Anna Griffiths is a contemporary artist working in digital and traditional forms living in Ottawa. An early dance career lead to late university studies, a Master’s degree in English literature, two years teaching in Japan and a career in communications. Growing from childhood was also extensive self-directed art-making that eventually became a consistent practice and the focused outlet for her creative compulsions. During the two years she spent living in Japan, she was drawn to the humour and ironies of East Asian pop cultures, as well as the ideological tension that particularly defines Japan’s cultural paradoxes—between preservation and destruction, creative abandon and restraint, conformity and resistance—all of which inform her art practice today.
I use various media and approaches to explore themes like gender biases, regeneration and degeneration, and the often uneasy coincidence of alienation and self-possession that shapes our inner landscapes and external presentation. While my imagery is representational and imbued with personal narrative, I try to highlight the fragility of literal interpretation and universal questions about deriving meaning from polarization. Besides mainstream gender stereotypes, the distinctions I’m interested in compromising include realism and illusion, conscious and subconscious expression, strength and weakness, and playful imagery as antithesis to serious consideration and critical thinking. I relate very much to the concepts behind collage and creating new meaning through recontextualization. Exposing serendipitous links between seemingly disparate elements offers prolific options for cross-fertilization and harvesting/harmonizing the chaos in ways that embrace multiplicity and contradiction.
My current practice generally involves a process whereby I digitally manipulate and collage photographs and freehand drawings and paintings. This “tradigitalism” allows me virtually endless opportunities for invention and reinterpretation, and provides greater freedom to investigate the interplay between deliberate choice and happy accident, the potential of each element, and multiple conceptual and narrative layers.