Artist Spotlight: RICH (HBTK)

The $tatus Faction is excited to introduce a new reoccurring topic to our blog- interviews.  Seems so obvious- but we’ve just been so busy talking about our own fascinating lives.  Our ARTIST SPOTLIGHT content starts today with RICH (HBTK) from Portland, Maine.

Since we’re just starting this, we question-jacked from GrafHead, also check that site for more dope interviews and original graffiti videos. Stay tuned, future interviews are already in the works- next up is street artist INEPT from Los Angeles.  ENJOY!




1. How long have you been writing?
25 years

2. How did you get the name Rich? Did you write anything else before?

My first piece was a hydro piece. I used to write different words back in the day… Glock, Duos, DJ 2 Rich, Richie Rich…etc. Everyone in my neighborhood called me Rich, Richie Rich and Daddy Rich ( a play on the Third Bass DJ ). Rich just stuck because that was my nickname in the neighborhood.

3. Who were your influences?

There weren’t any older writers around for me to look up to in my hometown. Subway Art was shown to me via a couple of brothers in school that had recently moved from Jersey City that I used to break with. The book and subsequent graffiti cameos on television is what got me started. But my crew was the biggest influence on me. I was fortunate enough to have a huge abandoned warehouse across the street from the projects I was living in which provided a weather-proof place to paint and more importantly, piece, any season, 24/7.

4. What crew are you from?

Hostyle Bomb Thret Kings. I’m also fortunate enough to have been put down in some big crews too. HBTK is what I rep mostly though because it’s my friends. More importantly my friends I came up with.

5. Do you paint at yards or strictly street action?

I paint the yard and lay-ups on occasion. At 36 with 2 kids I can safely say my street action isn’t what it used to be. I’ve had some really intense chases in the last few years (knock on wood) and had fun last night catching a few tags on a cross-town walk with some writers almost half my age.

6. Do you like to paint at permission spots?

I like getting some beers and relaxing with my friends at legal walls and doing intricate artwork but some days are better than others. Legals don’t bring the same sense of accomplishment when finished like a boxcar or street spot. But rarely would I spend 8 or more hours at either of those scenarios. Legals have their pro’s and con’s I guess. I get some commissions and side work off of them.

7. Why do you write graffiti? Are the legal ramifications worth it?

Avoiding a 40 minute lecture, I’ll say graffiti is a great escape from my head. I try not to think about the legal ramifications.

8. Do you have any crazy stories you could share with us?

There was this one time in 90′ or 91′ when 5 or 6 of us ( Myself, Bern, Asend, Case, Self and Baste R.I.P. ) went to Ames on a rakking mission. When I say rakking mission I mean we militant about it. We would line up in a single file line in the paint aisle. I would fill the backpack in front of me. The guy behind me would fill my backpack and so on and so on. We had as much paint as we could carry so we headed for the door. I remember hearing a “Code Charlie” or something to that effect blast over the loudspeaker and saying “yo guys we gotta fuckin’ bounce”. Right as we hit the main aisle looking ahead at the door about 50 yards away or so security lined up in front of the door. It wasn’t your stereotypical security force either. It was 4 or 5 overweight buzzcut women with Mag-light’s, walkie talkie’s. Stretching and tucking in their shirts and stuff. They were obviously thinking about man-handling us…so-to-speak. So we ran towards them like an NFL special teams from hell. Baste ducked under one of their attempts to grab him and was the first out the door. The biggest of the brawny women got Bern in a head-lock after he punched her glasses off. Being the good friend I am, I speared the 2 of them through the front door in a tidal-wave of shattered glass. I immediately helped Bern up. I remember one of us doing figure 8’s around a few parked cars with 2 of them giving chase. We all managed to run down the 200 yard parking lot to a street perpendicular to the strip mall. The sirens were loud and on top of us instantly. We ran through a wooded section and dove into a swamp up to our necks. We watched 3 or 4 patrol cars fly by us and got out as soon as they went by. We ran down a long stretch of road to get to the train tracks to catch a breather. Gasping for our breath and laughing about the security and the amount of paint we had we bombed the tracksides the whole way home and the city that night. I don’t condone hitting women, but these women outweighed us all and went to put their hands on us, so we did what we had to do.



5 responses

  1. Learn YME, (T)

    Awesome.. One of the under the radar writers that has been true and active to this culture for so many years! So talented! A writers writer! Much respect Rich! Keep doing your thing, homie!

    March 1, 2010 at 4:31 pm

  2. Sammie

    Mad respect for Rich! Also proud to say he is my cuz! I always looked up to him as a kid growing up! He made our world a prettier place! Much love! He is an amazing artist!

    March 2, 2010 at 8:22 am


    Rock ON ! Rich is a major influence in Maine and beyond and has always been a writer that I look up too. Rich always rock’n steady !

    March 2, 2010 at 9:17 am

  4. Tears, HEX Crew!

    Richie Rich! Always coming with fiery shit! A true king! Respect due to 2Rich!

    March 2, 2010 at 5:59 pm

  5. Pingback: Artist Spotlight: ABCNT «

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