Carol C Griffin
Celebrating the Beauty of Human and Edible Diversity
The female form is particularly inspiring for me. Since I began carving in 1989, I’ve wanted to represent women in all their glory: their strength, intelligence, beauty, and sensuality. I’ve sought to convey the feeling of women who are proud of themselves, no matter who they are or what they look like. I’ve wanted to show women in all their glorious ethnic diversity, as well as their various shapes, sizes, and ages.
When I’m working, I have in my heart a strong, proud, unafraid woman. She’s unashamed of her sexuality and her intelligence. She’s not a victim. I seek to convey these emotions.
As a girl, I didn’t see many ethnic examples of beauty in magazines or on television. I believe that all women have their own ethnic beauty. I often carve full, rounded figures with a range of ethnic features. I find these forms to be beautiful, perhaps not in the traditional European definition of beauty, but beautiful nonetheless.
I work as a direct carver because it’s an extremely creative way for me to work. Direct carving means I don’t use any models of what I intend to carve. Rather than having a clear idea of what I want a finished piece to look like, I allow the stone or wood to suggest and direct what I do as I work with it. A fissure in the stone or a knot in the wood might cause me to alter my path. I much prefer the subtractive nature of carving, as opposed to additive types of sculpture such as working with clay or found objects, because I enjoy the constraints that carving places upon me. Once I’ve made the decision to cut material away, I know that it cannot be added back, and that I must make the most beautiful figure that I can with what remains. Ironically, I find this constraint to be freeing, because it keeps me moving in a forward direction. That’s what my finished sculpture is: the physical embodiment of all my decisions since I began the piece, a true expression of everything behind those decisions -- my heart, feelings, and imagination.
Fresh produce also presents abundant diversity. The natural full, rounded shapes of vegetables, fruits, and gourds inspire my drawings, which always begin in a grocery store or farmer’s market. Something will catch my eye -- the whimsical shape of an heirloom tomato, the vibrant orange of a sweet pepper, the twisted form of a cubanelle pepper -- and the item comes home with me. In these drawings, I seek to capture fascinating volumes and structures. I make the produce plump and oversized.
I often include Asian articles and textiles in my still lifes. Ever since I studied Japanese business philosophies while I was in college, I developed a keen interest in Asian culture that exists to this day.
My hope is that the diversity I show in my artwork will be enjoyed by anyone who appreciates beauty in all of its natural forms.