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Dean Griff
Dean William Griff is an American artist and illustrator famous for his artwork and ornaments featuring mice and other woodland creatures; his best known work being the Charming Tails collection of figurines and collectibles.

Dean was born in Oneida, NY in September, 1960 and is the fourth of six children born to William and Ida Griff. He was raised in rural New York on his family's 500-acre dairy farm and he attended Stockbridge Valley Central School in Munnsville, NY.

In his early years working on the family farm, spending time outdoors and tending to the animals, Dean developed an interest in the wildlife he observed around him. Dean also showed an early interest and talent for art. He would draw pictures for fun after his chores were done and in his late teens he painted four large detailed murals of farm animals on the family barn. These early experiences of family life on the farm and the local wildlife provided the inspiration for the artwork he has become famous for.

In 1983, Dean left his family farm to take on the role of Assistant to the Curator of the Syracuse University Art Collection. He stayed with the university for approximately 6 years, continuing to pursue his own art in his spare time. Some of his work he entered into university art shows, winning awards for his wildlife paintings, but he also made hand-painted Christmas ornaments for friends and family.

Dean moved from New York to Florida in 1989 to work as a set decorator for television programs and commercials. At a 1991 birthday party for his partner, Karl Strahl, Dean was introduced to Marje Reed, a product development specialist for Silvestri, a giftware manufacturer. After seeing some of the hand-painted angel ornaments Dean had made for Karl, she asked Dean to submit some preliminary artwork designs to her company. Dean sent along a dozen ornament designs, featuring a mouse character, without any great expectations. To his surprise, the initial 12 designs were accepted and became Silvestri's Woodland Collection ornaments. They were met with overwhelming enthusiasm by retailers and collectors, going on to become the best-selling ornaments of the 1992 Christmas season.

From this initial collection of ornaments, Dean continued his collaboration with Silvestri, who were acquired by Fitz & Floyd in 1993. He continued to work on the Woodland Collection, which was renamed to Charming Tails, and he worked on other lines, including the Snowmaker and Peppermint Bears series. He also worked with Roman Giftware to design several series of ornaments and figurines for them from 1994 through 1996, including Animal Kingdom, Enchanted Forest and Clumsy Claus.

Fitz & Floyd underwent some restructuring in 1996, spinning off their Silvestri division, but retaining Dean and the Charming Tails collection as its own division of Fitz & Floyd. Dean stayed with Fitz & Floyd until 2009, when the Charming Tails brand was purchased by Enesco. Dean expressed his excitement at the time for the opportunities the Enesco relationship offered the brand.

In 1998/9, Dean collaborated with Christopher Radko. There were two resulting collections released called Woodland Winds and Woodland Wishes, although only 3 of the 15 designs were actually produced for the latter. Dean is not openly credited for these, as he was under exclusive terms with Fitz & Floyd at the time of release.

Dean began doing some designs for David Grossman Creations in late 2002. This led to 3 new lines for 2003, called Wee Whispers, Holly Twig Lane and Essence of Innocence.

In 2010, Enesco released a set of 4 functional teapots design by Dean, called Four Seasons, featuring a bird for each season. In 2011, Enesco introduced us to Dean's new line of kitten figurines, called Charming Purr-sonalities.

Because of Dean's amazing contribution to the world of collectibles, he has developed a following of dedicated fans and he often finds himself in the spotlight. However, Dean considers himself to be a shy person and therefore has had mixed feelings about his public appearances. He values his friends and family above all else and loves to use his artwork to express himself. He is actively involved with the promotion of his work, attending signing events and meeting the many collectors who admire him. He has slowly become more comfortable with the attention he receives and he loves to make new friends at these events and see the pleasure his work brings.

As well as his friends and family, Dean enjoys walking, gardening, drawing and spending time with nature. He still lives in Florida, where he also owns a costume shop, Century Costumes, along with his partner, Karl, who operates the business.

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