Larry W. Griffis Jr. (1924-2000) made a name for himself as one of the most prolific artists to ever live in Buffalo. His legacy lives on, via his impressive sculptural works in the city, at Griffis Sculpture Park, and throughout the world. Locally, you may be familiar with Spirit of Womanhood along the Scajaquada Expressway, and Birds Excited Into Flight on Bidwell Parkway.
These days, Larry’s grandson, Tyler Griffis, is doing his best to honor his grandfather’s legacy. Not only was Tyler happy to help deliver a Griffis Sculpture Park work to the Outer Harbor – called Flatman – he’s also been experimenting with welding processes that can be attributed to Larry himself.
“This latest commissioned sculpture of a buffalo was done using a process that Larry coined right here in Buffalo,” said Tyler. “It’s quarter inch armature stack round rod, and is the foundation of Larry’s earlier sculptural works – examples can be found at the Griffis Sculpture Park on the outskirts of the city. I’ve been trying to work this process into every sculpture as a tribute to Larry and his vision for art as it relates to Buffalo.
“It’s a laborious style, but there’s nothing else like it. This buffalo sculpture took two of us about 600 hours to complete. My business partner/welder Phil Cunningham worked right alongside me throughout the process. To me, the whole 3D armature effect is so much more exciting – you’re not living in a flat world, you’re living in a 3D world. I’m so happy to be following in my grandfather’s footsteps… it’s both fun and intriguing.”
Currently, Griffis and Cunningham are working on establishing welding classes at Essex Art Center, where the community will be able to learn the tricks of the trade. More on that coming soon.
Get connected: Essex Welding at Essex Art Center | 28 Essex St, Buffalo, NY 14213 | (716) 667-2808