Thursday, 14 April 2016

Interview with artist
Carne Griffiths

Working primarily with calligraphy inks, graphite and liquids, such as tea, brandy and vodka Griffiths’ fascination with drawing focuses on the creation and manipulation of the drawn line. Images explore human, geometric and floral forms, in a combination of both literal and abstract translation and in response to images and situations encountered in daily life. Images are recorded in a dreamlike sense onto the page where physical boundaries are unimportant. His work creates a journey of escapism which focuses on scenes of awe and wonder, projecting a sense of abandonment and inviting the viewer to share and explore this inner realm.

Carne Griffiths is an Ambassador for St Cuthberts Mill.

'Dark Energy' by Carne Griffiths
(Calligraphy inks, tea and pigment on Bockingford 535gsm paper)

Interview with artist Carne Griffiths - 2016
Tell me about when you decided to go “pro”. When did you decide to dedicate yourself to your art. Give us an example of what that meant to you. (What pushed your artwork from amateur level to professional?)
I decided to go full time as an artist in 2010, I’d been working as an embroidery designer for 12 years and had created some work in the background but hadn’t really considered that pursuing a career in art would be sustainable.  Whilst still working the full time job I held an exhibition of some large scale pen and ink drawings, and I enjoyed creating these so much that I thought why not give it a try!
I decided that I would dedicate a year to pushing my art forward and within several months I had started to receive some positive feedback and had a chance to get my work in front of a number of galleries.  Primarily I showed work with Inkd gallery in Brighton and Eyestorm, both of which were giving positive feedback about the works I had presented.  It was only when I sold a number of original works in a month that I realised it may be possible to make a living as a fine artist.. so this was the beginning of the Journey. 

'Trouble' by Carne Griffiths
(Ink, tea, graphite and pigment pen on Bockingford 535gsm paper)

Please state which St Cuthberts Mill papers you use and why?
I use Bockingford paper, primarily 535gsm Cold Press (NOT) - I just love the way it reacts with the materials I use and also the punishment the surface of the paper will withstand.

How does the use of these papers enhance your work?  
Bockingford paper maintains a crisp surface for fine pen work even after layering liquids such as tea boiling water alcohol and ink,  It allows the build up of layered work without disintegrating and provides a surface which I can both add and subtract colour from.  It’s lifting properties are excellent and it reacts well to strong graphite marks leaving powerful and deep grooves in the paper without buckling or tearing.

'Protection' by Carne Griffiths
(Ink, tea, graphite and fine liner on Bockingford 535gsm paper)

Is there an artist you admire, did they inspire you to be an artist yourself?
I went through college with friend and artist Dan Baldwin, he inspired through his work ethic and approach to art, 100% whole heartedly and earnestly painting from the day I met him to the current time.  Being around someone with this much dedication and vision is inspiring and also helps you realise what is possible when you push yourself to the limit.

Do you remember the first painting you did that you were really proud of?
I think ‘Strength’ because it was a rescued painting.  It went through a stage of destruction and came back to something quite delicate.   It made me realise that in painting, like in life, it is overcoming problems and difficulties that helps you push through boundaries.  There is nothing worse than safe painting.  An artist must take risks.

What memorable responses have you had to your work?
I am fortunate to receive a lot of feedback on the work, the important thing for me is not to give more gravitas to where this comes from.  I enjoy observations about the work no matter where they come from, whether it be a trained artist a critic or someone who professes no interest in art.  In an exhibition in 2011, a guy walked into the exhibition crossed the room and made his way straight to a piece called acceptance.  He came over to talk about the piece.  He had ‘no real interest in art’ but was drawn to the image.  I really enjoy the power that art can have in this way, and I always aim to make art that is accessible and honest.

'Hope' by Carne Griffiths
(Ink and tea on Bockingford 535gsm paper)
What are you working on right now?
I am creating work for a number of group shows and experimenting in the studio with some works on nature.

What’s the one painting you’ve painted that you will always keep?
 I am not precious about my paintings, I create them to be enjoyed, but I have a piece called poppy which is painted to remember my Grandad.  It now belongs to my Son and I hope that he will never sell it, it’s an emotional work but reflects hope and fragility.

What advice would you give to yourself, the artist you were 10 years ago?
Experience life, go out and do crazy things, be hungry to experience the world.  Every one of these experiences will channel through what you paint.

Anything else you'd like to mention that I didn't ask?
Paint through it!

We'd like to thank Carne Griffiths for doing this interview with us - 
To view more of his amazing work head over to his website!

For more info about Bockingford paper:

For more info about Saunders Waterford paper:

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