Carne Griffiths striking portraits composed with Whisky, Vodka, Tea and Ink

Posted by David Smith on 22nd February 2013

Uk bassed illustrator and contemporary artist Carne Griffiths creates amazing portraits of individuals and combined with fantasy elements with uncommon mediums, notably materials such as wisky, tea, and brandy. His artwork explore the human and geometric in abstract form and focus around the artists response to situations he faces in his normal routines. In advance of his new release "Unity" on Rise Art, we sat down with the artist to discuss his work.

Carne Griffiths at work in his studio

What got your practice started?

Carne Griffiths:
I got into the fine art scene after 12 years working as an embroidery designer.  I was hungry to express myself creatively again and to find out what would happen if I drew for a year. I loved it and haven't looked back

Whats the story behind your use of calligraphy inks in your work?

CG: I love fountain pens - I went through my whole degree using 2 wh smith plastic dinosaur pens - they were basic tools and I drew with 2 colours of ink.. they took a bit of abuse along the way but they are the tools of my trade - nothing flashy but there is something beautiful about the flow of ink from a fountain pen that you don't get from other equipment.

Unity by Carne Griffiths

Why do you use liquids such as Tea and Vodka to produce your work - Do you notice a difference?

CG: It's an ongoing experimentation - I like unconventional materials and their use normally begins as an accident or a 'what will happen if'  alcohol has a strange effect on water based inks - it repels and drags pigment deep into the paper and it's nice to have a tipple on the go when you are working in the winter.  Tea was a substitute for brandy originally - but then I discovered interesting things that happened when working with boiling liquids - different surface textures and effects.

Who or what have you sacrificed for your art?

CG: I suppose the biggest sacrifice is time with my new family - If I worked a 9-5 it would somehow seem easier, I think, but I feel like a traitor walking out the door every morning, leaving my wife with the twins - they are coming up to 6 months and I just want to spend every moment with them but at the same time I am passionate about what I do so it is all about striking a balance.

Beautiful Decay by Carne Griffiths

What work of art would you most like to own?

I would love to own a piece of Masson's work or a powerful piece like Picasso's Guernica that has such important historical context - it represents a specific moment or time in history something which can never be replaced or repeated.

What song would you have become the soundtrack to your life?

I'd need an album for different periods - things are slower and more contemplative now, I would elect Max Richter right now - a collection of small abstract moments like his 24 postcards.

What's in store for 2013?

Lots going on in 2013 and I'm delighted that I have the opportunity to show work overseas.  January saw work at the London art fair with Inkd gallery and February sees a host of shows - 3 in Hong Kong at Above Second Gallery with the Fantastic Coates and Scarry, and at AAF Hong Kong then a solo show deep in Ashdown forest with Ashdown Gallery.

Carne's work can be seen on Rise Art with his new release Unity available from February 22nd. Carne's work is available on Rise Art starting from £250.