Artist Interview: Anne Griffiths
In this new artist interview we speak with Victoria-based painter Anne Griffiths about her artistic journey and memories of moments in nature that inspired the paintings in her upcoming exhibition "From This Place".
"Finding Place" Solo Exhibition at Bau-Xi Vancouver: March 5-19, 2022
1. Can you tell us a bit about your art and the inspiration behind it?
My work is definitely expressive, which sometimes evolves as literal landscapes, but just as often taking the form of an abstract interpretation of memories of a place or time. My love of colour is major component in the work and I try to use it with a very personal approach. After a few visits to the galleries and museums of Denmark and Norway I definitely felt a connection with the work there and I find similarities to how the great Canadian landscape painters worked and approached nature as a subject. So I suppose those painters are my inspiration, beyond the subject matter.
2. What drew you to becoming a painter?
It was always there. As a child I was lucky enough to attend Saturday art classes at the first Georgia Street location of the Vancouver Art Gallery, and through that I was exposed to professional exhibitions and the idea of art as a possible career.
After high school I enrolled at Emily Carr on Granville Island. Sadly, after my first year there they decided to cut back the painting program to just one class which severely limited my options; because all I wanted to do was paint. I made the difficult decision to leave the school and pursue a commercial arts career so I could find a way to my art via ‘illustration’ and art direction.
The goal was always to find my way to being a ‘painter’. It just took me a 25 year career in commercial design and illustration to make it happen.
3. What has the greatest impact on your art...mood, light, travel?
Nature in all forms, whether it is in my neighborhood or in another country, is the subject that speaks loudest to me. I draw so much from it: pattern, the language of line, contrast, colour and form and from that I paint from memory. I suppose travel is an essential part of that because the more places I go, the more I have to draw from.
4. Can you describe the link between memory and your artistic process?
Recalling past experiences, and connections made, brings out an empathy and understanding of my human response to the environment and I try to channel that information through my work. I let myself work very intuitively, and I intentionally choose not to use reference material. I find the process of discovery and exploration keeps me more excited about what I am doing.
5. Your work alludes to landscape and elements in nature. What types of landscapes do you seek for your paintings and where do you find them?
My favourite places are where the water meets a shoreline or thick within the brambles of a forest setting. I am enthralled with the details within a landscape and the abstract forms that appear in it. Even the most mundane ditch can hold a treasure trove of inspiration for me. I suppose what I am trying to do is to really look at and transcribe the impression a place makes on me, but through the lens of my memory.
6. What is next on the horizon for you?
I am super excited to have been invited to participate in a group exhibit at a castle in Berlin this summer.
Throughout the year I intend to explore more of the regional areas of this wild landscape of Vancouver Island and to learn about its diversity and differences to that of the coastal mainland of British Columbia that I know so well.
7. Can you share a fun fact?
I went to see an opening at the original downtown Vancouver Bau-Xi Gallery when I was a young child and it was there that I announced I was going to be an artist when I grew up.