Ralph Griffin (1925-1992) - Folk Art
In 1925, Ralph Griffin was born in Girard, Georgia. With his wife, Loretta, he settled in the rural community of Girard and raised six children. He worked as a janitor and at a variety of other jobs. Griffin said, "The boll weevils did all the work," on his family's cotton farm and that he went "bankrupt" because of them. So he quit farming when he was thirty and started to travel, taking construction jobs. "I had to work to bring up the kids," he explains, "But I ended up right back in Girard, Georgia, as a janitor for Murray Biscuit Company." Griffin worked at that company for twenty-three years.
In the late 1970's he began scavenging roots and weathered tree trunks and using black, white or red paint to turn them into sculpture like creatures. The roots that contained what he called "deep feeling" invariably came from Poplar Root Branch. Griffin seldom altered the pieces of found wood he discovered there. He believed those roots dated to "back in Noah's time" and had "come through water" to the present day.
His work is in the permanent collections of many museums including the Birmingham Museum of Art, McDuffie, and the Rockford Art Museum.