Georgia Griffin is a self-taught artist working primarily in acrylic and oil. She also enjoys exploring clay, resin, and assemblage works, writing, and photography. A long-time resident of South Texas, Georgia’s studio is just a couple miles from the gulf.
Georgia is back at work on a series she started in 2018 called “Sovereigns of the Sea.” The series grew out of an amusing little sketch she did for her grandson, Alex, of a fish in a gown. Very soon she was researching official portraits of past royals and reimagining them through a chimerical lens. Gradually that lens showed Georgia an array of colorful characters in a world where semi-anthropomorphic sea creatures are the sovereigns of days gone by; aquatic nobles surveying their dominions on dry land but never far from their seas. These subjects are rendered in what Georgia calls whimsical surrealism, a style that allows her to share a wink with the viewer.
That brings us to Dom João Hipocampo I, Johnny Rei to his friends. Fresh off Georgia’s easel, this portrait shows Dom João I as a vibrant golden seahorse cloaked in a cape the rich blue of Portugal’s famous azulejos (tiles). The 10th and longest-reigning King of Portugal (1385-1433), Dom João I established the Aviz dynasty and vanquished Castile, thus guaranteeing Portugal’s continued independence.