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. 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. 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. 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?

    • 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. Great interview!

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

  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. 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!?

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

  9. 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. 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. 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. Tiffany K says:

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

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

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

    • WorriedAboutTheWrongThings says:

      You sound like the type of person Valerie Abbot is. Someone who thinks they can decide what is and what isn’t best for others better than the people themselves. Someone who like to a “service” for other people by riding around calling in minor petty infractions on streets she does not live on, as though we, the streets actual residents are incapable of deciding what needs to be taken care of and then taking care of it themselves. It’s amazing that people would ever vote for someone who’s view of people is so belittling and that of incapability. Someone who would rather waste their time worrying about things that would otherwise never affect them in the slightest instead of making YOUR life better while adding uneccasary stress (making it worse) in doing so. Sad but true. May you find peace my friend.

    • WorriedAboutTheWrongThings says:

      And “run rampant?” Geeze the over-sensationalizing is STRONG in this one! If only this was our only issue when the word “rampant” comes to mind! Life would be all peace and harmony for me and mine! Did it make you feel good to tattle tale on johnny when he pinched jimmy too? Bet you thought you were doing jimmy a favor huh? In reality jimmy felt very disrespected that you thought he wasn’t capable of handling such things himself and doesn’t respect you at all for not being able to mind your own business. If he asked for your help, that would be one thing buuut…. Hey I’ll go ahead and let the cops know that you’ll be available any time they feel they need your help tracking down this “rampant” graffiti artist. I wouldn’t hold my breath if I were you.
      I just talked to Officer X for about an hr the other day at just how annoyed and basically distracting it is when super neighbors feel like they need to call in every petty issue that isn’t harming anyone and isn’t affecting super neighbor in any way, directly or indirectly, really, and no one is in harms way. Best part was when he said if these people’s true motivation was to help neighbors because they actually cared about them, they’d be going to talk to them about the issues instead of peeking through blinds and riding around calling b.s. in. Nothing about these actions come from anywhere but a selfish place.
      I wish all y’all would get on a board or forum in one place so the other 90% of the neighborhood’s inhabitants could sign sworn statements reassuring y’all “That we are fully capable of taking care of ourselves just fine! Unless you see someone being injured, personal property being stolen or destroyed, or some type of abuse going on, or YOU, YOURSELF has a personal energency, don’t call the cops. Really your not obligated to call the cops for the first few reasons (although at that point would be the right thing to do) and don’t if you dnt want to, so long as you mind your own damn business otherwise! We are now relinquishing you over your imaginary duty! Go enjoy your life now young grasshopper!”
      But yeah go do something that matters! That is all, good day!

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

  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?

    • 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.

      • i see u mad says:

        why you mad doe

      • WorriedAboutTheWrongThings says:

        Is it really that much of a nuisance to see street art on otherwise (most of the time) bland walls? And if so, then you are concentrating entirely too hard on the wrong things Like instead of thinking about how much that graffiti piece annoyed you, you could be thinking of how bad ass the rest of the day is going to be or how you’re going to make it better! Certainly won’t make anything better worrying yourself about something that if you never thought about it in the first place, would not affect you in any other way in the slightest. So basically you’re making this a problem for yourself. You’re your nuisance. Sorry just saying.
        Btw, great post and interview pretty B’ham blogger momma lady!

  17. 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. 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. 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. 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

  21. Lori Earle says:

    I LOVE THIS STORY.

    This is how I ended up here (yes, I’m a soccer mom too)! Ha!

    I have always enjoyed graffiti. I use to cover my notebooks in it when I was in middle and high school. I had pretty much forgotten that until recently, a friend reminded me that I used to do that. He said he always thought I was the coolest because of it (he was younger and we were all kids). lol!

    Anyway, I recently have been working on getting things ready (creating art pieces) for the Day of the Dead festival. I created a piece with Frida Kahlo’s image imposed onto a bunch of colored dots. Then I tagged (or a crappy version of tagging) it “FRiDA”. I kept giggling at myself for liking it so much.

    So the next day, I went to the bookstore and and the first book I found was all about graffiti art in the 70s and It is AWESOME (what little bit I’ve had time to read). Oh, and it was on CLEARANCE too!

    So! I have since started on a piece that’s been rattling around in my head for a few months now. It is going to have images of landmark photos, old and new, with BIRMINGHAM in 3″ paper mache’ letters. I was drawing out a draft of it on my computer and realized it was missing something. So I created some tags that I had seen around town. Daze, Nard and Sikoe were some of them, but then I got stuck, so I googled Birmingham graffiti and you were one of the listings!

    So, there you have it. Just thought you’d be interested. ;-)

  22. wow cool story bro now stop leaving your douche name all over my neighborhood

  23. Ummm wow, so I think I actually met those two without masks at this local graffiti mile tag thing. I have to go back through my photographs. Awesome story!

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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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