I grew up in Carrick on Suir, County Tipperary, Republic of Ireland and graduated from the College of Art and Design, Waterford I.T. with first class honours in Graphic Design Communications. Worked for two years in Graphic Design in London and Architecture in New York before attending the Slade School of Fine Art, University of London, UK. My work has been exhibited nationally and internationally and I have been the recipient of many awards and bursaries. In 2007 elected to the membership of Aosdana, the Irish governmental body of artists who are deemed by their peers to have made a significant contribution to the arts in Ireland. Awarded a studio residency at the Royal Hibernian Academy Schools in 2015 and fellowship residencies at the Ballinglen Arts Foundation, Co. Mayo, The Tyrone Guthrie Centre, Co. Monaghan and Cill Rialaig Artists retreat Centre, Co. Kerry.
Encompassing works on paper to largescale painting and drawing on canvas, my work has been inspired by the effects of weather and atmospheric effects on my local physical environment and the broader landscape, for over 20 years. While inspiration often comes from the ground beneath my own feet, my imagery also comes from sources including my own photography, TV broadcasts, newspapers and online documentary images. Informed by a sense of lives measured against the changing face of the land my practice also references metaphor, memory and place in relation to my family history both in Ireland and in the wider world – depicting imagery that often veils what we are looking at and encouraging us to think again; blankets of mist, fog, fire smoke, and floodwater.
As an artist, what are the key challenges that you face on a daily basis?
The challenge to create new and better work is always present and is what makes the process endlessly interesting.
What inspires you most about the county in which you live?
The riverine landscape, the ancient monuments, the trees……the silence and peace to observe, think, study and work. The sense of local community and relative ease of living in a rural location. Less expensive that the cities. The proximity to other artists locally and the artists monthly get together in Kilkenny city (initiated by Eamonn Maxwell). The Kilkenny Arts Festival is a tremendous vehicle for artists to participate in… and the fun of starting new projects for the local festival. The access to great art at the Butler Gallery in Kilkenny, to VISUAL CCA in Carlow, to Waterford, Wexford and the train and bus lines to Dublin.
What is your top tip for fellow artists?
Work as hard as you can every day, except Sunday. Don’t complain, do what you have to do to make your work, to earn money and get your work shown and if you don’t adore making art, don’t do it.
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