Interview with DrifterShoots.
DrifterShoots is an amazing photographer who has recently thrived in the NFT space selling out his collection that trade at almost 6 figures now. He has come from a unique position.
DrifterShoots has an amazing story, so I wanted to share this with you as he also started from a unique position. This is an interview with him, and I will also let him introduce himself. He recently released a collection called “Where My Vans Go” — check it out here.
My name is Isaac Wright, I go by the artist name Drift. I was born in Cincinnati, OH and am 25 years old. I’m a retired U.S. Army special operations veteran that learned to cope with PTSD and depression through the world of urban exploring photography. On December 17th, I was arrested for my work, unaware that I was the subject of a nationwide manhunt at the hands of one detective for my work. I would spend 2 months incarcerated with no bond and 2 more with a $400,000 bond while the police and courts used my race and military background against me. The story arrived on the front page of the New York Times on June 6th, 2021. After my release in April, I was re-arrested twice in an attempt to have me kept inside. I dove headfirst into NFT’s in May to pay lawyer fees, I shared my work whenever I could. Since then, I have sold out on OpenSea, Foundation, and SuperRare and taken the leftover money and reinvested it into avatar projects and supporting others artwork.
How did you start your NFT journey?
When I first got out of incarceration, I had no idea my case would spread and I had to add three more lawyers. I was down to my last $10,000 and couldn’t even afford one lawyer as it was time to pay my first lawyer his full rate. I had to sell my art as a form of survival. I got involved with a foundation invite and then made a few sales and was able to make my first real payment to a couple of my lawyers.
It was so—do or die for me but it was life-changing. Eventually, my art started picking up steam after the New York Times article and I sold more and more and was accepted to SuperRare where I now post my 1/1’s.
Any pieces of advice you would give to fellow photographers?
Authenticity is key, I find that most people are looking around the space for “what works.” I feel like this is the worst way to go. Your art and story should be the pillars of your expression in the NFT space. Be vulnerable with the world about where you’ve been and why your art means so much. Be patient, it’s a marathon, not a sprint, one sale today could be ten in a few months, it’s much more about consistency and singularity than anything else.
In addition, I think all artists should re-invest their work not only back into the space and lift up other photographers and artists but also in different projects that could potentially build long term wealth. This in turn will only provide you more artistic freedom to manoeuvre and create how you’d like. Learn to be multi-dimensional. Remember that collectors are people too, they’re not just wallets. Plant seeds, water them and be patient. What is meant for you will find you if you stay consistent in your purpose.
What feeling did you have when your collection sold out instantly?
I was absolutely shocked. I knew the world was starting to really resonate with my art and my story but had no idea it would be the way it has been. I’m extremely humbled and blessed. Every day there is a point where I cry out of gratitude. To see the secondary market flourish too only confirms what I believed all along, even in my jail cell-that my art has the potential to change the world and I should stand up for it.
You recently sold a CryptoPunk for high 6 figures, how did it feel when you saw the sale?
When I threw nearly all my ETH into punk, I knew it was a solid investment. It was either going to be a short term flip or a long term hold. I just happened to find one that looked just like me. I couldn’t have anticipated a 3x flip within a months time. I was completely blown away. This showed me a few things, to always follow my intuition and to take chances. Seeing the transition from artist to artist and collector/flipper has been amazing. I re-invested into a rarer punk and I took some money and finally cashed out to pay my moms house off.
Coming from a low-income family I can’t tell you how revolutionary that was for me. The rest was re-invested in photography and some were saved. It gave me confidence for future endeavours more than anything.
What can we expect from you in the future?
In the future, you can expect me to continue to push the boundaries and expand as an artist. My work will go worldwide, soaring above foreign countries and bringing new art to the world. I am also building my own non-profit called “Cincy Street Project” that helps with bail relief, lawyer fees and will also provide an artistic space for children in Cincinnati’s historically black neighbourhood to have their own cameras and I will personally teach them how to use them. We will rent a space where they can come after school to learn and we will also hang some of their art in this space and do mini-shows. This is important to me because the arts were never pushed on me as a black youth. I think it’s key. I look forward to continuing to build up the photo community on Twitter and also investing in avatar projects and learning how to grow wealth over time. I have business plans for building a restaurant that hires all ex-incarcerees as well. Much more to come on that once I can finance it. I want to expand from artist to artist, activist and entrepreneur all under one umbrella and I’m working on that transition diligently now.