Saturday, August 18, 2012

A Conversation with Abril Andrade Griffith

"Anka" 10 x 14" 2012 by Abril Andrade Griffith
"Anka" 10x14" 2012

The artwork of Abril Andrade Griffith, a self-taught artist from Chillicothe, Ohio, can be described as whimsical, dark, ornate, decorative, and emotive. Their is a sadness and fragile nature that strikes me the most about Griffith's artwork; you can see it in the eyes of her characters on canvas. She spoke with ArtSeen about her artwork and her artistic inspirations.

Can you tell us a little about your artwork, artistic background, and artistic processes?

My artwork is done with oils and, sometimes, acrylics. I like to work on wood surfaces but canvas is great too. Sometimes I sketch directly on to the canvas and other times on my sketch book first. Sometimes I start from nothing and see where that takes me. The eyes are the first thing I paint in many of my paintings.

I was always very active in drawing, especially on my text books. I remember drawing cartoon characters and taping all the drawings on my bedroom door. I didn't start painting till I was 16 years old. I took painting classes after school and I was always very excited to learn new things. A few years later I realize that painting was what I really wanted to do for a living. I moved to Spain to continue my studies. School didn't teach me what I actually do now, but it did help develop techniques and open my eyes to a whole new world of art. I consider myself self taught since I had to learn on my own how to paint the portraits I do now.

"Unappreciated" 20x30" 2011 by Abril Andrade Griffith
"Unappreciated" 20x30" 2011

What inspires you as an artist? Why do you create art?

Art is not my hobby. It is a necessity of my life, an act I do instinctively which makes each piece a reflection of myself. Every day things inspire my work; movies, people, events, memories, emotions, hurt, love, death, loss, hate. I am able to escape to a fantasy world when a brush is in my hand. I need to express my ideas and feelings through art. It’s hard to explain to people how art makes me feel. I don't see myself doing anything else. I see myself painting till the day I leave this world.

"Jolenta" 10x10" 2012 by Abril Andrade Griffith
"Jolenta" 10x10" 2012

What types of themes, ideas, or concepts do you explore within in your artwork?

My themes are usually dark/gothic with a touch of innocence, sad but beautiful and very emotional. A lot of people connect with my work and means different things to different people. I enjoy creating Dia de los Muertos inspired paintings to show a bit of my culture to everyone.

Are there any artists that inspire you?

My list changes from time to time but the following artists always remain.

Those I draw inspiration from include: my husband, Matt Griffith, who is also a painter and a professional tattoo artist. His work is beautiful and always amazes me. I have learned a lot from him and whenever I need help with something he is there to support me and lend me a hand. Frida Kahlo is one of my old time favorites. Her art and her life are a big influence in my work. She painted till the day she died, she lived for the arts and I connect with her a lot. I understand her love for painting. Colin and Sas Christian; I’ve been a big fan and follower of this couple. Their work and love for each other is beautiful and I hope to meet them in person one day.

"Night Creatures" 18x24" 2012 by Abril Andrade Griffith
"Night Creatures" 18x24" 2012

What do you think the role of the artist is?

To give visible or tangible form to feelings, dreams, and ideas. I bring viewers in to my world with each painting.

What projects or gallery shows would you consider career highlights or personally important to you as an artist?

Gallery shows are very important to me. It’s a way to build up your exhibition history and to get your work out to the public, not to mention meet a lot of awesome people. I try to be part of as many exhibitions I can manage. 

"My Conscience" 20x30" 2012 by Abril Andrade Griffith
"My Conscience" 20x30" 2012

And finally, what advice would you give to other artists?

Love what you do, enjoy painting, don’t force yourself to create or you will hate it.
Practice, practice, and more practice. Don't try to be the artist you look up to, be humble and accept there is much to learn. Create a portfolio. Promote your work. After all that is done, practice some more.  

"Corazon" 20x20" 2012 by Abril Andrade Griffith
"Corazon" 20x20" 2012

For more information about Abril Andrade Griffith and her artwork, you can visit her website, blog, Artfire store and Ebay for more details.

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