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Very excited about tomorrow’s drawing event. On Saturday 25th feb (tomorrow!) I will be packing up my assorted teas, pens and paintbrushes and heading over to Notting Hill for a day of painting in ink and tea at Debut Contemporary. Debut have kindly let me use their window space as a studio for the day and as spring is just around the corner (fingers crossed) I thought I would take some floral inspiration to create a new piece of work in the space. Hopefully I will have worked out the technology to broadcast some of the drawing via webcam, but if you can make it along to the gallery for a cup of tea you’ll be able to enjoy the whole experience aroma and all!!
There will also be work available for sale starting from £5 for postcard packs, prints and original works of art. Also available will be the newly released print Choke taken from the violence of flowers series, accompanied by a selection of original floral works.
Will post pictures of the event tomorrow evening online, but hope to see you there if you can make it.
Long Player @ The Ben Oakley Gallery
Tonight sees the launch of Long Player at the amazing Ben Oakley Gallery, featuring work from over 30 artists who have been given the task of customising classic (and not so classic) album covers in a show which mixes street art, fine art, illustration and works from another dimension. I got 2 in it!
Sneak preview below
Digital Arts have featured an interview about my working practice so I thought I’d share it on the blog too, alternatively you can see it on the Digital Arts website here
Carne Griffiths brews up an exhibition
Many artists and designers use tea as an integral part of their creative process – to drink and pause and reflect on a work before applying final touches or heading off in a new direction – but the beverage is much more instrumental to the work of the artist Carne Griffiths. He creates what he describes as “drawings in ink and tea [that] offer a form of escapism to the viewer”, mixing portraits with floral shapes and watery smudges and drips for a style imbued with both sadness and strength
DA: How did you first get into the use of liquids such as tea in your work?
CG: “I have drawn with fountain pen for many years, often with plain water washes. When I decided to leave my post of creative director at an embroidery firm to pursue a love of drawing I experimented with liquids such as brandy.
“I liked the effect this had on the inks I was using but decided that an alternative that wasn’t such a wasteful crime would be a better option so I started experimenting with different types of tea.”
DA: What does using such materials enable you to do that conventional painting techniques alone do not?
CG: “Colour is a difficult area for me and something that I have become more confident with in recent works. My confidence in using different materials is growing but the benefit of working with a medium such as tea is that it creates a naturally harmonious palette.
“I can introduce vibrant colours but the tea does the job of mixing with these to create a balance in the work. I know this could have been achieved with a reduced palette of colours but there is something about the whole process of brewing the tea and working with a colour that becomes more intense or darker in tone as the work progresses.”
DA: How does your past in embroidery design influence your work?
CG: “I undertook an apprenticeship in embroidery and it was something that I didn’t take lightly, there is a great responsibility learning from someone who has devoted 50 years of their life to understanding and developing a trade, and then the challenge is taking that information and making the job your own. That kind of intensity and study of technique is bound to have an influence on both your drawing style and also your approach to artwork.
“A lot of my influences manifest themselves in quite a subtle way – sometimes subconsciously. I think the reason that many of my compositions sit within the page and fit within given shapes is down to this training and obviously the floral elements and pattern within my work derive from my embroidery background.
“Looking back at my work over the past year, the influence of floral pattern seems to be less evident in later pieces. I am becoming more interested in expressive lines and less controlled work, which is one of the advantages of working without constraint.”
DA: Could you give us a brief insight into your creative process for an artwork?
CG: “Spontaneity and chance is the key to most of my work, allowing myself the freedom to change the direction of a piece of work at any time is what excites me most about making art. I can be working on a piece and suddenly have the impulse to tip a cup of tea almost entirely over the work and then to throw the piece around moving the ink away from the underlaying lines. This process of ‘destruction’ is found in most of the pieces that I consider successful.
“I have a real passion for outsider art and automatic drawing – show me the work of someone who considers themselves unable to draw and I will marvel at their approach. So part of my aim in any piece of work is to reach that point where I become less concerned with the act of making an image and become absorbed in the drawing itself.
“The work of Andre Masson and the incredible tortured drawings of Antonin Artaud are examples to me of the raw power of the drawn line. I am of the opinion that creativity has less to do with technical ability than intuition, freedom of expression and confidence in mark making.”
DA: How did you come to be exhibiting at Gallery 90?
CG: “I was introduced to the gallery by the artist Mason Storm who is also exhibiting at G90 later in December. He’s been pretty instrumental in arranging the whole thing and I’m grateful for the opportunity.”
DA: What journeys does the title of the show refer to?
CG: “The show title reflects upon several types of journey. It alludes to the process of creating the work, to the discovery involved during each piece and also to the way I have approached my own artwork over the last year allowing things to happen organically without too much concern for direction.”
The exhibition runs from Nov 19 to Dec 3 at Gallery 90, 90 Mountgrove Road, Finsbury Park, London, N5 2LT. The private view is on Nov 18 from 7pm.
Digital Arts Staff
Good day in the studio yesterday – after collecting work from the Contemporary Romantics show I got back in the studio just before the heavens opened and finished off a new piece of work.. was a strange drawing experience and one of the more ‘automatic’ drawings I have carried out recently. Thought I would post it to the blog as I haven’t decided whether it fits with the series ‘Violence of Flowers’ but maybe it works because it is so different to the others. Most importantly it was a really euphoric experience making the work and I’m keen to share it so here it is!
Its turning out to be a rollercoaster week – with great news hearing of sales of The Harvest, The Vine, Nectar, Metamorphosis Strength and Comfort – thank you to Ink’d Gallery, Eyestorm, Art Republic and Opus – meanwhile in the studio work is building up quickly on ‘The Violence of Flowers’ a series of work which I am fully immersed in at the moment. This may have been the reason it hadn’t really sunk in that the studios where I work are being considered for redevelopment and a planning application slapped on the lamp-post outside the entrance. If things go according to (their) plan – Norlington road studios in Leyton will turn into a mews providing some nice new flats for the area, meanwhile a growing community of artists from the surrounding areas will be without studio space which is becoming increasingly scarce!! especially in E10/E11
This on the back of a wonderful Arts Trail Experience leaves a real bitter taste in the mouth… well I have decided that it’s something I will become actively involved in opposing – whether it means I have to find a new workplace or not the main thing is that life and the current project of work goes on for the time being and I intend to make the most of it. I have only released detail shots of the work so far and a couple of development pieces so I thought I would add one finished piece to the blog, it misrepresents the series slightly but it is the first piece to reintroduce portraiture to the series. The piece shown below is as yet untitled – it’s title will depend on the completed series of work but I think it reintroduces a bit of vigour to the drawn line – I hope you like it
I will be holding a small private preview of the series on the 27th of August in Leytonstone, and will be showing selected works as part of the E17 Arts Trail which begins on the 1st September. In the meantime I am looking for a venue to display the full collection of works towards the end of September… just need to find a gallery that would be interested in showing the series as a whole.
I have taken a short video of the work on the mural / drawing so far at Norlington Road – I will be making a finished video and a short book of the completed piece but until then…
A drawing made as part of the Leytonstone arts trail over a period of about 2 weeks spending 40 hours drawing, the piece is an unplanned organic drawing in Ink and tea which explores floral forms. Drawn in fountain pen ink and painted with various types of tea, specifically chai, Rooibos, blackcurrant & nettle and camomile vanilla & honey. The artwork references plants from both the front and rear of the house.
As part of the Leytonstone Arts Trail – I have had the pleasure of starting a large drawing inside a freshly wallpapered house. The piece is an organic development – mainly unplanned and consisting largely of floral forms. The drawing is due to be completed next weekend and will be open for public viewing on Sunday the 10th of July where I will be continuing the work and throughout the next week until Sunday the 17th July. Here are a few images of the work completed so far.
The work will be the starting point of a new series of pieces considering the impact of bees on the environment, their sophisticated methods of communication and navigation, concerns about their dwindling numbers and the catastrophic effects on the planet should they disappear completely.
By chance today I met a beekeeper who has invited me to don a beekeepers suit and gain some first hand experience visiting the hive – looking forward to recording some sound and video to influence the work
This thursday at 6:30 pm we will be opening the doors of SORTED london’s exhibition featuring 10 artists and illustrators. I will be showing 5 original pieces of work 4 of which have not been on show before.
To go with these pieces I will be launching 3 giclee prints of the work on display. The new prints are Metamorphosis, Sunlight and Coma, the original of which sold through Art Republic. It would be great to see you at the exhibition which runs daily 10am-8:30pm until the 15th of June at East Gallery, Brick Lane – full details
I will also be showing work at 3 other shows this month,
Old Boots New Laces, which opens at the Vibe Bar Gallery on the 17th June
Modern Vices – opens 23rd June London Miles Gallery, 65 Hanbury Street
Picture Show – East 17 Art House 25th June
Decided not to work too much into this, there was enough rose leaf and enough suggestion of the overall form to leave the outer pencil marks to describe the shape. Again this piece is drawn from a reference image and has marked a departure from the automatic process, the leaves and foliage are all drawn from memory / free although I have been making studies inbetween large pieces.