The Screaming Pope Prize (SPP) is exclusively organised by artists for artists as part of K-FEST (Killorglin, County Kerry). Given for a single outstanding work of visual art each year, the award is a self-funded, not-for-profit initiative, with the ultimate vision of establishing itself as Ireland’s foremost celebration for emerging visual artists. The SPP recognises exceptional achievement, encourages the pursuit of excellence, and promotes the highest standards of quality in the visual arts.
The Screaming Pope Prize VI is K-FEST’s very own unique visual arts award, including a cash prize of €1,000. A panel of judges comprising of acclaimed artists and critics selects the Screaming Pope Prize VI winner for 2019. Four finalists are also selected, each also receiving a cash prize.
Tom McLean is a contemporary figurative painter and illustrator working and living in Galway City. His work is subjective, sometimes autobiographical, drawing from both his own experiences and those who sit for him. Each model plays a role in a story embedded with emotion and meaning — touching on universal themes of interpersonal relationships, identity, anxiety, isolation and addiction, using spaces the figures inhabit as a metaphor to explore the inner psyche.
Tom’s medium of choice would be oil; however, he also incorporates elements of mixed media to add varied surfaces and textures to his paintings. His creative process involves the construction and deconstruction of the form and figure through a preliminary stage of drawing, collage and photography. This avoids the original references defining the outcome,instead striving to create work which is unique and unpredictable.
Through painting, Tom hopes to capture a moment in time, some more fragmented than others, conveying feelings of vulnerability and anxiety, resulting in raw and honest portrayals of his generation, containing underlying narratives based around both the sitter’s experiences and his own.