- by firstname.lastname@example.org
- February 9th, 2014
Tony Griffith has a favorite spot along a hiking trail in the San Jacinto Mountains near Idyllwild, California. A snow melt-fed creek converges with a ground spring to form petite waterfalls and pools. This place is a symbol of renewal and the complex synergy found in nature. Perhaps it is the calm-inducing trickle of falling water or the serenity of the high-mountain stillness that causes Tony to stop his travail up the mountain and rest awhile. Or maybe Tony is compelled to slow down and take it all in because he was born with an innate reverence for beauty. Whatever the catalyst for the artist’s meditative pause, the point is that he rests, meditates – then continues on.
Griffith likens his trips to the San Jacinto Mountains to Zen-like experiences. Much of his work, including the Buddha Creek Series, has been inspired from his mountain visits and he explains, “The abstract landscape oriented composition of the work combines the vast mountain vistas (The background), with the granite boulders and outcroppings defining the immediate intimate spaces (The foreground). The southwest-inspired colors used in the compositions are fueled by the mood, lighting, time of day, scenic orientation, energy and peacefulness inherent in the Zen-like experience of each visit.”
Tony continues, “Space and texture coexist on the same picture plane, inviting the viewer to transcend through solid rock; a metaphor for our journey across life’s obstacles and our struggle with mortality.” The parallels between his physical experience and the power of his artwork are notable: first, Griffith transcends time and space as he travels up the mountain, then as he pauses to rest and meditate on his surroundings, he pushes through the barriers of the common human experience (the binding tethers of the daily grind). He then creates abstract paintings based on his experiences in nature, and it is through those paintings that the viewer is granted access into a journey that if only for a moment, takes the viewer over the obstacles of life and the ever-present consciousness of one’s own mortality.
This is one of the boundless powers of art – its incomparable ability to take us out of our present reality
and gently transfer us to a place of enlightenment and freedom.
Griffith has pursued art personally since the 1980’s and professionally since 2001, specifically after the attacks on 9/11. He needed an outlet to ‘vent his angst’ and connect with the world on a social and visible basis. Over the years, he has learned that art is an ideal medium for moving people on a ‘visceral, spiritual and esthetic level,’ and he employs sensory elements and dynamic principles of art to shift his internal experiences into the visual art form.