The Doolin Rural Art Workshop was set up in order to
develop my continuing experiments in the field of folk art.
For a long time
I've been working
on a series of transcendental paintings for an open-ended exhibition in my head
called Pictures From A Parallel Universe Irish Cottage. Over the years I've
been continued to be influenced by:
* Holy well decorations
* Irish 'celebrity' pictures
* Egyptian funerary portraits
* Venezuelan rustic art
* African barbershop signs
* religious icons
* surf T-shirts
* football cards
* crap signs
* those blue photos you get in old shop windows
A lot of my work involves fruitless searches for things that are lost, be they people, underground rivers, stories, buildings or ways of life. Regular motifs include the connecting and merging of maps, old photographs and whiskey-based visions. The beauty of the the mundane. The epiphanies - I call them "Zen Newsflashes" - that are close to home. This is partly due to a desire to make sacred the familiar and also because I am a lazy shite.
I spend part of the year in Lurraga, a small townland near Doolin in Co Clare and the rest of the time I'm based in Highbury, North London.
If you are interested in buying any of the paintings here please email me.
Bachelors Walk is the nickname given to a small area
to the north of Doolin, at the junction between Cahermaccrusheen and Lurraga.
Up until fifteen years ago it was inhabited mostly by unmarried farmers. Nearly
all of them have died in the last decade and the area has changed as young
families have moved in.
My exhibition of the same name in 2007 focused on this tiny portion of North Clare - just a few fields - as a way of highlighting wider demographic changes in the countryside. I wanted to explore the lost world that these people inhabited, a world that existed not much more than ten years ago but which now seems to have vanished forever. I was also interested in exploring how that past resurfaced in (and influenced) the lives of the current inhabitants.
The exhibition consisted of paintings of the old people who used to live in the area and some of the modern day bachelors, as well as sketches and paintings of the people who now live and work there, as well as my attempts to decipher local folklore and interpret the amazing views.
A local farmer, Pat Woods, came round one day
and he was happy to talk about the project. He seemed to know a lot about the
families who lived around here. "There's not much to say about the old
people," he said, "apart from the fact that they lived in those
cottages". As for pictures, he reckoned that "families didn't take
photographs of themselves in those days. You hired people to do that." He
gave me a few names down in Doolin of people who might have some old prints. It
did seem that the more I dug for the old people, the more they disappeared from
My family and I still go to Doolin twice a year. I usually try and paint a couple of canvases each time, but mostly I jot down ideas in a sketchbook.