By Shweta Mishra
Carrboro Commons Staff Writer
Today, “artist” may conjure up an image of a scruffy young hipster or slender punkette stylishly pursuing a possibly $60,000 MFA. In an art market where “supplies” may mean a skull made of 1,000 kg of kitchen utensils (“Very Hungry God”), a cast of a human skull lined with 8,601 diamonds (“For the Love of God”), hundreds of hired hands to do your work and subversive textbooks to supply your postmodern concepts, small-scale Carrboro artist Jeanmarie Griffin is a reminder of of the humble origins of art. She is all about community and small scale.
With her emphasis on recycling and reusing, she counters contemporary sculptors whose extravagant works, ironically, claim to mock modernity’s soulless consumption.
Born and raised in Minneapolis, MN, Griffin is now a fashion designer and tailor whose passion for reusing scrap materials led her to open A Remix Art Gallery, a tiny store on East Main Street in Carrboro, on May 19. She says her store features eclectic “green friendly” clothing, purses, jewelry, lamps and artwork designed and crafted by local artists using recycled material. From one stand dangles a set of earrings fashioned from bright green, yellow and orange Lego parts. These are the handiwork of Val Glaser, a Durham native whose multiple sclerosis has meant channeling her creative energy into miniaturist wonders. Glaser taught a workshop on making Lego earrings on Sept. 20. For $40, the public could spend two hours under Glaser’s tutelage and in close reach to assorted complementary wines and finger foods. The event takes place again on December 6.
Griffin began drawing as a child. She did this instead of paying attention in class, eventually deciding to make art instead of going to college, which culminated in 1990 with her national clothing line, Top Flight Fashions.
Griffin’s talent also ranges from portraits, landscapes and abstract paintings to sculpture, using media ranging from oils to charcoal to old textiles, including silks, linens, hemp, cotton, wool, or pieces of old leather products and even placemats. Griffin’s love of graphic arts is evident in the paintings adorning her store walls.
Griffin says her store is involved in community events like Carrboro’s 2nd Friday Artwalk . On Oct. 4, the public has an opportunity to make origami wind chimes with artist Dawn Maloney. Check out http://aremixartgallery.com for more information.