Carren's Pitch

Life by Design

I am constantly amazed at the different media artists find. Here, James was able to turn unwieldy tar into something lyrically beautiful. 

Text and additional photography by: Carren Jao
Edited by: Drew Tewksbury
Published: 16 Apr 2013, Artbound

Oil. The world runs on it. Despite major inroads in sustainable energy sources, it still powers about 80% of our systems. Though unquestionably an integral part of the modern world, fossil fuels were borne out of ancient animal remains. This tension between past and present within this unusual medium is what keeps artist James Griffith coming back.

"When I thought of tar as a material, I loved it because on one hand it is this primordial goo. At the same time, it's at the heart of the whole environmental problem. It has a contemporary quality and but also an incredibly ancient timeline quality. I just love that," says Griffith, as he sits in his Altadena studio, surrounded by his artworks, which will soon form the body of his solo show at the El Camino College Art Gallery. [read more]


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