Voices of Experience - An Interview with David Griffin
Voices of Experience
David Griffin was given an early opportunity to study with the most well-known illustrators of the day. From that opportunity, he learned the importance of communicating a narrative through his artwork. After working in the Illustrators Workshop in New York City for two years, Griffin returned to his roots in Texas to practice graphic design and illustration there. He also began painting for himself, putting his roots in the cowboy's life and the southwestern landscape into his work. His passion and emotional connection to the western United States reverberate throughout the stories he tells in his paintings. He wrote to us about his artistic journey.
My personal journey into becoming a fine artist began in an act of desperation in college (another story for another time). Suffice it to say, I found out the hard way that my future was not in medicine or baseball. In my junior year, while studying and finishing my course work toward a BFA in Design at Texas Tech University, I was accepted, by nothing short of a miracle, to the first NewYork Illustrators Workshop, where I was taught and mentored by Mark English, Bernie Fuchs, Bob Peak and Robert Heindel, the best illustrators of that era.
Although I have painted all over Europe and from coast to coast in the United States, my life, my heart, my voice are all anchored and influenced by “the west”. By west I mean anything west of Dallas ,Texas, as far south as the Big Bend, as far north as Jackson Hole and Yellowstone, and as far west as the west coast—and everything in between.
My work is almost exclusively landscape, and occasionally the figure. Usually the first thing I do when I arrive at the location is to "get to know the subject". By that I mean using all my senses I immerse myself in the visual before me— the land, the atmosphere, the character of my subject. This may include the 105 degree heat of the desert floor or waist high snow in the Rockies.
Starting with plein air studies and some photography, I then go back to the studio and work with the studies and photos to construct small thumbnails for composition, thereby enabling the narrative.
As artists, at any stage, we are all still students, searching for those fleeting moments of clarity when who we are becomes what we paint. I found that almost every one of my paintings is in some way a self-portrait, the good and bad. Give God’s gift of creativity plenty of air, some water, and nourishment.
To aspiring young artists: Nurture your gift with your full attention and see if it doesn’t return a multitude of blessings. But whatever you do don’t give up. It’s worth the fight.
To see more of David Griffin's work,
David Griffin's work has been featured in Cowboys and Indians, Victoria, Dallas Morning News, Western Art Collector, Southwestern Art (cover and feature, October, 2013) and is included in many corporate collections. He has been invited to participate in these selected national shows: American Art Classic, Texas Art Gallery Collectors' Sale, Settler’s West Gallery, Oil Painters of America National Show (Award of Excellence), Salon International (Jury Top 50 Award), Coors National Western Art Exhibit (2010-present), National Ranching Heritage Museum, American Impressionist Society 2015 National Show, Maynard Dixon Invitational 2016 (awarded Silver Thunderbird for Best Body of Work).
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