In conversation with…Debby Griffin
We talk to Arts Central resident and office manager Debbie Griffith in the latest of our ‘In conversation…’ series.
I mostly work in acrylics, mainly because of the way I can build layers to create what I want.. Sometimes I like to use a mixed media with pens, texture paste and items that i have recycled to use in my art. I love the depth that comes from using these techniques.
How would you describe your style and how has it developed?
I’m not sure how I would describe my style. I guess when it comes to portraits I tend to be quite realistic, but definitely not hyper realism. I would say my work borders on surrealism as I tend to use colour to create almost a dreamlike quality.
When did you know you wanted to be an artist?
I knew I wanted to be an artist when I went to Uni to study herbal medicine, but found myself frustrated at not being able to work on my art so I transferred to a fine art degree instead and never looked back.
Are there subjects or themes that you return to in your work?
Most of my work is socially conscious in nature, covering themes around environmental issues, spirituality and human nature. For me it is important for my art to have something to say.
Tell us a little about the process of your work.
I’ve never really thought about the process. I tend to come up with an idea then after a few initial sketches throw myself into the canvas and see what happens. Most of the time I surprise myself with the outcome of a painting.
Who is your favourite artist?
That’s a hard question. I don’t think I have one favourite artist; there are a few who I admire. I love Rene Magritte; his surrealist paintings far surpass Dali, but that is just my opinion. Frida Kahlo is a favourite; I love her style and her ability to convey her life to canvas. The Dada artist Hannah Hoch I admire greatly, and the artist Kathe Kollwitz for her gritty etchings on war and poverty.
What do you enjoy most about your art?
I love the freedom and expression it gives me. Getting lost in hours of painting and making is good for my soul.
What do you find most challenging about being an artist?
I guess most challenging is when I’m experiencing a blockage. My ideas get stifled and I cannot seem to put brush to canvas or even pencil to paper. The challenge is working through this by making other things.
How did you become involved with Arts Gateway/Arts Central?
I became involved in Arts Gateway as a volunteer, helping to build the new studios we have at Arts Central. From there I took my studio and continued to volunteer. Then in January 2019 I took on the role of Office Manager; part-time hours allow me to continue exploring my art whilst giving me a steady income.
How has being at Arts Central helped you in achieving your goals?
Being at Arts Central has allowed me to be around other artists and creatives rather than practising in isolation. Friendships have blossomed and there is a great deal of creative input. I love the community vibe we have at AC and really look forward to what the future holds.