For Setting Out, the first phase of the Road to 2012, Brian Griffin (b.1948) was selected to launch the project with carefully constructed group portraits of the visionary figures who conceived and won the bid for London, as well as those responsible for delivering the Olympic Park infrastructure.
Griffin is recognised for his ground-breaking depiction of work. He established an international reputation through his portraits of the workers who built Broadgate in the City of London in the 1980s. It was reinforced in 2007 when London and Continental Railways commissioned him to document the management and workforce who built High Speed 1, the UK's first high-speed railway, and the largest construction project in British history. Griffin takes his inspiration from a broad range of visual culture. Old Master painting informs his lighting, and his interest in nineteenth-century symbolism, classical sculpture and B-movies contributes to his images. Invited to portray the sitters in groups for this commission, Griffin returned to the collections of the National Gallery and the National Maritime Museum. He rarely preconceives an image, preferring to observe and respond to his sitters. Drawing upon his imagination, technical virtuosity and experience as a film maker, Griffin works with sitters to create compelling and complex scenarios.