Artwork by Wonka

This drawing is of my graffiti artist name, Wonka. I’m a part of a graffiti crew called Most “Talked” About (MTA). My other crew is called Believe “No” One (BNO). 

I love doing graffiti. I have been a (graffitti) writer for 21 years now. I started back in da 90s. Been in different crews but always been Wonka. Being from different crews have given me styles with my letters. And the better I got the better the crews, the more famous. 

The backstory on MTA: it was started by Skate CBS “MTA” and his girlfriend Blāsom in the late 80s. Skate and Blāhsom wanted to start a crew because doing graffiti on the buses was the hot ticket. And during that time the buses were called RTD, or Rapid Transit Division. There they would do the graffiti on the buses because everybody rode the bus. 

They started RTDM. “M” stands for Mobbers. But there was already a crew called RTDKillers so that started a battle to see who would keep the name. Skate and Blāhsom and the rest of the RTDM crew got dropped. RTDK went on killing the buss and that story went in the history books of graffiti, but Skate and Blāhsom started a new crew MTA, named after the bus company that runs through the greater Los Angeles area.

Today, the RTD crew is also gone from the history books. You sometime see an ol’ cat still writing it, but it’s gone just like the RTD buses that don’t run anymore. Skate also started another crew called California “Bomb” Squad (CBS). 

Skate has passed away. Blāhsom is still alive, but today they’re all older and have moved on. Generation X, Y, Z are doing even better and bigger styles with greater risk and better paint and tips. Graffiti has changed a lot from its early roots that came from New York in the 70s. Here is just a glimpse of the 50-year-old underground world that me and my friends live in.  

 
Disclaimer: The views in this article are those of the author. The Prison Journalism Project has verified the writer’s identity and basic facts such as the names of institutions mentioned. The work is lightly edited but has not been otherwise fact-checked.

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Wonka

Wonka is a pseudonym for a Mexican-German-American graffiti artist and a father from Claremont, Calif. They love music of all genres and hope to be a world famous DJ one day. They are serving a six-year sentence and are currently incarcerated at Wasco State Prison in California.