Art as Therapy with David Griggs

David Griggs explores the darker side of life through his artworks, often drawing on political imagery, underground media, conspiracy theories, local crime histories and personal experiences.

Griggs’ current exhibition at GAG Projects, Horror Business, is a personal exploration into the dark side. “I consider the works in the show to be primal, violent, comedic, sublime and honest,” Griggs says. Griggs has spent the last six years living and working in Manila. He first travelled there in 2005 for an Asialink residency, not knowing anything about Manila or the Philippines or their art scene. At the time Griggs wasn’t feeling stimulated in Australia, so he was excited to discover Manila’s vibrant contemporary art scene. “I felt a connection with the way people were painting, especially some of the young emerging artists.” Griggs’ painting style has evolved thanks to living in a fast-paced city such as Manila. “In terms of my work, what has changed or developed from living here is a sense of looseness and freedom in the way I apply the paint. In that same looseness and freedom there is a silent fury: I’m more aggressive, I’m faster,” he says.

david-Griggs-Art-As-Therapy_Adelaide-Review-2016-greenaway-gallery-art-project-south-australian-artistDavid Griggs, ‘Dream the universe lie’, 2016, oil on canvas 61x51cm

Horror Business is a personal exhibition for Griggs. After recovering from a di fficult few months he didn’t know what to paint when he returned to the studio. He hadn’t been focussing on his practice, so, instead of forcing himself to paint a subject, he decided to just paint to see what would happen. “It’s a simple approach really, I was painting directly from the irrational; my irrationality was a way to explore how to even out the duality of man and explore painting as a primal need for myself,” he says. Through the process of creating this series, Griggs has learnt a lot about himself, sourcing inspiration from his journal where he recorded his dark and morbid thoughts. The process of creating the works is the most important thing for Griggs and in this instance he is using art as therapy. “The process of painting really helped me. I was not only letting out my emotions and demons but I was also seeing that I can accomplish something in my life every day, even if it’s only a few hours of painting.”

david-Griggs-Art-As-Therapy_Adelaide-Review-2016-greenaway-gallery-art-project-south-australian-artistDavid Griggs, ‘Hi I’m David, Australian guy. (…)’, 2016, oil on canvas, 130 x 115cm

While half the works in the exhibition have a very dark palette, with a sense of a Gothic aesthetic, the other half of the works are more colourful and vibrant reflecting Griggs’ moods. “It’s a strange thing for me to see, looking at the palette and the subject matter, that my moods show up in the paintings,” he says. “It’s only really on a deep level that I can understand but I am sure the audience can also feel it in the work.” Griggs often writes himself notes for his projects as a guide to remind himself of his original ideas. For this series he wrote: “DONT TRUST YOUR BRAIN – REBEL MUSIC”. David Griggs Horror Business GAG Projects Friday, May 13 to Sunday, June 12 Header image: David Griggs, ‘Scorpion wash’, 2016, Oil on canvas, 130 x 115cm

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