Los Angeles Graffiti Artist - Dahm CSM Interview

This interview originally appeared on Graffhead on January 19, 2010 (part 1) and January 21, 2010 (part 2).

1. How long have you been writing?
I've been tagging since I was 12 years old, with a variety of different common names that never went anywhere but my local toy buff spots. I think around late 05 is when I actually got into letters and exploring different parts of the city. So you can say started tagging in 1999, but started doing graffiti in 2005. In 2005, is when Pale from STP took me under his wing, and really showed me the real side of graffiti.

I will never forget when he took me into the Burbank Wash and showed me what a graff yard looked like, and listening to the stories he remembers having down there when he first started also.
Dahm CSM

2. How did you get the name Dahm? Did you write anything else before?
The Dahm Triplets, former Playmates. Once I heard the name, I couldn't help but think how perfect of a name it was, no one else had it, and it didn't sound like a everyday word you would hear, and then I would also say later, that I got it from serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, or switch it up to Dahminatrixxx, which I don't mind either.
Trak UNR + Dahm + M80 CDP on top
Trak UNR + Dahm + M80 CDP on top

Let's see, I first started with Lump back in the day, and then, Fave, Klub, Gide, and Arson, and a countless amount of Faze and Daze names.

3. Who were your influences?
Vade, Esel, CDP, and U5F.

Vade, because his graff stood out the most to me when I use to walk the LA River, and not only that, he had every cut in LA first, and most of them are still rocking.

Esel, because his style is my favorite, readable and his own, if he did a CBS or WAI or a FP, you would be able to tell it was his style. There was an abandoned box truck along the 110 South transition to the 5 South where he did his name, and along the top, he wrote "Chicken Bone Syndrome", and ever since seeing that bomb, I wanted to get into actual bombing solid, readable letters like that.
Cavi + Dahm

Cavi + Dahm

CDP, because there wasn't anyone in that crew who wasn't getting up. Kween, Bas, and the rest of them had countless rollers and roller filled bombs all over the LA River, Ralos had Downtown covered wherever you went, especially cuts, and the whole crew just gave each other competition, and it worked out perfectly.

U5F, because they pretty much popped Downtown's cherry when it comes to spots, and staying up. You can't go on one of Skid Row's streets without seeing one of their bombs still running.
Dahm Dahm

4. Do you like to paint at permission spots?
Not really, I won't say no to the right one, but it's just not the kind of graffiti I like to look at.
Dahm + Cavi Dahm + Cavi

It's 2 completely different worlds when it comes to legals, and illegals. When you paint illegally, it's a lot more of a risk, when it comes to a fresh bomb in a empty lot, or on a cutty, or on the side of a freeway, you see it, and you just know that that writer has a crazy story for what he went thru for that spot.

When you look at a legal, you just think of someone painting that during the day with cars passing by without a care in the world.
Dahm Dahm

5. Do you paint at yards or strictly street action?
I had my phase of painting a lot of yards, but over time, I got tired with toys going over my graff, so that's when I started being picky about the spots I paint.

And that's when I got into cuts, and virgin spots that you can't just drive by and see it. I hear criticizing about some of the spots I paint, but I'm sure they'll stop when they see it's still there 5 years from now, maybe even longer.
Dahm CSM Dahm CSM

6. Do you have a favorite brand of paint?
I'll paint with almost anything, if its wack paint, then I'll just use it for background fading or something, I'll find a utilization for it.

I really like the colors that Ironlak is coming out with, and that shit smells fucken good too, but it's also a pretty penny.
Dahm Dahm

My favorite brand of paint would have to be American Accents, just because it's the brand I use the most, but I don't mind any other brands to paint with.
Dahm Dahm

Dahm Dahm CSM

7. Most of your pieces have "Jake" written on them or next to them. What’s the meaning of that?
Just want to let him know when he's flipping through old flicks years from now, that no matter what I did, or where I was, that he was on my mind the whole time when I wasn't there at that moment.

Writing his name on the majority of my bombs is really a understatement to what he means to me. At the end of the day, graffiti is the last thing on my mind, and the last thing I want to do.
Dahm Dahm CSM

8. What crew are you from?
Can't Stop Me, Charlie Sheen Mackin, Charisma Seduces Most Females. A West LA based crew that I got into last year. It's a real tight bunch of homies who make sure not one homie is left behind.
Dahm + Zwik Dahm + Zwik

9. Did you know Tolse?
Unfortunately, I've only been able to hear stories about him, and the stories I would hear really made me wish I would of at least met him. I'm just lucky enough to had been from his crew, a crew with such history that made 818 graffiti what it is today.

(For those that do not know, Tolse STP, IFK bombed the valley to Los Angeles and took it to a new level. He hit backs of billboards, freeway signs and spots that most have not seen done. If you lived in Los Angeles in the early to mid 90s you saw Tolse up.)
Dahm Dahm

10. Why do you write graffiti? Are the legal ramifications worth it?
I write graffiti, because of the stories you make with the paint missions you have, also because of the friendships you build.

You learn a lot about everyday life when you're interested in stuff like this, and it's fun. Every writer is a different Thomas Guide. Although, there's a lot of risk and consequences when you do graffiti, it's a addiction that no matter how many times you tell yourself to grow up, you can't stop it.

Dahm Dahm

I do graffiti for the rush, the stories, and the friends you make.

I think the ramifications are a little tough for writers, but you can thank the media for turning every humble writer with a solid head on their shoulders into a crazy, killing tag-banger who shoot at civilians.

Dahm Dahm

11. Do you have any crazy stories you could share with us?
There is a cutty yard a few blocks away from the Soto Yard where I was doing a orange roller.

I had my homie watching my back for me, and he suddenly told me to get down because he saw cop lights at the very end on the other side of the yard, which was an empty lot behind a fence where they had just started flattening out the land to start their construction on.

We laid low for a minute or two, because we weren't sure what to think of it yet. We ended walking all the way over to the other side to check it out to make sure the coast was clear, we walk up to the fence, and what we saw amazed us so much that we said out loud at the same time, "What the fuck!".

It was a cop getting his dick sucked by a cutie in pajama bottoms, our shadows caught his attention and he freaked out, so we freaked out also and ran. He caught up to us at the other end of the yard and was speechless, we had paint splatter all over the place and he knew exactly what it was we were up to, but, we also knew what he was up to, so he told us whatever it was we were doing in there, go back in there and make sure we clean up our mess and leave immediately.
Dahm + Kween Dahm + Kween

He watched us from the inside of his cruiser with his "mouth" sitting passenger. We walked out with my paint and my roller extension with him watching, waved and took off. I'm guessing his main concern wasn't us, that's for sure.

There are countless of great, interesting stories that I've been lucky to be part of. Painting cutties always has a story to along with it, you don't know how many encounters I've had with skunks, bum sex, smacking stray dogs with my dodger bat, watching security guards wonder around who have no idea what's going on around them, poison ivy, countless…
Dahm - I see a red door and I want to paint it yellow Dahm - I see a red door and I want to paint it yellow

12. Do you have any plans on transitioning to the "art" world? Doing canvases and shows?
No, I like being a secret, not knowing who that writer is, or seeing a spot blank the day before, but then you pass by it the next day and there's a fresh bomb there, and not even know who the fuck that person is who did that, but you know their graffiti.
Dahm Dahm

Not many people appreciate graffiti for what it is, or what we go through, so that's why I like to keep it to myself. I'll leave the canvases and the art shows to the real artists, the ones with real talent, I just know how to bomb letters, and it's my favorite hobby.

Whether you admit it or not, you're your own biggest fan, because only you know what you've been through for this illegal sport.
Dahm Dahm

Zwik + Dahm
Zwik + Dahm

LA Writer Spotlight: DAHM STP
LA Writer Spotlight: DAHM STP - Part 2
LA Writer Spotlight: DAHM - Part 3
LA Writer Spotlight: DAHM - Part 4
Three Graffiti Artists - Three Vans