We had the good fortune of connecting with Brian Greif and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Brian, how do you think about risk?
Risk taking is critically important. The bigger the risk, the bigger the gain. In addition, life would be boring without risk. I enjoy taking risks in business, wether it was the risk of removing a large Banksy painting from the side of a building in San Francisco, as part of a documentary about the importance of preserving street art, or making the decision in 2013 to leave a successful career in the Television business to start a new company managing projects for artists. I have found that risk, managed carefully, can be extremely rewarding. I spent 34 years in the Television business. I had a successful career in TV management and production. When TV started to change, becoming more consolidated and corporate, I decided to exit a very comfortable career and start all over again managing artists. That was a huge risk. Street Art had become popular, but most artists were still not in a position to afford full-time management. I did many projects for free or paid for them myself to gain the trust of artists and build a business. That has turned into a very rewarding and interesting career that is extremely enjoyable. My company is now one of the largest management companies for mural projects, gallery exhibits and sales. We have worked with many of the top international street and graffiti artists. We have produced three documentaries on Street Art and Graffiti. All because sometimes, throwing caution out and jumping into the deep end of the pool is rewarding. Taking risks goes beyond the professional, I also enjoy taking risks in my personal life. I have done three very difficult trips to the Amazon. I have camped near the Arctic Circle, done solo excursions to the jungles of Panama and Nicaragua. People often ask me why I subject myself to that kind of risk as a vacation. The answer is simple. When you return from a trip like that, life takes on new meaning. Struggling with heat, insects and rough conditions gives you a sense of “anything is possible”. My approach to business is the same. I want to tackle the biggest projects. Two years ago I was asked to help manage the largest mural ever created in North America two years ago, I looked at the project and thought – They don’t have the budget, resources or equipment to make this happen, but if we can find a way to make it work, the project will be epic. It was a significant risk, but we pulled it off under extreme conditions and now it is a highlight in my art management career. Taking risks has allowed me to work some of the biggest names in art, music and entertainment. I can look back now at age 60 and think to myself – I have done some pretty interesting and amazing things. Never leave an opportunity behind.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
For 34 years I worked in the Television business. I helped manage, create and consult a variety of programs. Beginning in 2013 I left the TV business to become a full time “artist manager”. I produce documentaries on Street Art and Graffiti and I manage a wide variety of projects for some of the worlds top artists. Projects including: murals, gallery exhibits, brand projects, hotel installations and sale of original art.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I would take them to “Risk Rock Studios” in Thousand Oaks. “Risk Rock Studios” is the home and studio for Graffiti Legend Kelly “RISK” Graval. The “compound” has become a center for creatives in the Los Angeles area. It is a regular meeting spot for musicians, artists, photographers, MMA fighters, tattoo artists and many others. Many people are familiar with Andy Warhol’s “Factory”. The “Factory” was Warhol’s studio. It was the center of an important arts and culture movement in New York. “Risk Rock Studios” is becoming that center in Southern California.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My success is due to my long time business partner Eva Boros. She was always willing to jump in and tackle the risks with me. Also, I never could have achieved my success without inspiration and support from artist Kelly “RISK” Graval. Kelly is a foundational part of the west coast graffiti scene. He always wants to do things “first” and do them “big”. Kelly is not only an extremely talented and important artist. He is an inspiration.
Youtube: Risk Rock Studios https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsHwOVdrQC766v2htF0C-QQ