All the World is Her Canvas
Updated: Jun 13, 2019
This article was originally published by the Lakewood Advocate on March 21, 2019.
Lakewood neighbor Annie Griffeth knows anything can be a canvas — including the walls of her house.
In late January, they were painted a dark blue and adorned with paintings of a cheeseburger and French fries. Before that, they displayed a mural of a girl chasing a cat. And before that, they were covered in a hand-painted, Hawaiian-inspired design. Today, it’s likely she has revamped the walls again.
“This house will constantly change,” Annie says. “I can’t help it.”
The home on McCommas Boulevard that Annie shares with her husband, Teal Griffeth, is a mix of modern pop art infused with Asian-inspired design elements that remind her of growing up in Hawaii. There are several nods to the Rainbow State throughout the house, including Japanese temples, palm trees and a multicolored staircase that is one of the home’s most striking features.
“I thought about painting the staircase rainbow, but I didn’t want to ask Teal because I knew he would let me do it. I didn’t know if he wanted that,” Annie says. “Two days later, he said, ‘We should paint the staircase rainbow.’ I was like, ‘Yes! I did marry the right guy.’”
Like their house, the Griffeths’ love story is anything but traditional. The couple met on a group trip to Las Vegas before Teal, a Green Beret, deployed to Afghanistan.
“I was told not to be all crazy,” Teal says. “When this beautiful girl comes out, I’m like, ‘Hello, nice to meet you,’ shaking her hand and being a nerd. Obviously, she fell in love with me immediately.”
Maybe not immediately, but it was close, Annie says. She spent the beginning of the trip cracking Teal’s cool façade. After that, it wasn’t long before the pair ditched the group and set off on their own adventure. Their chemistry was obvious from the start.
“The first day we met, people were like, ‘Did you just get married? Let’s get shots for them,’” Annie says. “All of a sudden we realized we were getting all these free drinks, and we were like, ‘Yeah! We did just get married.’”
Actually, the marriage happened a year and a half later. Teal proposed on a rooftop in Washington, and two days later, the couple returned to Vegas and stayed at the same hotel where they first met. They got married in a chapel and walked down the aisle holding hands to Guns N’ Roses’ “Sweet Child of Mine.”
The couple moved to Lakewood two years ago and quickly immersed themselves in the community by providing art supplies to elementary schools and donating artwork to area nonprofits.
Annie’s work, which includes ink drawings and oil paintings, is all connected to events in her life. On the eve of her 35th birthday, she painted a girl wearing star-shaped glasses and Minnie Mouse ears to symbolize never growing old.
“You’ll see things filled with happiness, hope and love because that’s truly what is inside of me,” she says.
While Annie continues to make art that has sold across the United States, the United Kingdom and Japan, Teal works in commercial real estate for Lincoln Harris.
“There are some guys at the office that I can tell try to stay there as long as possible,” Teals says. “I’m like, ‘I want to go home.’ I love my house. It’s never boring.”