The Road to Home: Artist James Griffin at JCPL

Your Library is hosting The Road to Home, an exhibit featuring the paintings of award-winning local artist James Griffin. The artwork is displayed in our Galleria through October 31, so stop by and view it next time you’re at the Library.

Upcoming Events with James Griffin

Along with the exhibit, we are holding two events with Griffin in October.

On Friday, October 14, we’re hosting a reception and book signing for him in our Galleria from 4-6 p.m. Griffin, who is author of “The Road to Home: Art and Essays of James Griffin”, will talk about his work and sign copies of his book. Stop by to view Griffin’s paintings, meet him, and enjoy refreshments.

Griffin’s beautiful book features his paintings and written reflections about life, art, and the artistic process. According to Peppertree Press, it “showcases James’ beautiful gallery work and his sometimes humorous, insightful and intimate essays.”

Griffin, who has been painting for over 50 years, will also lead a painting workshop at the Library on Saturday, October 22 from 1-5 p.m. Griffin will teach his landscape painting techniques. Participants must register; call (423) 434-4454 or visit the Library’s Information Desk on the second floor to sign up.

No prior painting or drawing experience is necessary, but attendees are encouraged to bring their own paint brushes and a photo of a landscape, building, or road for inspiration. The Library will supply all other materials.

Call (423) 434-4454 or visit for more information about Griffin’s upcoming reception and painting workshop.

About James Griffin

Griffin has been an artist for over 50 years. He graduated from Pratt Institute with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1972. For 45 years, Griffin painted illustrations for almost 4,000 paperback book covers, which have sold millions of copies. His paintings appear in collections worldwide and he is represented by galleries across the U.S.

James Griffin on the Artistic Life

We got to talk with Griffin recently about his artistic evolution and process.

Johnson City Public Library: What led you to become an artist? What motivated you to create?

James Griffin: I was raised in a family of five children, all of whom were clamoring for attention, as kids do. I found quiet time drawing and painting not only soothing and fun, but it was something I could that my siblings couldn’t. As I became better at it, I learned there was a profession called being an artist. I was 10 when I decided that’s what I would be.


JCPL: How do you describe your style? How has your style evolved throughout your career?

Griffin: My style has evolved over my long career, but realism has always been part of it, even if lurking in the background. The real world is my inspiration, as are dreams. I have left behind the confines of straight realism though. I am now painting more expressively, blending abstraction into my compositions.


JCPL: Your book includes essays side-by-side with your paintings. How do you feel the two artistic expressions complement each other?

Griffin: I have always enjoyed writing, so when I realized that people were very curious about the workings of the artist’s mind, I began writing and sending out email newsletters. I would add paintings I had recently created or that went with my story. These became more involved as time went on until I decided to compile 40 of these essays into a book. It took almost two years to edit and rewrite the chapters.

The art world seems impenetrable to most people. Artists seem to think that talking about what they do and why is a taboo of some kind. The public is supposed to just respond to the paintings and figure it out. I, on the other hand, like to have a dialogue with my public. I want to de-mystify the process of making art. I believe everyone would benefit from exercising their creativity.


JCPL: How does being a painter affect how you see and experience the world?

Griffin: I am always observing people, landscapes, light, shadow, and all the intricacies of the world. Being an observer means you are slightly removed from what you’re looking at. However, really looking at our surroundings, seeing the connections, the textures and colors, is maybe the best way to live life fully.

Click here to find engaging programs for adults at your Library. Visit, call (423) 434-4450, or drop by 100 West Millard Street to use Johnson City Public Library. Like Johnson City Public Library on Facebook and Instagram to receive daily updates on Library collections, services, and programs.

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