Interview with Nicholas Griffin
''My paintings are two-dimensional apparitions of personal experiences involving emotive response, objects and place. However the places and experiences in particular within the painting are usually unknown to the viewer. Figures and objects appear and disappear just as in life, things shift and shimmer. Running alongside this aspect of transience in the work is a deep interest in form and how its used. I want my images always to be slightly out of visual reach. Creating a multitude of surfaces I'm interested in how these planes can sit together. Conjuring up a visual conversation, which in turn results in the final image being greater than the sum of its parts.'' - Nicholas Griffin
Could you please introduce yourself and tell us how you started in the arts? and your first experience in art making?
This will probably sound like I’m gloating but I’m not, not much. I’m one of the lucky ones in the sense that all throughout my childhood up until now despite my various delusions about potential jobs when I was younger, professional golfer (I don’t play golf), marine biologist (I can’t scuba dive plus I’ll never be as cool as Jacques Costeau). Despite all these hare brained ideas I knew I wanted to make art. I am fairly stubborn and pretty particular, I have the deep memory that from a young age that the magic you experience when making work gave me a thrill and allowed me to be in complete control but most importantly it set me free. I grew up around art, both parents met at art school and we lived in a house full of art so there’s a sense of the preordained about it all really, like I say I’m lucky. My first most vivid memory of creating art and realising it was the real deal was when at primary school, we had a lesson where we had to copy a book cover and I just got completely and uttlerly lost in the process. After all the focusing at the end of it a girl from the class came up to me and said “that’s really good!” and that was it, no looking back.
How would you describe yourself and your artwork?
Difficult, disorientated, off-kilter, focused, complex and illusive, for both.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Real life, real time happenings, photographs, memories, films, music, books (all kinds), contemporary art and of course my predecessors.
What emotions do you hope the viewers experience when looking at your art?
In truth I have no hopes or expectations about that, just as long as they are affected somehow. If your work does nothing to them and doesn’t stir something in them then it’s probably not working.
When do you know that an artwork is finished?
When I can’t add anymore to it but this of course changes and that’s how you mess up paintings. It’s a game of push and pull and when the works presence appears you have to listen.
What has been the most exciting moment in your art career so far?
Well there have been a few; my degree show was super cool seeing all my friends work up shining bright. Seeing all your hard work on the walls and looking good was a proud moment. Probably though the most exciting was selling my first piece when I was asked to show at Saatchi Art’s Invest in Art stand at The Other Art Fair in London. It was just crazy to me that someone would pay what I think is quite a sum for something of mine, but what really gave me a buzz was when the buyer sent me a picture of it in his house which actually looked like a gallery and said how much he and his wife loved it, that was a moving moment.
How long does it take to produce one work?
There’s never a set time it can be anywhere from three months to two days. It depends on so many factors; it’s exactly the same as profound recordings of music. Miles Davis’s best albums are where every single musician in the room was on fire and were all collectively having an inspired conversation, you can’t replicate that kind of thing because they could have gone into the studio the next day and been completely disjointed. That’s what making art is, you wait for the waves of inspiration and then you just ride it but you have to always be open to it otherwise you strain for what could otherwise be something which you are channelling, not pushing for.
What exciting projects are you working on right now? Can you share some of the future plans for your artworks?
Well there’s a potentially exciting residency on the cards but we shall have to see if I get it or not! A group of us from Falmouth University (Class of 2016, shout out!) are in constant talks about putting on exhibitions. Aside from that I would love to have a solo show just to see all the works hanging together and see how they interact as I’m currently not represented by a gallery. As for my paintings I just want to keep pushing for them to look their best and ultimately to keep pushing myself to my limit other wise what’s the point? My ambitions are really to do with the scale, making that work and the actual materials used and how successful they are, in conjunction with the context of the work.
Do you have any upcoming events or exhibitions we should know about?
Well like I say there’s potentially a residency and I’m currently working on a new series of paintings and works on paper, maybe some etchings as well that I’m really excited about and would love to show them all together! If anybody out there can help with that lets make it happen, hit me up!
Where do you see your art going in five years?
Best case scenario: The walls of a respected gallery.
Worst case scenario: A skip.
Realistically though who knows! All I know is I’m going to keep pushing myself and working hard to make the work the best it can be. Like I said at the start all I know is I’m lucky, I’m lucky just to be able to have the chance to go for it and have interviews like this!