Getting his start in Arlington, VA., Mesk first started getting up as Ice Master Fresh, a name he adopted after seeing Style Wars in 1983 on PBS. 12-year old Mesk was immediately drawn to breakdancing and graffiti, he would spend the next 4 years participating in breakdancing battles at the community center and searching out any available news and magazines that was talking about the growing Hip-Hop culture.
After spending his early teens engulfed in Hip-Hop, he would put the same vigor into skateboarding, which had also been a childhood activity, but now given a rebirth with the Dog Town skating movement which was gaining popularity across the country. It was through skating that Mesk’s passion for graffiti was reignited, after the subsequent commercialization of original Hip-Hop culture was in full swing.
Now writing the name Raze, he would attend punk and hardcore shows, even carving out a nitch for himself as a designer of band logos and show flyers. The mid-1980s in DC, was an epicenter for those movements and Mesk was on the front line.
Soon he would move on from the name Raze, looking for a name that he felt flowed better for piecing. After pen palling with legendary Philadelphia writer ESPO, he arrived at the name Mesk, liking the way the “E” and “S” could be stylized.
Crack-era Washington, DC played the backdrop for MESK’s run of the city. Amidst the crumbling infrastructure and drug wars was where Mesk was most influential, and along with a growing group that included Joker, Wake, Moc, Remer, SMK, and Cycle would form the MURDER CAPITOL ART crew or MCA Originals, making DC graffiti something to talk about.
Drawing influence from not only NYC, but also Philadelphia’s and Baltimore’s regional hand styles and bubble letter styles, he made it important for writers to know and execute those regional styles.
Mesk created original graffiti work that did not seek to recreate traditional graffiti art he had seen, while keeping graffiti arts stylistic nuances. Although he would paint his final piece of the era a few short years later, Mesk’s influence on subsequent generations of graffiti writers in DC and elsewhere is substantial.