Bill Griffin - 27 May 2022

Photo: Billy macGill.
Bill Griffin in the Unitarian (Photo by Billy MacGill)

“Billy Griffin’s story is unique. Cork born in 1947, Bill left school at 14 to re-line brake pads and clutches, he then went on to work at the Ford assembly plant that was once the central employer in his native Cork City. A thirst for adventure drove him to sign on as a roustabout, at first on the North Sea and then on the Marathon Kinsale gas field closer to home. Griffin went on to buy his own oil rig and branched out by doing contract drilling off Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, and North Africa.

As a young man he moved to London in the mid sixties to pursue his passion and path by becoming an artist. In 1971, however, drawn by the opportunity to travel and the challenge of a new career Bill went to work in the oil fields. Rising quickly through the ranks, his natural business acumen and engineering abilities meant that by the eighties Bill was serving as a board member and oil concession negotiator for some of the world’s major oil companies. Working in such diverse fields as Africa, Australia, Russia and the Middle East gave Griffin, the opportunity to experience the lifestyle and imagery of these places.

Bill has learned to bypass the traditional academic system, and instead uses symbolism to expose us to the purest of imagery that will take us to the inner space of his mind. Although his style is not representational in the traditional sense, these are subverted images of traditional subjects.

Griffin is completely in the present moment when he paints; his point of departure is the act of painting itself. Colour is his voice and symbolism is his language.

Bill’s oil merchant roots allows him to comfortably work in tandem with his fingers, alluding to his “ten brushes is better the one” mindset.”  (

Watch the video of Bill Griffin’s exhibition at the unitarian (Videography by Mary O’Connor).