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By Denise Coffee
Special to The PREVIEW
Renowned Pagosa Springs artist Buster Griggs is one of the local talents currently featured in The ART of it ALL 2 — a national juried exhibition at SHY RABBIT Contemporary Arts.
This diverse, all media national juried exhibition features 90 original works of art by 46 emerging to nationally recognized artists from 15 U.S. states and is on display through Jan. 11.
Juror for the exhibition was D. Michael Coffee, curator and creative director, SHY RABBIT Contemporary Arts.
The range of artworks on display include: contemporary basketry, fiber, bronze and ceramic sculptures, collage, digital, hand-formed recycled stainless steel sculptures, mixed media, paintings, fine and re-purposed furniture, fine art prints, drawings, photography, assemblage, ceramics, wax-resist egg shells, fabric art quilts and glass, among others.
Among the lengthy roster of artists selected for display are several Pagosa Country residents, including: Sandy Applegate, Valentina Bezney, Todd Condon, Kathie Disner, Linda Echterhoff, Charla Ellis, Buster Griggs, Ursala Hudson, Ivy King, Susan Martin-Serra, Polly McLaughlin, Dee Pitchon and Clay Vyzralek.
Buster Griggs became a commercial artist while still in his teens and worked his way through school as a graphic artist.
He received a bachelor of arts degree in 1970, then started a career in advertising.
In 1971, “adventure called” and Griggs joined the U.S. Treasury Department as a sky marshal, a member of the original anti-air piracy team.
In 1973, he transferred to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration as a special agent. He was assigned to several locations in the U.S., but continued to paint and draw during his public service career.
Griggs retired from the DEA at Anchorage, Alaska, and renewed his art career on a full-time basis.
The focus of Griggs’ work is his love of the West. His paintings and drawings honor the history and grandeur of the mountains and plains, the Native Americans whose ancestors called it their home, and the pioneer families and cowboys who explored and settled in this beautiful country.
Upon discovering the call for entries for The ART of it ALL 2, Griggs’ wife, Karen, suggested that he create something a bit more contemporary — simply meaning “of the time” — to submit for juried consideration.
Much to his credit, Griggs took Karen’s suggestion to heart and created work that, for him, was truly “outside of the box.”
“Ghost Culture-Sisters” (oil and graphite) exemplifies the successful marriage of tradition and contemporary narrative, drawing the viewer in for thoughtful study and contemplation.
Griggs’ work is in private and public collections throughout the U.S. and Canada, including the collection of the Flying U Ranch, Canada’s largest and oldest guest ranch.
His original work for his print series “Tap Up and Go” was the first painting donated for display at the new DEA Academy at Quantico, Va.
SHY RABBIT is located at 333 Bastille Drive; two blocks north of U.S.160, off of North Pagosa Boulevard, and is open to the public daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at no charge.
For more information on SHY RABBIT, visit www.shyrabbit.com or call 731-2766. For more information on exhibitions, visit www.shyrabbit.com/Exhibits.html.