Greggory Schaffer

As a child, I started drawing on anything I could get my hands on—mostly cut-up paper grocery bags—in my elementary childhood years. It was during this time that several things sort of happened at once. I received lots of praise from teachers for my drawings, which encouraged me to keep drawing. I also felt I was really not that good in sports and some academic pursuits which made me focus more on my art. I also started seeing paintings by Van Gogh, Rembrandt, Michelangelo, Hieronymus Bosch, Salvador Dali and prints by Albrecht Dürer. These paintings really inspired me and spurred me into wanting to be an artist. Remarkably, I realized that by watching Bob Ross paint his “happy little trees” that I could improve in my artwork. Finally, seeing the work of Frank Frazetta and the films of Ray Harryhausen sparked a lifelong passion for drawing. In my teen years, I became aware of and was influenced by the works of Roger Dean, Brian Froud, Jim Fitzpatrick, Alan Lee, John Howe and H. R. Giger, along with the concept art of various films such as Star Wars, Legend, Dark Crystal, Conan, and various other fantasy and sci-fi films. In high school, I attended the Center for the Visual and Performing Arts where I expanded my skill and was exposed to new techniques, especially the airbrush. Because of my influences at the time, primarily from Dali and H. R. Giger, I tried my hand at Surrealism but still maintained an interest in fantasy concept art and illustrations.

Upon entering college, I developed my artwork by incorporating elements from Surrealism, Photorealism, and Medieval Illumination. During this time, I discovered a love for illustration, following in the footsteps of my aforementioned influences. For a short period in college, I strayed off the painting path and took a couple of sculpture courses where I really liked the process of making pieces you could develop in a three-dimensional way—which influenced me after college. I had a particular penchant for trying to take all of the art classes the college offered; finally receiving a B.A. in Studio Art from the College of Charleston. I started wanting to expand my visual language and began learning how to draw Celtic knotwork. I fell head over heels in love with it, as I was also, at that time, focused on connecting with and learning about the culture of my Celtic (Scottish, Irish and Scandinavian) heritage. I then wanted to go into sculpture from that point of view. So I started carving Celtic high and low relief pieces in wood. After doing that for a few years, I took a hiatus from art for a year or two, only drawing in my sketch pad from time to time. Currently, I have returned to painting and found that my true love of producing works of art and studying the different types of ancient art/knotwork from the Celts and Scandinavian people has only grown. So I committed to being a Celtic artist/illustrator.

I would love to give the impression that I have been living in some sort of large fantasy artistic bubble for all these years since graduating from college. That would obviously not be realistic, there have been some significant hiatuses from art making. I got married a year after graduating from college and became an instant father of two special needs kids which really took a lot of time away from the easel. I do not regret this, as it gave me time to reflect on my strengths and weaknesses as an artist and as a person. I also had some health problems (PTSD and fibromyalgia) that cut larger swaths out of my time as well. Again there was a blessing in disguise as it taught me to pace myself and not rush into or through things. These lessons have been crucial to me in becoming a better artist. Today I have been able to reclaim a lot of that time as my two special needs kids are now adults and are able to look after themselves. My third child, while still young, is now a teenager. I have been able to move around my health problems decently. So I now have more time to put back into creative energies. I am now rebuilding my art career as a freelance artist largely from the beginning again. This has actually been a blessing in disguise, as I have been able to focus on what really matters to me in terms of direction, style and in what subject matter to focus on without having been pigeonholed to a specific style or in trying to obsessively be an artistic universalist by trying to draw everything under heaven perfectly. This has led me to a much more satisfying experience as I now focus on only one or two main things as far as subjects are concerned. Beneficially, it has helped me focus and learn to draw well instead of being all over the place and never really progressing in any noticeable way. I work on commission as well as produce my own work for selling to interested parties. If you are interested in a piece on this website or wish for me to do a commissioned piece of artwork you can contact me on the contact page. Thanks!