David Giffey

David Giffey – Artist, Journalist and Photographer

David Giffey has dedicated his career to art, journalism and photography. His major visual art projects include icons and murals in Greek Orthodox Christian churches, community centers, schools and public buildings throughout Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota and Greece; in addition to paintings depicting his experiences during the Vietnam War.

Early Life and Education

David Giffey was raised on a dairy farm in Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin and eventually worked as the wire editor of an everyday newspaper in the Fox River Valley before being drafted and sent to Vietnam as a combat journalist.

After his service, Giffey turned his focus towards peace activism and pacifism. His paintings reflect this change of direction.

He created murals for community centers and schools.

He currently paints Greek Orthodox icons for Assumption Church in Madison, Wisconsin, where he estimates he has put in over 8,000 hours of painting since 1979.

His artistic style is strongly influenced by his religious convictions. He often depicts saints such as Demetrius, who was tortured in a gladiator’s pit for conversion to Christianity.

Professional Career

Giffey did not formalize his art education but began his visual art career as a street vendor in Austin, Texas. Major projects include icons and murals in Greek Orthodox Christian churches, community centers, schools, and public buildings throughout Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, and Greece; additionally he created paintings inspired by his travels through Vietnam.

Giffey spent years studying iconography with master iconographers in Greece and at Mount Athos Monasteries near Athens.

Achievements and Honors

Giffey, a dairy farmer’s son by college, chose a career change when drafted into the military and sent to Vietnam as a combat journalist and editor. Upon return from Vietnam, he settled in Madison where his work has earned him numerous awards such as a 2008 Wisconsin Newspaper Association first place award and 2010 Golden Dozen recognition from International Society of Weekly Newspaper Editors.

Giffey has always had an affinity for painting, particularly the classic brush-and-chalk style. At Assumption University, his artwork can be found throughout the lobby area; come November 6 to experience his creations and sign copies of his books!

Personal Life

Giffey’s life has been a journey of personal growth and exploration. Throughout his career he has dabbled in journalism, peace activism and art.

His art is inspired by his Eastern Orthodox Christian faith. His icons (painted images of saints or Christ) serve as visual aids to help people comprehend scripture and stories.

His use of iconography is also reflective of his pacifism. A longtime member of Veterans for Peace, he strives to avoid including images of violence in his artwork.

His artwork can be found in churches, community centers and schools throughout Wisconsin. Additionally, he has painted murals on public buildings.

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