We're on the final countdown of our first show of 2022, 'Chromatic'. To round out our artist interviews, here are 5 questions with Denver-based painter Courtney Griffin!
Can you share a bit about your background and how you became an artist?
I was a super creative little kid — my preschool teacher even called my mom one day to tell her how impressed she was with my drawings and attention to detail! — but, like many of us do, I lost touch with my artistic self as I grew older. The societal pressures to conform, to fit in, to be someone I was not overpowered my desire to make art. I didn’t pursue art again until my late 20’s (around 4 years ago) when my anxiety was at an all-time-high and I felt unsure of my place in the world. I sought out the art of bullet journaling first, and the ritual of putting ink to paper daily made me feel safe, secure and seen. It was like I was returning home to myself for the first time after 2 decades of being lost. Over the years, my practice transformed from illustrations on paper to murals on buildings to large scale paintings in my home studio, yet the reason for showing up has remained constant. In my creative practice is where I feel safe to express, to be heard, to be noticed, completely as myself.
How did you develop your style?
As the seasons and cycles of nature will change, I, too, know my style has had many seasons and will continue to have more seasons over time. While this evolution is inevitable, there are elements of my work that will remain constant. I am drawn towards the exploration of opposing themes — pain and joy, scarcity and abundance, expanding and releasing, quiet and chaos, light and darkness — and how these opposing themes cannot exist without the other. And I explore these themes through my use of bold, pops of color and texture opposed with untouched negative space.
Tell us about the specific pieces you're showing in "Chromatic". Give us a bit of insight into your process of creating them and what you hope viewers take away from seeing them.
In autumn of last year, I participated in a women’s retreat in the mountains. I walked away with a collection of women’s stories of bravery, suffering, loss, embodiment, celebration, expression, trauma, joy. As I integrated the wisdom from this retreat into my daily life, I realized how essential it is for all of our stories to be told! I asked each woman to journal about her story of living wildly in our modern day society, and each woman’s journal response was used to inspire a painting in her honor. The paintings in this show “more shall be revealed” and “dear Wild Warrior - come as you are Beautiful and Brave” are inspired by two women, Jenny and Alexa, respectively. I hope that viewers of this collection are reminded of their innate wildness — the true essence that lives within each of us — and how essential it is to show up in this world authentically, fiercely and wildly. And that their story, too, demands to be told and deserves to be heard.
What role does color play in your art?
The colors you see in my current body of work come from a blend of 2+ colors, a ton of water, trust and intuition. I rarely have a color plan in mind — I trust if I’m called towards a color/color family, that is the direction I must follow. One of my favorite parts of my creative process is coming down to my studio in the morning to see how the colors communicated with each other overnight. I’m constantly moved by the story that color creates within a painting.
Just for fun! What's your favorite color?
My favorite color changes like my own cycles — and right now I am loving vibrant orange. And, always always always, gold. Gold brings me home to myself and my gold "stamps" have become a key element in my work.