Amtrak station, there’s not really an easy access right at the station doors down on street level. I got up there around 11:40 – I wanted to be early. So I was just chilling up at the Amtrak station. At night it’s really deserted – no workers, no bums – it was quiet.

I checked my phone for the time, and it was close to midnight. I’m thinking this dude has to be insane. No one does this kind of stuff. I distinctly remember watching my phone clock click over to 12:01 and thinking what is going on with this dude.

Then I hear someone walking on gravel across the train tracks. There was a line of train cars that were parked on the furthest track. Then I see a dude climb in between the cars to cross over. I couldn’t tell much about the figure, I just assumed it was him because he was walking straight towards me. This dude is huge, he’s a monster, just a broad beast of a man, and as he gets closer I realize that he’s wearing a mask! Like a cheap plastic mask that was all black.

I almost ran off. I really did.

He walked up, looked up at me, and said, “You ready?” Uh yeah dude. Haha. Yeah I’m ready. We walked down the track for what seemed like a mile, under some more sketchy bridges and past some scrap yards, then finally there was a plain concrete wall right on the side of the tracks. We just chilled and painted that wall side by side.

I was painting side by side with Daze. My mind had officially been blown.

He didn’t say much while we were painting. He gave me some pointers so that my piece would look better, but that was about it. He didn’t want to know my real name, and I sure as hell wasn’t about to ask him his. After we finished we walked back to the Amtrak station and he disappeared across the train cars. I went back the next day and got flicks.

Daze Moist Birmingham Graffiti

But now days I don’t have to look under rocks for messages, he gave me a throw away prepaid cell phone.

Leave your comment below!

Comments

  1. 1
    Amanda Sheren says:

    Love it. I think it was pretty awesome you got an email interview with Moist. It was fun to read about it. My husband used to tag and he actually got caught one time while he was erasing a tag due to heavy cop patrols. He was not happy that he got caught for doing the opposite of tagging lol.

  2. 2
    steve_wilkos says:

    Are you likely to get any other interviews from graffiti writers around bham? That would be awesome to hear others stories from different people who live that lifestyle…

  3. 3

    Congratulations Rachel – you’ve won the internet!

    Seriously – this is the coolest set of posts ever. I’m not even from B’ham but I’ve seen the work of Moist and Daze . . . this has seriously upped your street cred . . . maybe you should take Noah and Ali tagging?

    • 3.1

      Thanks! But although I find it fascinating, I don’t think I’m quite ready to take part in it, despite its promise as a homeschool art lesson. Ali, however, is fascinated when she sees graffiti – she asks ALL the questions.

  4. 4
    Karen says:

    Great interview!

  5. 5
    Breenah says:

    This is a pretty amazing story. Very cool, Rachel :)

  6. 6
    Stephanie says:

    These stories are so interesting. I think between your photos and their stories, you might have a graffiti book in your future. :)

  7. 7

    How cool is THAT!!! ?
    I want to be awesome like that!
    I’m going to start leaving secret messages for other bloggers and have Midnight Meet-ups so we can blog side-by-side! Who’s in!?

    • 7.1

      That would be AWESOME. Nothing inspires the clicky of my keyboard than to hear the clicky of other blogger’s keyboards – especially when done at midnight on an eerie train track.

  8. 8
    Eleanorjane says:

    Cool! The best taggers have a lot of art in what they do – Daze’s stuff is clearly impressive.

  9. 9
    Rachel says:

    Wow, that’s an awesome story! Sounds like something out of a spy novel with the secret notes and the throw away phone! And now the cities’ two coolest graffiti artists are going to have a following of “soccer” moms. Haha :)

  10. 10
    Terram says:

    That was awesome! So cool and interesting. If I were 20 years younger I think it might inspire me to try and join them ;)

  11. 11
    Reformed Grits says:

    I seriously thought this was a joke at first but… wow. Very interesting! Loved it. All I could think about is how like one of my children his personality sounds, and how I better never find out that it actually IS him! LOL

  12. 12
    Tiffany K says:

    This is the most interesting set of posts I’ve ever read!

  13. 13
    MelissaH says:

    I thought you had met Daze (a huge mask wearing monster), at midnight, at the train tracks…..
    Lesson learned – no skimming.

  14. 14
    Someone says:

    You’re an idiot for not turning the guy in. way to let a nuisance continue to run rampant around Birmingham.

  15. 15
    Kate says:

    Great story!! I think it’s really cool that you got to interview him. Thanks for sharing!

  16. 16
    someone else says:

    Is he a criminal or a hero? I’m a little confused, as well as concerned, with the tone of this story as well as that of the comments. If his work is to be appreciated, why not actually paint something enjoyable to view? And LEGAL?

    • 16.1
      Someone says:

      He’s a criminal. He’s a guy in his 30′s (hell… could be 40 by now) who still acts like that “rage against the machine” teenager. It wouldn’t surprise me if he dressed up like Peter Pan and screamed, “I’LL NEVER GROW UP!” while he spray paints his nuisances across Birmingham.

  17. 17
    McKt says:

    This series is fascinating! If you had given me a million chances to guess what your next blog posts would be this would have never come up, but I love it.

  18. 18

    I can understand why some people get upset about graffiti artists, but I found these posts compelling. It doesn’t bother me personally to see graffiti painted on abandoned buildings, concrete walls, bridges or even train cars … I don’t think painting on someone’s private, occupied property is appropriate, though. (I understand the argument that it’s illegal and that ALL property belongs to someone; I’m just stating my opinion.)

    I do think that it’s amazing that they’re able to do what they do with spray-paint cans. I can’t control a child’s paint BRUSH that well.

  19. 19
    Christy says:

    The posts are interesting, but I am not a fan of graffitti, no matter how artistic it is. I think it sends the wrong message to our kids that it’s OK to paint on someone else’s property if it is a pretty painting. Maybe I’m a bit sensitive as we had a rash of vandalism in our neighborhood earlier this year where two kids (12 year olds!) spray-painted several things, including walls and doors or private homes.

  20. 20
    Printed says:

    Extremely jealous you even got to talk to him. I live 5 minutes away from BHAM i tag my school but never have gotten the energy to tag in BHAM
    blaze and moist are amazing

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  1. […] Note: Part 2 is up, and a fantastic story about Moist meeting Daze for the first time. Clicky. […]

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