Featured Artist: Xander Griffith
Today we welcome fiber artist Xander Griffith to our blog. Xander's work caught our attention at the Portland International Airport. It is vibrant and tactile and made with felt! We were instantly intrigued by his process and design aesthetic. When we contacted him, it turned out that he lives in our home town, Vancouver, Washington. In fact he lives very close to our studio. Small world right?
Deb met him at a local coffee shop and had a lively conversation about the business of being an artist. Here's how he answered some of our questions.
Mo23rd: A skilled artist’s hands and eyes work together in an incredible way to communicate something to the world. What do you most want to communicate through your work?
XG: I strive in all of my work to create a sense of urgency. I feel like it is the most raw energy of nature and I’m always captivated by it. The frantic energy of a squirrel hopping to food. The relentless movement of water down stream. Everything is urgently moving, growing and changing.
Mo23rd: What tools do you use that someone might not expect from a fiber artist?
XG: My style is always centered in improvisation. The less of an idea I can have at the start, the more rewarding the experience is for me. To that end, editing and revising my work continuously throughout is imperative. And the most effective way to take glued felt off of a canvas, a high powered heat gun. I keep it plugged in and ready to go during each piece I create.
Mo23rd: It seems that when people think of art, they most often think of paintings and sculptures. What made you decide to be a felt artist? What about this medium inspires you?
XG: There are advantages to every medium. With painting and sculpting you can get so detailed and convey far more nuance. The smallest picture can contain so much information. I love felt because no other textile seems as warm and inviting. It elevates the subject matter to new levels of whimsey simply by its use.
Mo23rd: Your work is on display at the Portland airport. What have you learned from this experience?
XG: Mainly that do not touch signs are viewed as a suggestion, not a request. This point illustrates how important touch can be to connect with my work. I’ve always wanted everything I make to be fully experienced and if that means a constant onslaught of hands that can’t resist poking at least one spiral, I’m okay with that.