Art has the profound ability of touching the viewer in ways that goes beyond the imagination of the artist. Often touching the audience on an emotional human level, a journey of reflection and often contemplation.
Caryn Griffin is a painter, a realist who specialises in portraiture. She had been painting for almost six years now. She has had an obsession with oil paints and has begun to mix acrylic and spray paint and taking her art into a new direction.
‘Painting for me is a process of figuring out why something intrigues me. It is through the act of actually painting I figure out what I am doing and who I am painting, I get to know my subject better,’ Caryn said.
‘Once I finish painting, there is a period of reflection. I think back on what I’ve actually just done and that resolves it for me. It’s about capturing things that really interest me.’
Recently, Caryn has started to paint the people that she knows. She will have the camera set on continuous shooting, while her subject talks, walks around the room feeling relaxed. She wants her sitter relaxed and un-posed, doing what they usually do.
‘From there, I will play with the images on Photoshop, distorting and changing the image and seeing it in a different perspective. Then I will do a little scribble on a piece of paper and then take it to the canvas,’ Caryn said.
It took Caryn two years to ask her friend Emma, who was the inspiration behind the piece titled, King Emma, for the ‘She’ exhibition to mark International Women’s Week.
‘It is more of a challenge to paint someone that I know than to paint an image that doesn’t matter to me, that’s partly because I know that person so well. I can express more of them and I really want to capture them in the right way,’ Caryn said.
‘At first, they get really startled that I asked them, they are quite surprised as to why I have chosen them. It’s really nice seeing the end result and seeing how I have seen them in a different way to paint them.’
Caryn finds herself inspired by people or ideas that capture her interests that makes her want to explore it further. She is also inspired by other artists, artists who use a lot of colour, work that’s different to hers, quirky people.
‘The people who I know really inspire me because I can relate to them and I can explore their process and I can talk to them. It’s not about the big things, more about what is in my everyday life,’ Caryn said.
After all these years, art has become a form of meditation for Caryn, a time for her to create, to be with herself, to reflect, to sit quietly with her thoughts or even the silence and do a painting.
‘It’s definitely therapeutic for myself and I also see it affect others around me in a way. My friends are artists who haven’t practiced in ages, they have started to paint alongside of me, after we converted the garage into a studio. They say they feel so much better for doing it,’ Caryn said.
Art Therapy is a fairly new concept that is slowly being recognised as an effective alternative way of dealing with issues that we might be facing, as opposed to the traditional method of verbalising feeling.
‘It provides people with a distraction to their problems while they are creating and then problems arise automatically that can come out on paper,’ Caryn said.
Caryn believes in the importance of collaboration within the creative community. Having collaborated quite a bit with an artist called Bill Brown, in Canberra and in Berlin when Caryn was an art student.
‘It helps to connect with people but also to get an idea of how someone creates and their perspective on art and life,’ Caryn said.
‘It teaches you to let go of your perfectionisms and just trust in the other person. If it is destroyed by someone else going over you, than that’s fine.’
Her collaboration with Bill Brown was part of Art Month in Canberra. Bill works really well with colour, his abstracted style and Caryn’s realist style really complimented each other.
‘We had three canvases going at the same time, one really large one and two smaller ones. We mixed it up between all three of them, whichever we felt like painting on, we just went with it,’ Caryn said.
‘It was like do what you wanted to do, if you wanted to ruin that section, we would just go ahead and do it, we didn’t hold back on it.’
Caryn has had her work exhibited at university and has also helped organise exhibitions with her friends. She has had a solo show at the Gaffa Gallery in the city and exhibitions in Berlin. She has also been involved in a number of group exhibitions.
‘All of my work tends to focus on people and portraiture. I find people so interesting and everyone is so different and there is always more material to work form,’ Caryn said.
For International Women’s Week, Caryn had two pieces exhibited at the Create or Die studio in Marrickville. One was a portrait of her friend Emma titled, King Emma. After getting past the personal boundary, she painted herself.
‘Emma is wearing a crown, symbolic of empowerment and I called her King Emma, it gets people to think and reflect,’ Caryn said.
Caryn’s work has the amazing ability of drawing you in at a particular aspect of the piece. Her art is really relatable and accessible and it’s not conceptual, which requires little thought which also adds to her accessibility.
‘I want the viewer to get positivity from my work, but also to be moved in themselves for whatever reason or read into it in whatever way they like,’ Caryn said.
Caryn is hoping to expand and meet more people and do some shows down in Melbourne. She also hopes to collaborate more and she is beginning to get more experimental, moving into video stop motion and art.
‘This year is going to be really creative. It’s really inspiring to be in a new place, it’s a fresh start and it pushes me to always improve myself and do better work,’ Caryn said.
To find out more about Caryn you can visit her website www.caryn-griffin.com she is also a big lover of Instagram @caryngriffinartist, you can also catch her at exhibitions, as she is always doing those.
Caryn is really approachable and happy to have a chat, say hello, you may find yourself sitting in front of her camera inspiring her next painting.
‘I hate a blank canvas, I need to destroy it and get rid of it and just start again. That’s the way for me, to ruin the canvas and just start from scratch,’ Caryn said.
‘All creative people should just create what they feel naturally inclined to create. Don’t be too hard on yourself, don’t put too much pressure on yourself and create what you feel like painting.’