Can you tell me a little bit about you?
I’m from Cork in the South of Ireland. I have been living in London for just over 4 years, having moved here to complete the Masters in Fine Art at Central Saint Martins. Since then I have been working full time while completing exhibitions and residencies, ultimately trying to keep my practice afloat.
When did you first discover art, or realize you wanted to make it yourself?
I was four when I won my first big art prize, receiving a small trophy from the Lord Mayor of Cork City at the time. Throughout my youth I was always very engaged with art both in and outside of school and by the time I was finishing school there was no question that I would continue onto an art college.
What ideas are you exploring in your practice?
My work explores process, surface and experimentation through the mediums of painting, drawing and printmaking. While profoundly engaged with the contemporary, the work touches upon traditional aspects of art including subject and material techniques.
Primarily a painter, I have successfully introduced printmaking into my practice within the past two years. Specifically exploring the techniques of screen printing and woodblock cutting as dual processes but also using the meticulous techniques as a comparative to the my painting practice. By building layers in painting and cutting out layers within the woodblock cuts, the act of repetition is ironically apparent but is often disrupted by chance, accident and the endless possibilities of both mediums.
What is your process like?
I would describe my work as continuous in that I am always working on a few pieces at once and actively looking at the relationships created amongst the pieces. I like to collect photographs of different aspects of nature, particularly landscapes or seascapes but in looking at these images I use them only as a starting point to inspire mark making, colours and patterns within my practice. I also collect different types of found and shop bought woods and papers, often using the condition of the material as an inspiration. Overall I am interested in the language amongst each work and how that transcribes to the viewer. As the works are small in scale, I consider the viewing experience an important aspect in the making of the work.
Do you have a mentor, or a piece of advice (or both), which has influenced your practice?
The best advice that I have been given is to always work on a few things at once, so if something is not working out it’s easier to move onto something else and come back to that work later. Another piece of advice that I have kept in mind is that however busy you are with other things in your life, it’s always beneficial to do one creative thing a day no matter how small, whether that’s a quick sketch, taking a photograph or jotting down ideas- it’s all relevant.
What is your studio like?
At the moment, I am working from home which is handy as I can dip in and out of my work whenever I need to. As my work is small in scale it is manageable but I would like to move into a studio sometime this year to create more room for hanging installations and of course room for making.
What do you find most daunting, challenging, or frustrating about pursuing art?
I think it can be very difficult to maintain a full-time art practice, especially in a city as expensive as London.
What are three words you would use to describe your work?
Intimate, surface and language.
What are you working on right now?
At the moment I’m working on a new body of work for both a solo exhibition and also a two person exhibition with Artist Kate Molloy, both in Ireland later this year. I’m also working on some projects here in London with friends and developing further research on my practice. Outside of my practice, I work at the Royal College of Art from Monday to Friday so making time for my own work is often challenging but very rewarding.