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2005 Artist of the Year JUSTIN GAFFREY

Creativity comes in all shapes, sizes and styles. Walking through 2005 South Walton Artist of the Year Justin Gaffrey’s studio gives you a glimpse into the mind of an artist. Canvases, jugs of paint, bent pieces of metal, props and projects in various stages of completion inhabit the studio space.

Gaffrey’s family came to South Walton in 1980. In the early days, he found his calling building furniture and behind the stove, where as a chef he put his creativity to use as the chef and owner of Café Sublime.

Looking for another way to channel his creativity, Gaffrey began painting. His early works were folksy in nature and drew inspiration from local folk artist Woodie Long and the New Orleans Voodoo culture.

“Southern folk art was really popular at the time, and they would use the material that was around them to make art, so I kinda followed into that for a bit,” he says.

Travel has a way of imparting influence in your soul, and during his travels Gaffrey was enamored by the works of Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” and “Sunflowers.” These works helped form the signature heavy-textured style Gaffrey has become known for. Today, Gaffrey’s paintings are staged on wooden canvases that are handmade at his studio.

As a professional, self-taught, artist since 2001, Gaffrey’s works draw their inspiration from nature, human nature and life experiences. The connection of all things through nature, shared experiences, and the passion to create serve as the driving inspiration for Gaffrey’s work. Part of the beauty of Gaffrey’s work is the variation in colors, ideas and thought.

“If you look through my gallery there are so many different styles present,” Gaffrey says. “I just like to explore and try new things.”

If you’d like to explore Gaffrey’s works, visit his gallery in Blue Mountain at 21 Blue Gulf Drive. His works are also featured online at http://www.jgaffrey.com/.


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