This project started from the way that graffiti artists are looked at in society, as menaces and criminals on one hand, and on the other hand some people are regarded as the biggest artists in the world such as Banksy nowadays with pieces selling for millions. Back in the late 70’s the new tag of “SAMO” had appeared everywhere over New York, and instead of being seen as criminal damage everyone was so enticed and wanted to know exactly who this was because they were amazed at this as political art. After finding out this to be Basquiat, he then went on to sell paintings for extortionate prices and went down in history as a world renowned artist.
Aside from that the point we wanted to make was that there is much more to what people see as just criminal damage or scribbles on walls/trains. The same political values still lay in place with graffiti, some see it as getting their name out there to be seen as who can get the most tags. Others will say that it is still against the government and sticking it to the man.
We were inspired by the title of an article on Dazed headed “Jailed with rapists and murderers” as we both know this is a topic that is in constant debate and people find it hard to understand this concept that as a graffiti artist you can risk facing up to ten years in prison and whilst serving this time could be put in the same cells/wings as hard criminals.
Contrasting this our main focus was ‘Zeitgeist’ we wanted to look into the modern day graffiti artist and look into the fashion that they are wearing and the style that is emerging especially out of London. From pairing high end designer accessories with your dads hiking gear there certainly is something unique about this style and it is something that hasn’t been heavily explored or documented.
Often big corporations will use graffiti for their personal benefit and even sometimes steal graffiti artists work as we have seen the recent H&M scandal. Similarity high end fashion brands are always taking fashion inspiration from the streets it wouldn’t be far off as the say they have definitely taken inspiration from graffiti artists before and they definitely will continue to in the future.
Deciding to shoot almost a look book of what a typical graffiti artist might be wearing we had a range of outdoor jackets from brands such as Arcteryx and The North Face, with some tracksuit bottoms to match or just some waterproofs from brands like Nike. We were pairing these looks with some designer accessories from the likes of Prada and some Arc’ shoes or Nike to top it off. For the final touch we added some balaclavas for that feel that graffiti artists always have to hide their identity.
Written by: Rory Griffin
Creative Direction - Rory Griffin & Jack West
Photography and Videography - Rory Griffin
Stylist - Jack West
Assistant Photographer - Oliver Truelove
Music - Izco
Rory Griffin - @rory_griffs
Jack West - @wack_mestjan
Oliver Truelove - @olivertruelove
Izco - @izzycofie