Wednesday, 8 February 2012

A Brief Chat With Peter Griffen

With the launch of his new book upon us, we posed artist Peter Griffen these questions about his process.
Further celebrating In And Out of Abstraction, Peter will be hosting an event on Tuesday February 28th at 7pm, at his studio in Emma St, Leichhardt. Peter will open his studio and demonstrate what goes in to creating a piece of art, with wine and nibbles for the audience.
Tickets are $18 (or $15 for Frequent Shoppers) and available by calling Shearer's on 9572 7766.

How would you describe your work?
I work in an abstract “dreaming” way in my studio. When on location, en plein air, I respond directly to the landscape in front of me. I see the latter activity as serious painting, and also “note taking” for my studio abstract work.
My work is usually colourful and energetic, reflecting my buoyant positive approach to life. At times it is quite non-representational, at other times recognisable symbols and shapes appear. The en plein air work is of a more traditional format.

Where is it that you find your inspiration?
Mainly in the landscape; Central Australia, The Kimberley, opal mining sites, farm yards and estuaries are most important.
I am slowly becoming more interested in the human figure and still life subjects. You’ve spent some time on the land and working with Indigenous artists.

Did this influence your recent works in any way?
All art influences me in some way. Australian Indigenous art does influence me in terms of its “look” but more in it’s “message”. Also I do like to include a feeling in my work that there is a group of people living in this land that are very close to the land, so much so, that they seem part of it. I use symbols and marks that appear to have their influence to do this.

You exhibit all over Australia and the world. How do Australian patrons compare to the rest of the world?
I find a similarity in people throughout the world in most ways and when it comes to buying art. Abstract art challenges people throughout the world just as it challenges Australians. People seem to buy more readily if they have heard of you or are well promoted, and so on. The one consistent thing throughout the world is diversity of taste.
I have heard that Australians generally speaking only buy Australian art. Perhaps this is a difference then, because I have sold quite a lot of paintings to the French and the English. Perhaps in Europe people are more open to, or more fascinated by, artwork "foreign"?

We are holding an event in your studio at the end of February. What will people find
when they visit your studio? Do they have access to all areas of your workspace?

People will surprisingly find a large exciting space and will feel free to investigate it once they are over the initial impact. There will be lots of paintings to see, including our own collection of other artist’s work. My wife, Denise, is a textile artist and her work will be on display as will her studio too.
Our workspace is our home. This will be quite apparent and we welcome all.

Is there an etiquette for visiting an artist’s studio? Like, don’t touch and don’t run?

Relax, enjoy and just say nice things, please.....
What do you want people to take away from the experience?
Happiness mainly and something learnt. I hope that some will have more idea of what goes on in an artist’s head, how decisions are made, what drives them, etc.; why someone like me writes a book about my art, why not just paint?

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