Artist Spotlight: Vincent Griffin

From photography to music and collage, Vincent Griffin is a jack-of-all-trades artist. “I get bored,” he laughs, “So, I always have a lot of things going on.”

A North Little Rock native, Griffin began creating at a young age. He remembers having a piece up at the Arkansas Art Center when he was only in the third grade. He points to countless support from his family and mentors as he says, “My interest was always nurtured.”

In college, he tried to harbor his artistic spark by studying design. “It had to do with looking at zines and that kind of culture when I was growing up, wanting to make things like that. I felt like it was the only real tangible way that I could make a living doing something artistic. I was super interested in painting but I didn’t think that was a viable option.”

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Since then Griffin has worked various design jobs, but he continues to create in his spare time. For instance, he is currently working on making music for Minor Arcs, a band which includes friends Matthew Putman, David Huff, Lee Actkinson.

He says, “It’s sample based. We send each other samples and try to make songs that way.” You can catch a few of the tunes on Shoog Radio, but don’t worry, they plan on releasing it to the masses soon enough.

Music isn’t new to Griffin, as he first began playing in garage bands when he was in high school. He’s been involved in various projects including American Tourist and Bear Colony. Even when it comes to music, Griffin likes to try everything, playing guitar, keyboard, bass, and even singing and writing.

Often the music he creates is the result of tragedy. He says, “The first Bear Colony album, I was misdiagnosed with Crohn’s disease … basically all I could do was sit in my room and strum a guitar. So that’s what I did, that’s how I wrote that album.”

The second comes from losing his mother to cancer. “Making albums like that is a way to unload,” he explains, “you just pack all this stuff into them.”

Music alone can’t quite keep Griffin occupied, and he dabbles in collage making, as well. He says, “I think I’m a collector. I think that’s why collage is so fun to me because there’s a lot of history to it. … It’s like storing information for a later date, if that makes sense.”

Plus, there’s something satisfying and intimate about tearing things up and putting them back together again. It’s therapeutic. His advice to everyone – “Get off the computer and go buy some stuff and make something with your hands.”

Human anatomy is a theme throughout his pieces. “I really like messing with how we view the body with collage. A lot of my collage will have abstracted body parts. I think they’re kind of dark, but I’m not sure,” he laughs.

For an artist who jumps from one medium to another often, Griffin has serious discipline. For instance, he participated in a drawing a day challenge that was supposed to last for a year, for a total of three. “I would schedule thirty minutes a day for it in the beginning … If I missed doing a drawing, I genuinely missed it.”

Currently, though, Griffin has turned toward photography. From film to digital, both have his attention.

He’s cautious to call himself a photographer, although he’s had experience with the medium as far back as college. He cites the greats like Henri Cartier-Bresson among his inspiration, although he is quick to say his style isn’t quite street photography.

“I just document. I document the people I know, places, happenstances, absurdities. The other day I photographed a trashcan that had been hit by a car and somebody wrote ‘ouch’ on it. When things like that align, I try to catch it,” he explains.

He hopes to one day release zines of his photographs, so keep your eyes peeled.

In the meantime, Griffin will keep creating and chasing his inspiration in whatever form it may take. Check out some of his collage and photo work here and here.

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Artist Spotlight: Vincent Griffin