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Portrait of Carne Griffiths

Portrait of Carne Griffiths

An unexpected use of tea, brandy, and ink in contemporary art.
“For me being an artist is about bringing together all the things that make you unique as a person and applying them to your work – it demands honesty and quite often means flying in the face of trends.”

Can you outline your creative background?

I have always had an interest in drawing – from 4 years old I was fascinated by learning to draw dogs, tessellating triangle spaceships and trees.  I missed doing art at school and started again at 17, going on to do a foundation and then studying Illustration at Kent Institute of Art and Design in Maidstone now UCA. After graduating I moved to London and soon after started training as an embroidery designer for a company that produced beautiful hand crafted items. They had an incredible history – dating back to 1757, and I served an apprenticeship as a gold wire embroidery draftsman with learning from someone who had perfected his craft over a 50+ year career. In 2010 I made the leap into the world of fine art and illustration, I still do not like to separate the two. It’s been an incredible journey so far and it is fun to watch how the work has developed over a 3 year period.

What was the first artwork or ad that inspired you?

I was fascinated by Escher when I was younger – we had a piece of his in the back room when we lived up in Ormskirk. I remember being intrigued by the optical trickery and the execution of the work – for a long while my tastes were very technical – later I discovered the work of a number of outsider artists that changed my perception of creativity.

Where do you find your inspiration? What captures your attention in everyday life, graphics or art?

In daily life really, in people, in nature, in assessing how we live our lives and are affected by the society we have created.  When I left my full time job my aim was to return to simplicity – I don’t think I have moved to far towards this yet.  I have a love for the natural world, for embellishment, and for surface pattern – for me being an artist is about bringing together all the things that make you unique as a person and applying these to your work – it demands honesty and quite often means flying in the face of trends.

What is the process you go through to build your imagery?

I allow chance to play a major part – I begin with an image or idea that leaves scope for interpretation but I enjoy the flexibility of allowing the work to make it’s own path. I like to combine very fine details and patterns with loose and expressive marks – I find that one without the other just doesn’t work.  Expressive marks often need refinement and tight detail often lacks energy and feeling; by combining them I feel a balance in the work.

What tools do you use?

I work with tea, ink, and graphite on watercolour paper.  I find it interesting that people are more and more surprised by artists working with traditional tools.

How do you describe your style?

I think it’s an ethereal style that acknowledges both illustrative and fine art influences

How do you define good art?

Good art must stir emotion in the viewer and cause a reaction of some sort.

Whose portrait would you most like to do?

Definitely Stuart Goddard, or as he is better known Adam Ant.

What artist would you like to collaborate with (from the past or present)?

I would love to collaborate with Andre Masson or Paul Klee – incredible artists with a huge respect for line.

What project are you most proud of?

I enjoyed working with Rankin’s images for Hunger Magazine but an upcoming project looks as though it will be the biggest challenge for my work – it’s the most ambitious work to date and I hope to be able to share it later in the year.

Which blogs and magazines do you read?

I readHi Fructose, Colossal, and Fad – of course, then a range of fashion magazines, Art of England, and cycling mags.

What is the last exhibition you went to?

I saw the 100 Drawings exhibition at the Tate Liverpool over Christmas, great show with a variety of work exploring the notion of drawing in contemporary art.

If you could own any artwork in the world, which one would it be?

Any work by André Masson.

What would you be if not an artist?

I think I’d be a technical draftsman – sorry – I just can’t imagine not drawing..

What are three adjectives that best describe you?

Dedicated, enthusiastic, energetic.

What are you currently working on?

Just finished work for ‘Trailblazers’ exhibition at ‘Above Second’ gallery in Hong Kong, curated by Coates and Scarry and I am currently putting together a solo show and planning pieces for a book by an American Author, can’t say more but it’s going to be an exciting year.

Any plans for the future?

Showing in Milan in the Summer and hopefully in Los Angeles late in the year – then I think a break is in order!