by Rolando Chang Barrero, WeMerge Magazine, January 2014
“It happened on the way to the ballpark,” may seem like a cliché, but for “GRIFF” it really did. GRIFF, one of South Florida’s most respected graffiti writers, says that’s exactly where it all began, “I used to ride the train to Red Sox games with my dad and be amazed by graffiti around that same time which peaked my interest in writing.”
Griff, the trackside trouble-maker from Lynn, Massachusetts, began sketching at about 7 or 8 years old. By the time he turned 15 his focus was to “bomb” the town, and try his hand at “pieces.” That decision has paid off better then he imagined. Now, working on large scale “productions,” and “commission’s,” Griff after 3 separate arrests (for graffiti), now call’s himself a “Legal Eagle.” Never the less, his real identity remains hidden---umm, maybe not such a “Legal Eagle” after all!
Rolling up to meet me in his mint condition 1988 Chevy Caprice Classic which sit’s on a set of 22’s, the sometimes humble, at times arrogant, but all the time talented, Griff has some really specific thoughts on graffiti and “street art.” He laughs at some of the Internet “jocks” and their “new words” like “slaps.” He says, “You see them on Instagram like "Yo, lets trade slaps.” Again, he laughs. His favorite style of writing is still just Classic New York/East Coast stuff although he says that Miami has a fresh style, that is way different than stuff he saw coming up in Massachusetts and the Northeast. With no favorite artist, he claims, “ I have a deep love for all graff. from the “no-name artists” with some bass-ass elements, to the writers I work, live, and hang with… I love graff!”
A freehand writer at work in his sign shop, or on the street; Griff has made stickers in the past, but as for stencils and projections, definitely not the street.
In regards to “gallery graff” Griff is no hater, he lives and lets live. “I can't knock anybody's hustle. I'm sure if a gallery offered me to do some fancy art show and make some money I’d be right there. I’ve done a few small shows but nothing huge. Some graffiti is definitely gallery worthy and some def isn't! I feel like there are a lot of writers that do gallery work that has nothing to do with graffiti such as: oil paintings, photography sculptures etc.... A lot of writers are not only into graff –they very good classic or contemporary artists. I can't hate. Do what you love and Get money!”
Griff, now representing for “crews” like LMA, SA, and GW, when asked about his “street cred” raises his brow, tips his head and chuckles, “I'll let the streets decide….most of my stuff doesn't get buffed anymore!”
By Rolando Chang Barrero