The Grifters – Graffiti Without Graffiti
The first photo-blog by The Grifters popped up on the Internet almost ten years ago, a project drawn from the psyche of a focused Eastern European. With the help of his friends, armed with nothing but point and shoot film cameras, The Grifters began documenting and reporting on the lifestyles of the people that surrounded them. Punctuating these reports with humor and irony, sarcasm and provocation, all the while captured with beautiful photography, The Grifters revealed a wholly new perspective on the current generation. The Grifters took an approach that nobody else was taking at the time, by portraying everything surrounding the act of graffiti, whilst avoiding the resulting graffiti itself. Highlighted by this approach is the realization that there are many more interesting moments and emotions to capture, other than only graffiti. The Grifters started out as a graffiti-like blog with an alternative and fresh point of view, taking pride in their selection of the most prolific graffiti writers. Within a few short years it had developed into something much bigger than just one photographer’s journal. The Grifters, in establishing one of the most recognizable Internet platforms for urban culture, opened a door for a whole new way of documenting and presenting the stories of people who were once labelled as outcasts. They developed these narratives into something philosophical, romanticized and sophisticated. The Grifters not only showed the darker side of society through their beautiful photography and video, but also added a sense of morality, by way of the provocative messages and quotes that we see in their publications.
In may 2014, after being set up by the french vandal squad, the creator and head of The Grifters was sent to prison, accused of crimes including Terrorism and Conspiracy. Good Guy Boris was to spend four months remanded in custody in the largest European prison, for merely filming people doing graffiti and posting this on the Internet. This “low blow” on behalf of the police, gave way to The Grifters rising even more in popularity.
Very few people are aware that during the time Boris spent in prison, he invited four new people to join the platform of The Grifters. This was the first step taken in developing The Grifters into an art collective. He called upon other young and talented photographers, an illustrator and a writer to join with him to form the collective that The Grifters is currently comprised of today, namely the 1992 Collective, BadYear85, Eewan, Good Guy Boris, James Hattrick & Thorfine. Quickly after the return of Boris from his “holidays”, The Grifters had organized a series of successful exhibitions in Paris, the capital of art and fashion, and their next target is establishing a milestone before the birth of their latest form of evolution – The Grifters Journal.