the-grifters

“Jeff and Joan at a Grifters show somewhere in Australia, February 1996. I know I speak for the rest of the band when I say that was one of the greatest times of our lives.
One of the many highlights of the tour was seeing Jeff play a packed house in Melbourne where it was literally about 115 degrees in the club. One poor girl passed out and the crowd lifted her up and passed her to the stage where some of the crew whisked her backstage to take care of her. Before the song was over about 15 girls ‘passed out’ and were all crowd-surfed backstage.
(and apparently Robert Plant and Jimmy Paige were at the show?)”

The Grifters (x)

vimeo

Freedom Is Not Defined By Safety

So The Grifters came out with a new video a couple of days ago. Seeing as I missed out on College today being pretty ill. Woke up at 6PM

Anyway, this video is different to their previous videos on many levels, to me it instantly strikes me as something more of an artistic slant to it. Their previous videos have all been pretty raw video, simply Graffiti and other semi-related activities. Not to say that they have been without meaning, however this time its a lot less conventional.

The video is pretty powerful in my opinion, even as a visual experience alone the massive juxtaposition between each still frame and the following video clip creates a pretty big impact. It almost seems to burn the message into your memory, each video clip is pretty interesting, they all share a somewhat similar theme of going against standards that society holds. Each short message combined with the clip  does a good job of being memorable.

The messages themselves share similarities to proverbs of sorts, they’re the kind of message that you can apply to any situation, having a somewhat comedic slant to them It’s a pretty good commentary on how silly the things we do are. I bought a bag from them recently, coming with a large selection of these messages as stickers which is nice, adds to the idea that we can spread these kinds of messages around, hopefully people might change a little. The Grifters’ videos all seem to share a theme of actually living life. The obvious fact that what they do is illegal is never really challenged, much more embraced. Not in the way that modern ‘urban’ hip-hop artists might embrace illegality but much more in a way that they are challenging what people tell them they can do.

Many of their messages are resemblant of this idea. 'Just because other people don’t do what we do, doesn’t mean it’s wrong.’ and 'You are free to do as we tell you.’ They’re about living your own life and not letting anyone stop you, not law or standards. This idea of 'Freedom is not defined by safety.’ is a good one, It’s not about how safe you are to do what you want within confines of society but much more about how free you are from these things themselves.

Their videos have always provided an insight into Graffiti culture unlike a lot of Graffiti videos that simply show the art. Which is why I really like the Grifters.

Watching the videos gave me a few ideas of my own that I’d really like to work on, again this method of spreading a message through the use of lettering against a contrasting background has been utilized by many of the artists I’ve looked at. Guerilla Girls for example. So I’d like to do something similar, maybe take some of these themes, produce some stencils or stickers and attempt to get some of these spread around somewhere. I’d like to do a few installation type pieces on Canvas etc, experimenting with surface, font and utensil. And as illegal as it might be, some stencils and stickers in places, photographing them and maybe producing some prints or a book.