Artist Spotlight: CINCO

We hope you enjoyed our last interview with ABCNT, today we present our fourth installment of our Artist Spotlight: CINCO.

Cinco is an interesting dude to say the least.  He can hang with the hardest fools and still be a loner by design.  Normally we’d ask the typical questions about “whose your influence” and blah blah blah, but Cinco is more intriguing than that.  This is a dude with strong convictions and opinions. It’s worth your time, if you’re lucky enough, for him to drop some knowledge.  We expect nothing less than the explicit truth as we dig deeper into the mind of the mysterious 5er.

1. How long have you been writing and how did you get the name Cinco?
I have been writing since 1991. I chose the name CINCO because I wanted a name that represented me and my Mexican culture equally. With 5 being my lucky number, and important date in Mexican history, it was a natural fit.

2. If you had to describe the style of your graffiti- what would you call it?
I am and always will be a PURIST. (A purist is one who desires that an item remain true to its essence and free from adulterating or diluting influences.)

I am a product of the 80’s. I don’t have to study Subway Art or watch Style Wars in order to understand the origins of our culture, I LIVED IT as a little kid. In the early 90’s, when I was ready to join the game, my foundation was already set.

With that being said, my style is CLEAN and CRISP. It’s forged by the attitude/brashness that only an old school education and a West Coast upbringing can provide.

3. You reside in Atlanta, but like clockwork you write “L.A.” with your name, can you expand on what that means to you?
L.A. means everything to me. PERIOD.
In 2006 I came out of retirement to start writing in Atlanta.  I decided that I wasn’t going to hit up my L.A. crews.
I was alone and without soldiers, and hitting up my west coast affiliations wasn’t enough. I needed to make an impact that was immediate.
So, I decided to hit up my CITY, I felt that would let folks know where I was from and how much heat I was going to bring.
From day one, I felt that L.A. wasn’t really being represented in Atlanta. Ultimately my mission was to change that.

4. Since moving to Atlanta, what are the major differences in the graffiti culture?
It really isn’t fair to compare the two. In Los Angeles our impact on graffiti culture is GLOBAL not regional.

That global element allows us to view graff culture with a broader perspective, be open to new ideas, and a progressive execution. Doing the same thing over and over isn’t something that interests us.

How does the general public & law enforcement react compared to the Southern California population?
Atlanta is wide open and that’s the best part of it. The public and law enforcement are a lot more relaxed about graffiti. In Los Angeles it seems that everything and every spot has been burnt to a crisp. It feels amazing to find locations that are untouched and virtually blank. Spots that you would never have access to on the west coast— spots that you can walk into, wave hello to people who might see you sneaking in, and they could care less!  LETS HOPE IT ALL STAYS THAT WAY.

Do you prefer writing in Atl or L.A.?
I prefer doing everything in Los Angeles. Next question.

5. Do you write with a crew? Who?
Yes. I grew up writing with FTL and 213K. If you lived in Los Angeles between the years of 1991-1997 and traveled on the 5, 110, 710, 105, 91 or 605 freeways then you are familiar with our work.
Our crews were raised and inspired by KTS-STN / DUKE, NUKE, TEMPT and all those legends. Since 2000 I have been a free agent. My old crew all retired or moved on to other forms of artistic expression. I’ve decided to set out on my own like Caine in Kung Fu.

6. Besides graffiti- are you an artist in the more traditional or commercial sense?
When it comes to my graff— I am strictly a ‘NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION.’
I have means that generate a proper income, so I’ve never had to rely on my art to make paper. I am not against cats doing that, not by any means, but my graff is for the streets.

7. How do you feel about the present divide between graffiti and street art?
Divisions are a part of life and people are always going to take up sides. When it comes to Graff vs. Street Art, I don’t see why they cant both coexist.
The streets have plenty of room for both, but make no mistake, they are two totally different mediums.
As a purist, I believe Graffiti has certain basic elements that can never be ignored— if you aren’t using those elements then don’t lie to yourself.
You may be an artist but you are NOT a graffiti artist.

But is it all still just “getting up”?
At the end of the day, yes its all still ‘getting up.’

However— I feel the divide starts to rear its ugly head when street artists start trying to cross over into the graffiti realm. It’s not impossible, but you must bring the pure elements, and there is no room for interpretation. You better have your handstyle perfected, you better have your throws on point, and you better have an original approach. If you are lacking in these departments don’t expect to get the crossover acceptance you desire.

Would you or do you use mediums like posters/stickers/stencils/video/sculptures/etc to gain attention in the streets?
I would and have used all of those, but at the end of the day, what really makes my dick hard is straight up graff. NO GIMMICKS.

8. What can we expect to see next from Cinco?
You can expect the same tactical strikes you’ve always seen from me.

“Appear at places which HE must hasten….move swiftly where HE does not expect you.’” – Sun Tzu / The Art of War

9. What do you think about The $tatus Faction?
I have to give T$F credit for coming at the game from a different angle, but as you already know, whenever you try coming at simple mutherfuckers with something unorthodox they are going to fear it, and that fear will eventually find its way back to you in the form of hatred.

When I started in this game we used to handle issues face to face, but this is the age of the internet gangster. Nowadays suckas hop on their ‘online-soap box’ and try to enforce imaginary rules and regulations.

But check this out….

When it comes to EXPRESSION, there no rules and there are no regulations. This game is RAW— if you want structure then this isn’t your hustle.
Allowing others the space to fully express themselves is the only real rule.

10. Don’t be shy, please share your craziest story while getting up:
I got too many mobbin’ stories to share, but one of the best includes me with a broken leg and the big homie NOS carrying me outta the war zone on his back like a scene straight outta PLATOON!!!

11. Any famous last words or respect you wanna lay down before we jet?
“If worst comes to worst….I make whole CREWS disperse…you know its FAMILY FIRST.”



Stay tuned for more upcoming artist interviews!


3 responses

  1. Sweet interview.

    April 7, 2010 at 11:41 am

    • Yes yes, we learned everything we know from watching you! GH for President!

      April 7, 2010 at 11:43 am


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