April 2022: Contemporary Irish Abstract Painter

contemporary irish abstract painter

Recently I was asked to do an interview with ‘The Life of Stuff’ blog about being a contemporary Irish abstract painter. Read the full article here.

contemporary irish abstract painter
At my studio in Delta House Studios, SW London

It’s both flattering and a pleasure when someone is interested enough in my work and what I do to write about it in their own blog! The ‘Life of Stuff’ is an award-winning Irish lifestyle, travel & culture website and blog which is bursting with all things contemporary Ireland you need to know about. We had a good chat about my work and career to date, read the full article here.

contemporary irish abstract painter
Needle & Thread, 2022, oil paint, charcoal and oil bar on linen, 80x80cm £1500

This interview got me thinking about being a contemporary Irish abstract painter in 2022. I am London based and sell my work internationally but still identify as an Irish artist partly because I am a proud Irish lady but also because my work is based around Irish rock landscapes, mainly the Burren in Co. Clare and the Skelligs in Co.Kerry.

A couple of years ago I would have been uncomfortable putting a geographical identity on my work and myself as I’m not based in Ireland so it seemed almost irrelevant. However, I’ve come to realise that geographical identity is a good thing because we live in a transient world where location is a blurred term. No matter where you are based in today’s world you can be connected in whichever way you need to be. I recently spoke to a ceramicist who is based in Greece but is running her business in the UK. Sounds complicated but it’s not the first time I’ve heard of a set-up like this.

contemporary irish abstract painter
Rock Roulette, 2022, oil paint, charcoal and oil bar on linen, 80x80cm £1500

I came to London 10 years ago this coming September- something I can hardly believe! I packed up my brushes, paints and palette as I had been accepted into the Master’s fine art programme at Central Saint Martins something I could also hardly believe at the time as it’s such a prestigious art school and I was literally over the moon to be accepted. It’s funny how things come about when you least expect them to.

My master’s was for two years after which I thought, well I’ve survived in big expensive London as a student, let’s give it a shot as a springboard for my art career. It was tough, really tough initially. It took me ages to find a studio that I could afford on top of my rent but all the service jobs (nanny, waitress, dog walker, PA among others) eventually stacked up so I was just about able to get myself going.

contemporary irish abstract painter
Wild is the Wind, 2021, oil paint and oil bar on panel board, 40x40cm £900

And so here I am almost ten years later and really, really glad I made the decision to give it a go in London as an artist. I’ve had great opportunities here including three solo shows (4th one coming up later this year), numerous group exhibitions and found a clean, warm, safe studio filled with fantastic artists- massive plus!

I’ve also been supported by the Irish community which was not something I had deliberately intended but these experiences have fully enriched and supported my time here. I was awarded an arts bursary award from the Women’s Irish Network and am now a member, I was included in the London Irish art exhibition which showcased the tremendous Irish talent that is in London as well as being interviewed across many Irish blogs and podcasts. London has been a real adventure so far, let’s see what happens next!

Thanks for reading and please do get in touch if you have any questions about my work, Aisling x

Aisling Drennan is an award-winning abstract artist with a London, UK-based art studio.

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