As an up and coming visual artist living outside of my home country, it’s always a pleasure to receive support and recognition from home.
Last week the Clare Champion, which is the newspaper of Co. Clare on the west coast of Ireland where I’m from wrote a feature on my work as an up and coming artist to invest in & my career to date. I’m happy to be viewed as an up and coming visual artist and in one way I have Covid to thank for this- who would have thought!
The last year or so has had a surprisingly positive impact on my work because a) I’m not one to sit and wait for things to get better & b) as an emerging visual artist making adjustments to your work practice is a normal activity.
The first UK lockdown arrived just as my third solo exhibition in London was opening at the Graham Hunter Gallery. I remember it because that was the first time I greeted people elbow to elbow. As all my remaining 2020 exhibitions were being postponed I decided to use the time to really examine where I was and what I was doing- can I do it better, is this ‘downtime’ really a time for a change? As covid and lockdowns got comfy around me and my day to day life I could see a growing focus on the DIY economy online and figured this is the time to optimize my online presence. I had a website but didn’t really know how to use it and I had an Instagram account but wasn’t sure how to do/make posts, reels, IGTV’s and whatever other features Instagram offers- it was a bit overwhelming initially but then I realized no ones watching what I’m doing so I may as well give it a go!
Almost a year and a half later I can look back over the initial shock of the pandemic and feel proud that I was able to turn a difficult time round into something else ( this of course had a couple of dramatic moments where I had a few meltdowns particularly when it came to tech issues- why can’t ‘they’ make the terminology of a website a bit more relatable!) I’ve posted work around the globe, made lots of new contacts, expanded my studio space and have made a new body of work that I am really pleased with as it has taken me on a different path artistically. I also now chat regularly on my Instagram with studio updates where I share my life as an artist.
I’ve found that my original abstract paintings cater to new trends that have emerged through the pandemic such as office backgrounds for zoom calls or as so many people were spending more time at home they began to think about how to decorate an empty room or how to fill home walls with artwork.
This art interview highlights something good from the pandemic and I’m more than happy to share some good news. I also chat about winning an arts bursary award from the Women’s Irish Network during lockdown which was amazing plus I’m very proud to be recognised by a platform with some seriously talented women that supports and nurtures women in the arts. Before I became an artist I was a professional Irish dancer with Riverdance- The Show and in the article, I discuss how the discipline I learned as a dancer has certainly played a part in the decisions I’ve made and work ethic I practice as an artist.