Well another year is in the books.  Everyone did some of the best work we have seen at any of the jams so far. It seems that we say it every year but it also seems to be true every year. Nearly all the artists involved have come to this event for each of its nine years and in doing so we’ve all become friends. The way we handle things there have always been uncertainties but this year went off without a hitch of any kind.

Video by Omen74 CISA

Off the bat it needs to be said that everyone noticed a drop in attendance this year from years past. Although everyone misses the large crowd, it became unmanageable at a certain point. The crew agreed that it was more important to have artists we know and respect than to grow arbitrarily. We spread the word that the jam was invitation-only this year and discouraged people from coming without having a spot first. It was more low-key, more comfortable and the work was consistently strong across the board.

Friday night was the beginning of SubSurface for most of us. Our dude Shawn P, local artist and emcee/producer of The Dirty Thrity (not the graffiti crew), once again hosted the bi-weekly Freestyle Friday mic session and we brought all the writers through. We don’t tend to have official events for the jam unless something falls in our lap. Luckily, we know a network of musical talent which has allowed us to have some variety of local entertainment each year.

Saturday was pretty mellow compared to other years. By the time we all got to our wall, about half the other crews were already underway. Each year people start showing up earlier. Many were in town overnight, but most of our friends drove in on Saturday. With everyone knowing the spots it was a much easier task to get them all situated. The most notable addition to the jam was Gems’s merchant table stocked with food, drinks, SubSurface t-shirts and his first CD release. We painted right into the night (which was when the 90+ heat finally broke)and met for dinner before regrouping at a house party. Once again, friends converged on the party spot and spilled into the front yard. We probably disturbed the peace, but only a little.

Sunday thinned out pretty quickly as it usually does; mainly because a lot of guys only paint one day but also because of the sporadic rain. People seem to work much smarter now that we are all getting a little older. By sundown, the last crew had packed up. Well, most of them. Some hung around well after dark talking about past years and remembering friends. We made the standard arrangements to meet up again, “hopefully before next year,” and keep in touch. Growing up in the Midwest, most of us have become very grateful for all the friends and opportunities we find. Seeing these people whom we respect year after year gives us a sense of purpose; like all of this is actually doing some good. Even exhausted, heaving the last bag of trash into the truck, that old spark slowly flares again as we begin to share ideas for raising the bar next year.

This is what jams are all about for us. You go in, paint like a madman, try to party equally, and build entire relationships on just a day or two of good times. That feeling of going to a city, meeting some of your favorite artists and getting to showcase what you do… it’s intoxicating. To think that we can create an opportunity for others to feel a piece of that is totally humbling.

All the flicks are HERE

Here’s to 2012, the 10th anniversary.