It wasn't until I started to write this bio that I realized how much time has past, how much has happened and how many things I've done to get to this point in my life. To keep this from turning this into a novel, I've tried to keep to the basics. I was born in San Diego, CA and raised in Ballston Spa, NY. Like most artists I was always drawing in school…mostly hot rods, cartoons and such. My idols were Ed Roth, George Barris, Nat Quick, Daryl Starbird and others. I started painting signs when I was 16, I think, and after that I pretty much started trying my hand at everything. From sign painting to cartooning, from customizing and custom painting to everything in between. After I left home I worked with my father on a carnival for awhile, and painted some on the rides and game trailers. We moved to Alabama and I worked driving 18 wheelers and working in the service garage. In between I would paint cartoons on the driver's rigs for extra money. At the local restaurants, I would do hot rod cartoons for my freinds and drivers that hung out there. Following that, I hooked up with a NASCAR driver named Charlie Roberts, and traveled the Winston Cup circuit for awhile, doing body work and lettering race cars. I got to hang with and meet some cool people back then. Some of them got to be famous, others not so much. That was the early 70's. After that it was from one sign shop to another until I finally settled in South Carolina for about 25 or so years. During this time I worked at a number of sign and body shops learning and perfecting my craft and customizing anything I could get my hands on. I have to admit, I messed up a lot of paint and a lot of sheet metal learning. I had a bad experience with Imron back in the 70's that I still don't like to talk about. From one thing to another, I tried it all. From signs, graphics, fabricating, painting, welding, building, you name it, I did it. After many years of frustration, I gave up the dream in the early 90's and settled into body shop management and put the brushes and paint guns away. I thought I was done. I gave away or sold everything I owned pertaining to customizing. Shortly after 9-11, I was working in N.C. and began watching this guy named Jesse James on discovery. Wow! Cool Stuff. My wife at the time began to encourage me to get back into custom painting again, only this time on bikes. At middle age, I did not think this to be a good idea, but I gave it a shot. For my birthday that summer my wife bought me a new sign painter's kit from Dick Blick. I started going around to local bike shops and picking up damaged parts, fixing and painting them, and returning with the finished product. People liked what I did, so I kept doing it. I took an offer at a shop in Florence, S. C., and began custom painting and customizing 18 wheelers and motorcycles. I was just getting into it when my wife of 14 years was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. She passed away shortly thereafter. Devastated and distraught to say the least, I came back home to NY to bury my wife and gather my self back up. With no plans, no money and broken dreams I was probably at the lowest I've ever been. Fortunately, God had not given up on me yet and surrounded me with friends and family who would not let me quit and encouraged me to stay and finish the dream. It is because of their love and encouragement and my late wife's belief that I was as good as anybody out there, that I am able to do what I love. I could not have done it without them. My new bride is cut from the same mold and stands behind me at every turn. It is still a lot of hard work and sometimes I feel my age but I love every minute of it. Moral of the story? Every dream has a price and often does not come without hardship and sacrifice. Mine is no different. You're never to old to chase a dream. I thank God for every day for the opportunity to do what I love and for those who stood by me all this time.
Dream It, Paint It, Live It! Thanks to everyone, Jay "QuickDraw" Griffen.