My story is not one of a typical artist. Since before I can remember, I’ve always had a love of art and a fascination of nature. As a child I would be constantly drawing faces and various animals. After school (if I wasn’t kicking a ball), I’d be catching and studying bees and butterflies or some type of little fish.
My education however was strictly academic. Sport got me through secondary school.
It wasn’t until years later, after doing Business in college and emigrating to America, that I rediscovered my creative side. I had been working as a painter and decorator and was encouraged to take on some short art classes. I had a couple of pieces in a group exhibition and out of the blue won a scholarship to the Yard School of Art, Montclair, NJ. At the time I honestly thought that it was my mates pulling a prank on me. But actually this was to be the beginning of my creative career.
I took on more courses in advanced painting and decorating techniques. For the next few years I worked for a company called The Magic Brush. Here I had the opportunity to paint murals, learn a vast array of applications and develop a thorough understanding of paint.
In 1995 I returned to Ireland and set up a business as a decorative painter/artist. Things went well and I quickly became established. I completed many artistic commissions and reckon I’ve decorated half the pubs in the country. In 1998 I took a year out and travelled around Australia. I loved it and was very taken with the aboriginal art, I got the sense of a spiritual connection in it.
Back home, I set to work on a series of paintings of my beautiful new baby girl, Ellen-Mai. These, along with more portrait work and abstracted faces were to make up my first solo exhibition. It was called “My People” and was held in the local town hall, Portlaoise, March, 2000. By now I had taken on a part time job teaching and rented a studio. In 2001-2002 I exhibited a series of work titled “Minibeast”. This was most definitely inspired by the aboriginal art I’d seen down under. I was finding a sense of direction and developing an interest in colours, patterns and shapes. There was also a distinct “macro theme”, which I believe followed on from some of the intimate paintings of Ellen-Mai.
In 2002 I emigrated again, this time to Australia. I took on a job training painting and decorating apprentices, which I am still very involved in today. All the while I was noticing how different nature was over here. I began painting and documenting these amazing specimens of insects, feathers and plants I was finding. I regularly exhibited in groups and with some success. In 2011, I had my first solo show in Australia. I was featured as artist of the year at a beautiful little gallery in Perth, called Monart. The series Natures Little Wonders received much acclaim. This work has been released on limited edition prints and is selling well.
I’m still drawing and my new work is different again. More from the spirit of me, spontaneous and natural. I love continuous line drawing, the movement and infinity of it. Maybe it’s a Celtic thing? The paintings are looking more primitive. Faces like masks and animals feature heavily. Now with the support of my wonderful wife Antonia, I feel excited and energized to continue in this fashion. So watch this space! There’s plenty more to come.