In my early years of doing graffiti, I learned the value of mentorship. Between 1991 and 1992, I was out messing around with graffiti, but I didn’t really know what I was doing. By 93, I met a writer called Gank also known as GK who took me under his wing and started schooling me on the ways of the real graffiti scene.
In addition to the lessons I was getting, spending time with him put me around a lot of writers that I looked up to. This forced me to want to step up my game. Proximity to people further along than you tends to have this effect.
Within a few months, I got put into the crew MSK and was introduced to Eklipse who gave me my first letters. He also was great about throwing bits of information about the history of Los Angeles graffiti and things like letter structure. Lessons that I still remember clear as day all these years later.
What this mentorship did—along with a massive amount of work on my part—was dramatically shorten the timeline of being a nobody in the graffiti culture to being someone that was gaining respect in the streets within a matter of months. A few months of being around these guys did more than the previous two years in terms of growth.
These experiences are still with me all these years later. A lot of what we’re doing at Machine Studio most likely wouldn’t be happening without them. Learning about the power of mentorship played a role in all of the educational content and community work I’m doing. In addition, it’s motivated me to make large investments in mentorship for business.
It’s crazy to think about where some of our most valuable lessons can come from.