The full version of the first and only interview The Grifters gave. A must-read for everyone who want to get a closer look whats going on behind The Grifters Lifesteal.
What is Grifters and who stands behind it?
Teh Grifters™ is the frontend of a project which has been in the making for many years, and has involved the studies and synergy of many different subjects, including behavioral, social and reverse psychology, NLP, fine arts, design science, colour theory, geometry and harmonic concepts, marketing, persuasion and sales, behavioural finance and calculus, martial arts, as well as many others. Put simply, though, it is the best thing that ever happened to internet graffiti media: an original photoblog, showing the lifestyle of graffiti writers around our social circle. The focus is on everything that we do before and after the final product - the graffiti piece - is created. Initially it was a representation of our crews that we put into the world, because we were not satisfied with the published pictures in magazines and other internet sites. We have always had a different vision and outlook on our material, which was in a substantial part formed by the unique environment around us; so naturally, no one else was doing it like us and we had to pave our own way through an internet platform.
We came to the conclusion that every day we get bombarded with the same pictures of the very same artists, doing all the same pieces, photographed under the same angle, photoshopping away the same mistakes, until people transform this perfection into this mysterious worship of some unknown underground hero. We meant to create something different, much more human and to humorously and intriguingly show all the neat stuff that usually gets left behind, all the pictures around the actions, all the flicks without focus. To take the mask off and show how we live, eat, drink, fuck, puke, what we are like and how we spend our free time.
We made it to this point using only cheap and crappy film cameras and we managed to prove and remind, in our opinion, to all the wannabe photographers, that it is not important to have the last model digital camera and the most expensive lens to take a good picture. Instead, it is the flavour, harmony, moment and presence of the flick, which make it unique and emotionally stimulating. Our charisma is not the best and most robotically executed style piece, it is the attitude, fun and energy which we bring to your party. This essentially is, what graffiti means for us, because once the fun is gone, graffiti is just as gone, mechanical, boring and dead.
In the beginning the people behind this project were solely from our crews and the concept was to show only our own pictures – where we go, the people we meet and the things we do together. However, over time some of us moved around the globe and the concept started to change. Today, you might catch us around some of our (temporary) headquarters in cities like Paris, Berlin, New York and of course, the biggest and greatest of them all: the glorious city of Sofia, Bulgaria [/sarc]. Since we moved further and further away from East Europe the rules changed a bit, as Vandal Squads and the long arm of the law have tried to make our life harder – but preparation and anticipation beat it all. Nevertheless we hide behind the mask of journalists, following the acts of others (who do bad, bad, BAD things which we would never support). We create exciting heroes and we have the power to kill them with one click, if we so desire.
As we know so very well, there are trendsetters and trend-followers in life, and, well, [*cough, cough*] we managed to open the door for many other people, to show their more vulnerable side and expand on their avatar. We now see many writers with their own blogs with film cameras and the same type of shots, but it’s all good: We are happy to see that. We are also happy that some of the people who were hiding from our cameras in the past, are now approaching us with the request to take pictures of them; it is funny, how life runs in circles.
What is the mission?
Being famous in graffiti circles is one of the most useless efforts that you can waste your life on. It neither helps you get rich (and thus financially and emotionally free), nor does it help you with your health or to get laid – in fact, quite the opposite. But if you cannot attract a beautiful woman into your life, you are, by definition, sterile. Instead, by the time you are in your thirties you get admired by a bunch of teenagers, while you get the added benefit of your wasted life. So what is it all about? For us it has always been about pushing the limits of what is humanly possible; about the path of unlimited growth and expansion; about tapping into your potential (and we truly believe it is unlimited); about fearing the unknown and staying focused and disciplined enough to take the upper hand of the situation; about the power of goal-setting and -achievement; about the dedicated and obsessive motivation, which drives all great and exceptional people; about judging perceived probabilities and making them work in your favor; about expressing your creative and masculine energies; about being competitive and always doing stuff better; about being present in the moment and observing the world through the foggy lens of constant risk taking, while simultaneously having the fun of your life. It is all mental, after all, and to have an extraordinary life you have to have an extraordinary psychology. Sounds simple?
We publish the lifestyle as it is - pure and harsh, provocative and, in part, disgusting. We hint at all the little techniques, tips and tricks (as absurd and funny as they may seem) that we use to reach our goals and targets – all the weapons that we use to get the job done. Though an ordinary person may not necessarily understand or like our material, we want him to, at least, see and feel the ambience in our lives, no matter how good, bad or ugly. We show the story behind the street spam that people encounter every day; surely, we do not want to glorify it, though. But we want to transform the avatar of the average trash-life graffiti writer, who smokes weed and drinks beer all day, works 8 hours a day at McDonalds, saves his money and spends it for a crappy interrail, meeting likeminded confused and trapped souls. Instead, it might quite well be a charismatic, always analyzing, always tolerant gentleman, which you never heard of, but would love to meet. A freedom fighter, who may indeed be a hedge fund manager with a shady background and no fear of facing the consequences of his actions. A loyal to the game and his tribe persona, who has no fear to show and get what he wants and say what he wants to say. To make fun of all the rules and laws that someone created and expects us to follow; even in the scene, people are still building and obeying laws. People are sheep, which like to follow others for the social validation. Sourcing the fear of the unknown, this herding process helps them cope with the uncertainty of life, and allows them to stay in their comfort zone. After all, if others are doing it, it must be right - the madness (or stupidity) of crowds in action. People just need something to identify with to feel significant, without the need for any real reason or explanation. In fact, they want and will believe in any crap you set up for them and you can make them essentially believe anything. Even everything in this interview [*wink wink*].
Anecdotally, a fellow in a southern country recently demonstrated some of this, while putting on his mask in a totally bombed train yard with no cameras. While one of us was doing a portrait of him, he turned around and said “Do not worry, you don’t need a mask, I just wear it for the style!” Touché.
Read the rest after the jump: