Photography by Amani Sodiq.

David Griffin’s journey from the dust-covered landscapes of West Texas to celebrated galleries and exhibitions around the world is a tale of passion, perseverance and a profound connection to the land. A distinguished painter known for his vivid portrayals of landscapes, Griffin has etched his name into the world of contemporary Western art with his unique vision and masterful execution.

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“I was going to all these ranches and just working with cowboys … My grandfather was a cowboy,” Griffin says.

 This deep-seated connection to the cowboy life and the landscapes of West Texas laid the groundwork for Griffin’s initial foray into the world of art, focusing on documenting the cowboy’s life through his paintings.

However, Griffin’s artistic journey took a pivotal turn when he decided to remove the cowboy from his compositions, shifting his focus entirely to the landscapes that had always been the backdrop to his narratives. 

“I started doing landscapes in order to develop a new artistic voice … finding really where my basic core artistic values are. And that’s with the land, the dirt,” he says. 

This transition gave him a distinct identity in the vast realm of Western art, driven by his intimate knowledge and love for the land.

Griffin’s landscapes are not just depictions of place; they are explorations of the essence of the American West, capturing the beauty of its vast skies and rugged terrains. His works capture the beauty in the often overlooked or unremarkable, such as the deserts of West Texas or the arid landscapes of New Mexico. 

Griffin finds magic in these places, a magic rooted in the dirt and the dust, a reflection of his own beginnings and a metaphor for life itself.

His work has been featured in the magazines Cowboys and Indians, Victoria, The Dallas Morning News, Western Art Collector, Western Art and Architecture, and Southwest Art (with a cover and feature in October 2013). 

In 2020, Griffin was selected as a Texas Centennial Artist for the Bullock Museum, an opportunity that allowed him to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of Texas State Parks through his paintings. This project not only highlighted his contributions to Texas heritage but also offered him a platform to explore and paint various state parks, further cementing his bond with the land. 

“I got to be around some really interesting artists … and then to explore Texas in a more detailed way,” Griffin shares.

Griffin’s involvement in the Coors National Western Art Exhibition, where he was the Featured Artist in 2022, underscores his significant presence in the Western art world. This long-term engagement has been instrumental in shaping his identity as an artist, offering him invaluable opportunities to connect with other artists and collectors, and fostering relationships that have nurtured and inspired his creativity.

Whether he’s capturing the serene beauty of Big Bend or the rugged majesty of Palo Duro Canyon, Griffin immerses himself in the environment to capture not just the visual splendor of these places but also their emotional and spiritual essence.

 “I have to be in a location that inspires me … I have to be present,” he says. 

As someone who has navigated the challenges and triumphs of the art world, Griffin offers sage advice to emerging artists: find a community, trust yourself and embrace failure as a teacher. 

“Talent comes after a lot of hard work.”