Interview with an artist - PETER GRIFFITHS

Can you describe your work to someone who may not be familiar with it?

I usually like to have a subject in the artwork I produce but this is a sort of device, a starting point. It helps to give the work boundaries. It also helps to give the viewer a point of connection to imagery that is partially abstracted. I work digitally, collecting, selecting and arranging visual details that I discover. Using digital processes mean that certain things such as physical scale become immaterial. These shifting values are something that interest me and I like to play with. I am currently combining digital drawing with hand-pulled screen printing as a way of creating and controlling the production and reproduction of the work.

What is your background as an artist?

I grew up in a house of creative makers and studied Sculpture (at Brighton Polytechnic) mainly so I could make things. I moved to Sheffield in 1983, and started painting and drawing. I have always experimented with materials and subjects. I took an MSc in Computer Studies in the 1990s as I was becoming interested in how technology could influence artistic practice. I have also always taken photographs but now they are an integral part of my work. For the last 7 years I have been looking at ways to make my work more accessible, affordable and available. I have been exploring methods of printmaking to do this.

What has been your inspiration for the current exhibition?

My interest in the role of subject in art is one of the key starting points for the development of this particular work. Subjects fall into different genres of interest and I had been looking at architecture, and thinking about landscape or cityscapes. I thought that city gardens as urban countryside would be interesting as a subject to explore.

Your work for this exhibition has been influenced by three city gardens – what made you choose these three in particular?

I chose the three Gardens because they were different; they had different histories, administrations, locations and scale of site. It made no sense to me to pick subjects that seemed to be the same. Yet I felt that there would be a certain kind of equality between them and that despite their different evolutions, plant forms have commonalities. I kind of like the fact that it is difficult to tell which garden each print is taken from. Sometimes the plants are the same, sometimes they are different plants but they have similarities.

Do you feel Sheffield is a good place to be an artist? Do you think the city has influenced your work?

There are a lot of artists and creativity in Sheffield and it can be a great place to live and work. Most local people once they get to see your work are very accepting of ideas and debate about the arts.

Our Ways of Making exhibitions form part of Making Ways, a new programme supported by Sheffield Culture Consortium through Arts Council England to showcase, celebrate and develop the exceptional contemporary visual art produced in the city.