Senior shows off art via social media


Nick Wood

FOCUSED ON HIS SKETCH: Senior Holden Griffith works in a sketchbook during one of his art classes at Bowie. Griffith has been expanding his techniques in art from a young age, and recently has been doing commissions. He regularly posts his artwork on his Instagram @leoisaki.

Sophia Sanchez, Feature Editor

Paint brush in hand senior Holden Griffith puts the finishing touches on his new piece of art.

From a young age, Griffith has had an eye for the arts and discovered his favorite techniques through years of experimentation. 

“Art’s been a part of my life for as long as I can remember,” Griffith said. “I was first introduced to painting by my Mom and my Nana as a kid, and developed an affinity for pencil and pen through doodling and sketching while at school over the years.”

According to Griffith, the beginning of junior year of high school was where he found comfort in his artistic abilities after returning to in-person school. 

“Online school really made me loathe the idea of sitting at a desk all day on a computer for work,” Griffith said. “Combined with my already low GPA, I couldn’t really imagine myself pursuing anything academic related at all in my future after a whole year of zoom calls. I started doing art of media I was interested in and quickly found that people Online liked the things I could make, which provided a lot of external motivation for me.”

Griffith’s’ new found motivation in his art continued to grow as he progressed through the Bowie art program.

“Holden is a student who is open to feedback about the artwork,” art teacher Mindy Le Jeune said. “It shows an advanced level and critiques artwork at a high level. His strong suit is incorporating fluid ideas to create a composition of movement.”

According to Griffith, the Bowie art program has contributed a huge amount to his current projects and his overall progress as an artist.

“I’ve always been encouraged to do my best and try new things by teachers like Ms. Dubois and Le Jeune,” Griffith said. “The learning style is pretty free range, they tell you the assignments and guidelines but lets students explore their own styles and methods.”

Griffith’s’ talents have been acknowledged by many of his teachers but also among his friends and family.

“I love how detailed his art is,” senior Kamryn Delgado said. “I always love to zoom in on his art with pictures he sends me because there’s always something hidden. It’s super interesting to see what his mind comes up with because he’s not afraid to do something different.”

Griffith did not put this talent to waste and has been shipping art commissions all over the world, the most recent one reaching Greece. Griffith feels that the moments before starting a new piece of art is his most favorite part of the experience.

“When approaching a new design or illustration, I like to think of the specific visual design language I’ll be communicating to the viewer,” Griffith said. “Say a client wants me to draw a character, I’ll start with the basic questions before I move on to the design process. What are his values? What has he been through, and how can I communicate this? These questions can be asked of anything, and answering them is both the most enjoyable and important part of art for me.”

Art is a form of self-expression for many, and Griffith has used it to navigate complex situations and emotions.

“I feel Holden’s relationship with his art is deeply personal,” Le Jeune said. “His artwork is complex and enriched with deeper meaning and backstory. It is integrated and complex while creating movement throughout each part of the work.”

Over the years many artists pick up different mediums such as clay and various types of paint. According to Griffith, recently he has been straying from his typical art styles to explore different mediums. 

“I specialize in ink and watercolor-based art, but I’ve recently been expanding my mediums to include more graphite, acrylic, and colored pencils,” Griffith said. “Ink and watercolor feel very natural to me. The flow of the liquids feels set in stone, like its natural law, which relieves a lot of the stress and pressure of my art process which in turn makes the whole process more enjoyable for me.”

Expanding mediums can be a difficult task for artists especially when transitioning from working with the same materials for years. Griffith’s’ time and effort put into his art does not go by unnoticed. 

“I am just more and more amazed with each new piece he shows me,” Griffith’s mom Mary Griffith said. “He has just grown and grown over the years. I am so proud of him for having the confidence to put his art out into the world which has been received with an immense amount of fanfare.”

Holden feels that his growth has been prominent in recent years, but at times art can still be a difficult task to complete.

“For me, the most problematic part of being an artist is the art block,” Holden said. “It happens to everyone who creates things, and when it comes around it can be really demoralizing. You start to feel like you can’t do something that normally comes naturally right, it can get really disorienting and I can’t work to my full potential during these periods.”

Though frustrating, art blocks can provide goals for improvement and progress. 

“There’s hundreds of things I want to improve on,” Holden said. “I want cleaner lines, my art to be more neat, to understand how colored pencils work, and lot’s of other nitpicks. I think improvement is one of those things I’ll never be satisfied with. There’s always more things to draw, better art to make, ways for me to improve upon my abilities.”

The art world provides many career opportunities and Holden has received support through teachers and mentors over the years.

“My hope is that he always continues to stretch himself artistically,” Mary said. “That he finds a career or avenue in life that allows him to share his gift with the world.”

Holden has been offered multiple scholarships for college, but according to Holden, no goal can be set in stone for his art. He feels as long as his art stays true to himself he can never be unhappy with his creations.

“I hope to continue to create art for as long as I’m alive,” Griffith said. “I don’t really have a special talent or anything, I’ve just found something I like and practiced a lot, and I’d like to continue to do so. It means a lot to me, and I don’t really know what I’d be doing now or ever if not drawing.”