This interview was originally published in December 2011.
ENDLESS CANVAS: What do you write, where are you from and how long have you been at this?
ROMANSE: I write ROMANSE 179, I’m from San Jose, Cali. I’ve been writing since i was 8 but with ROMANSE 179… I been at it since 89′.
EC: Who got your into graffiti?
ROMANSE: I was influenced by my older brother Noone from DA crew. He was an oldschool writer with talent. He started back in 82′. He taught me my first letters. I also was taught by Twister (from San Jose) aka ZOOK. Him and my brother ran together. I have a lot of cousins and brothers that were oldschool writers that taught me the way of THE GRAFF GAME.
ROMANSE: We have a whole brotherhood of people in HYSU? a.k.a. as THE H. We have NUCS, DUEL8, YQUE, DEVEL, SAETO,
EC: When did you start doing the heart with the horns?
ROMANSE: I started to do the Hearts with Horns aka THE DEVIL’S HEART in 2008 after a tragic accident that left me in the hospital. I was on a drinking bienge for up to 3 months. Finally I collapsed in front of my family at my home. I got rushed to the hospital. When I woke up the doctors said I was in a deep coma for two weeks but in my so called dreams while I was in the coma all I can remember is a burning heart with horns. While I was still in the hospital, I started doodling on napkins of a heart with horns, then I was like “I GOT SOMETHANG HERE!” That was the birth of THE DEVILS HEART. So now if you see it, you know what it represents… “Rebirth.”
EC: Do you make an effort to recruit younger kids into HYSU in order to keep it going longer,
or do you feel like crews should stick to their original membership and be more of a snap
shot of a certain time period and style?
ROMANSE: I do recruit young kats. If I see potential in them and also if they know the history of the graff game. But what I mostly look for is
attitude. I am not just going to pick up any ol chump. You must have a great brotherhood personality. If you don’t, sorry this is not the job
for you. HYSU was made by me to open doors to all kinds of artist that wanted to join for a certain purpose and that is to “Destroy,” but in a
artistic way. You can be old school or a new kat, it don’t matter as long as you have graff blood in you. I started HYSU in 2005 and it will be here
for years to come. Like I tell my brother, “we aint going anywhere but up.”
EC: What years do you think were the peak time for graffiti in San Jose?
ROMANCE: The best and greatest years in San Jose’s graff history would be early 80’s and late 90’s. I remember when I was young and I would help my brother
carry a ladder down the main streets in broad day light with two duffle bags of paint. We were headed to the walls of fame in West San Jose. Those days, the
pigs were to busy with the Cholos and drug dealers. The 80’s was the beginning of the free graff movement. What I mean by this, is nobody tripped about graff that much. You were free to come as you pleased. Ahhh, the 90’s, it brings back so many memories and writers. Bus hopping was in, throwies were evolving to better standards and hundreds of writers in one single city. Our mission was to fuck up everything in sight. I try not to think that much about the 90’s graff scene because it just makes me miss it. Writers that lived it sometimes talk about it as the best years of graff in San Jose. It is true, those years were the best. I’m glad I was a part of it. I want to give a shout out to the fallen writers like REM, TMC,
Paws, Tie and many more that are now at peace.
EC: Do you think writers should try to reclaim the freeways?
ROMANSE: The freeways have always been another way to get your name known or to get stupid drunk and fuck shit up without anybody chasing you… LOL. I believe we should take back the freeways due to the fact of tourism and traveling on them. They get to see free art without paying… LMAO. It don’t matter if you aint popular or good, if you hit the freeways your shit is going to bee seen by a lot of fucken people.
EC: What is the Anti-Graffiti Task Force in San Jose or is it handled by Gang Unit?
ROMANSE: The Task Force, hmmmmm… is a bunch of fucking clowns trying to beat something that will never stop, even if they bring the National Guard. We aint going no where bitches. You fucks aint shit with your unmarked visible cars and your wanna be swat uniforms. This is to the S.J. Task Force, “Fuck you. Suck my big fat veiny cock!” That’s what I feel about you clowns.
EC: Most writers blow up really hard for one to three years and fade away. What has kept you doing this for so long?
ROMANSE: I have seen a lot of writers come and go. It’s a shame that it happens, but I understand when you get slammed with felonies and all kinds of shit you just want to quit. I understand how bad that feels and the sleepless nights just wondering, “Was it worth it?” I want to let those who stopped or have taken long vacations know that it’s fucken alright if you quit or take time off because you have given inspiration to a young writer who would love to experience graff for themselves. Some writers need vacations or time away from graff to support their families, continue going to school or to mentally collect themselves. As for me, I am going to be doing what I’m doing until God himself comes for me and says, “I need you up here.” That will be the day when there won’t be a Romanse 179 anymore. As for now, I’m going to rape this city with no jimmy on and fuck shit up… LMAO!