JASE, Graffiti Writer featured in Infamy, of BA crew

Wherever you happen to be in North America, you’re never too far from Infamy featured artist Jase’s work. Stand at any freight train crossing, and soon enough, one of his paintings will roll by you. There are two million freight train cars in the United States, and Jase has written his name on nearly forty thousand of them. That leaves him with plenty of work left to do, to be sure, but still: nearly forty thousand freight trains marked and rolling around North America. As Jase marvels in the film, “my graffiti has seen more of this country than I ever will… The motion of it is definitely a powerful thing, that it travels.” Jase has proven hugely influential throughout North America due to his freight train painting, which allows graffiti writers and civilians alike – and whether in Brooklyn or Boise - to witness his works in person. Jase’s early years in graffiti helped to key off the graffiti booms in Washington, D.C. and his native Baltimore – and in 1991, he headed to San Francisco, where some of the best graffiti writers from all over the country were flocking. As Jase recalls, “I didn’t even know really where San Francisco was, I just kind of knew it was in California but it wasn’t L.A.”

Soon after he arrived in San Francisco, Jase founded the BA (Burning America) crew; an unusual crew in that its now-35 members nationwide each paint in a distinct style. Jase’s nonstop consumption of spray paint eventually turned into a career: vice president of distribution of the Spanish graffiti-specific spray paint brand Montana Colors. Whatever the workaday hassles in his new roles may be; distribution is certainly a more relaxed trade than some of Jase’s past efforts, which included working on a Japanese fishing vessel for four months in the Bering Sea, of which he remembered, “it was like being in jail, and at some points I wished I was in jail instead. You get a bunk and some money, there’s nowhere to spend it, and everyone on the ship gives you constant attitude.” The 35-year-old Jase has just over twenty years of graffiti behind him, and despite being one of the culture’s most persistent participants, he has no illusions of what it means to be in the graffiti game, as he relates in the film: “graffiti is like a big race, but there’s no winner. All you can do is stay in the lead for as long as possible.”