Denny Griffith, the current president of CCAD, comes into work every day and oversees the college’s growth and development, but when he leaves his office at the end of a long day he steps into another room, his studio.
Griffith sat down at his interview with me smiling and before I could even begin asking him about his upcoming exhibition, he said, “First, let’s talk about you… how are you doing?”
This showcases the kind of individual the president is. He is aware of his surroundings, his position, and most importantly his peers. He is an active artist and this shows a vivid connection between him and not only the arts, but the community.
In the early 1990s, Griffith began a series of abstract paintings and also started to experiment with a new material, melted beeswax.
“I mix the beeswax with oil paint to create this rich texture and coloring,” said Griffith.
In his current exhibition, Microscopy, he takes a look at microscopic images of cells in an abstract art form. The show comprises approximately 24 pieces, which are all new works done within the last two years.
His inspiration came from his personal life. He received some troubling news when he found out his dad had been diagnosed with leukemia.
“I came across images of leukemic cells and saw how much the slides looked like interesting little paintings,” he said.
His continual artistic reference to the microscopic world became a source of endless inspiration for him when he was most concerned for his father.
“It amazes me that something so devastating can be portrayed into something so beautiful,” Griffith said.
Griffith was born in Delaware County and moved to Detroit with his family at a young age. When time came to look for a college, he chose the city of Delaware and his father’s alma mater, Ohio Wesleyan University.
He received his bachelor of fine arts from Ohio Wesleyan and went on to receive a master of fine arts from The Ohio State University.
“Never would I have dreamed that I would be a president of a college, but I always wanted to be working and making a living in the arts, and I am,” Griffith said.
When asked why he stays active in his art making, his eyes sparkle and he answers with a degree of passion.
“Art is a self directed journey and I go back to the saying that it is about the journey and not the destination,” he said.
“Being active in my art shows the people at CCAD that I am not only their president, but a peer. I give them reassurance that I am connected to the arts and I am a part of their community.”
Not only does the president maintain his active artistic lifestyle, but he continually supports the staff and faculty to remain active.
“I encourage my staff and faculty to remain active in the arts, for a professor it is part of their research, it shows the community we have a direct and engaged connection .”
Griffith has been included in more than 90 solo and group exhibitions and is represented in many public and private collections. He is also represented by the Hammond Harkins Galley in Columbus.
Microscopy an exhibition of oil and encaustic paintings will be shown at Ohio Wesleyan University in the Richard M. Ross Art Museum, 60 South Sandusky St. in Delaware, Ohio from Sept. 29–Nov. 13, 2011. There is a reception for the artist, Friday, Sept. 30, 7–9 p.m.
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