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UNC students support art and sustainability in Chapel Hill-based studio

Cameron Griffin and Madelyn Birch are co-founders of MadGriffin Studio, housed inside of Drift Marketplace.

A mural that covers a wall top to bottom, "thrift flip" clothing items, posters and bright stickers are just some of the projects created by MadGriffin Studio. The studio is a collaborative design group spearheaded by two UNC students, junior Cameron Griffin and sophomore Madelyn Bircher.

The pair founded the studio in late October with a mission to promote sustainability and accessibility, as well as build a platform for artists in the area.

“Cam and I were roommates, and we both shared an interest and passion for art and wanted to bring that to the Chapel Hill community,” Bircher said. “We wanted to make it so that everybody can be a part of our art.”

Griffin said part of the studio's sustainability mission is to give old clothes new life. MadGriffin Studio customers send in their old denim jeans, jackets or shorts to be revamped with bright paint and designs.

The studio also offers a discounted price for customers who send in their own clothes as opposed to buying new ones, Griffin said.

She said MadGriffin Studio’s biggest projects so far were commissioned by UNC fraternities Zeta Psi and Kappa Sigma. The studio created a large mural, pong table and banner as part of their work for the fraternities. 

Freddy Stanley, president of Kappa Sigma, said the MadGriffin mural covers almost the entire side wall in the fraternity's first-floor bathroom.

“The finished product looks amazing," he said. "I would encourage any fraternity, business or individual to contact MadGriffin Studio if they ever have any art needs.”

The studio is also a part of Drift Marketplace, a collection of student art in a gallery space on Franklin Street. Bircher said the studio can connect student artists with people who can help them become a part of Drift Marketplace.

In the coming months, Bircher said MadGriffin Studio hopes to grow its involvement with Chapel Hill artists by doing a small artist series and holding art workshops for the community.

“I think there is a lack of space on campus for people to share that side of their life,” she said. “There’s a lack of support for people who want to do it as a hobby or just do art to do art.”

Bircher and Griffin hope the studio's upcoming initiatives like the workshops will provide those interested in art with opportunities to learn different skills they might not otherwise. The workshops will include lessons on how to use a Cricut cutting machine, Griffin said.

“We want to kind of adopt them under MadGriffin and really show them that they can produce their stuff and they can do it by themselves too,” she said.

Starting next week, Bircher and Griffin will be hosting art "pop-ups" to promote MadGriffin Studio and grow their audience reach. They will host two pop-ups this month — March 26 at the Franklin 5k and March 31 at Durham Brewing Company.

To learn more about MadGriffin Studio, visit its website or follow the studio on Instagram @madgriffinstudio


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