My dad, John Griffin Morrissey, was raised in Bay Ridge, Coney Island, and Sunset Park; a Brooklyn boy through and through. He is the eldest, (and craziest) of seven in an Irish Catholic family. His formal education only went up to tenth grade, but he always said the city was the best of all possible schools.
Whether drawing classical Greek statues at the Met, performers in Coney Island’s boardwalk sideshows, or the the strippers on 42nd Street, he always tracked the city though his sketchbook. When I was a kid, we would go to the Brooklyn Museum every Sunday and draw all day. We’d draw paintings, sculptures, flowers, even the cafeteria food, and on the way home we’d draw the people on the bus (sneakily, of course). In the past number of years, he’s been devoted to his drawing classes at Spring Studio. Griffin’s current work is focused on the art, mood, and history that is so rich in Greenwood Cemetery. “I’ve always been drawn to the peace and beauty of the cemetery,” he says. Having recently suffered the loss of his father, the cemetery holds a special place in the poetic arc of his life. Aside from his painting, Griffin has worked as a photo editor, punk rock drummer, and motorcycle mechanic for most of his life. He married his high school sweetheart at the age of 57.
– Dion Griffin Zizak