Blog Archives

Photography at the Zoo

I have a great holiday in England recently. My family and I went to Blackpool, and went up the Blackpool tower and into their ‘dungeon’ experience underneath the tower. The family went to Liverpool for the day, where we walked around and explored.

I visited the Tate Liverpool, and went into the Jackson Pollock exhibition.I got to the museum late in the day, and it was starting to close. I was on my way out of the museum, along with another man, when I discovered that the doors had been locked!! I was lucky to have my phone on me, and had to get my someone to tell the security guards to get us out. Apparently we were the first people to be locked in the Tate Liverpool in about ten years! I don’t know whether to be embarrassed or consider that an achievement! At least I got to spend a bit of extra time with Jackson Pollock paintings, and even an Andy Warhol print! 🙂

Anyhow, I thought today I’d post the photos that I took on holiday in England at a zoo (I can’t remember the name of the zoo unfortunately):

And here are my personal favourites… behold a two headed giraffe!!! 🙂

Seeing Double

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Tweedle and Chain

Tweedle and Chain

If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you’ve probably noticed that there are a lot of pictures of Tweedles interacting with chains. Chains in my artwork are symbolic of the master/servant relationship Tweedles have with their creators.

Because Tweedles can act fairly autonomously, they are often seen hanging from the chain or holding onto it, but never actually bound to it. They could easily let go of the chains, but are afraid to do so because they are built with an emotional attachment to their master; an unintentional but useful glitch in their creation.

When a Tweedle fails as a servant and is unable to return to them, it loses this emotional attachment and essentially becomes free. Without a true sense of what it means to be free, most Tweedles that have reached this freedom don’t know how to cope. Some wander aimlessly, some try to find a new master, and some simply stop working.

In this painting it is not entirely clear whether or not the Tweedle is hanging from the chain or standing on the ground holding onto it. For me this represents the lack of control the creators actually have on their creations. This could be further interpreted as the lack of control a higher being or God might actually have on humanity.

As I have quite a few canvas boards at the moment, I’ll be making a series of these paintings, using the Tweedles to explore themes such as free will, servitude, identity, and the problems of mind, body, soul and death.

Forlorn Dreams of Immortality

This is a piece on the self preservation instinct and its eventual futility due to the inescapable nature of death.

A bird reaches towards a key to unlock a padlock on its leg. As the bird flies towards the key, the chain is pulled and the key moves further away.

There is a bit of slack in the part of the chain resting on the floor, giving hope that the key might be reachable after all.

Unfortunately, even if the bird could ever reach the key, it is stuck in a room with neither doors nor windows. Other than the chain, the lock and the key, the room is empty.

No matter what the creature attempts to achieve, it would eventually die of starvation or thirst.

The true message of the piece is intentionally unclear and left open to your interpretation. I’d love to hear what you think of it and thank you for reading!

Pocket-sized Paintings

You might have seen photocopies of these paintings from my last post, stuck into my sketchbook. In these paintings, I’ve tried to further develop my painting skills on a small scale. The canvases used for these paintings are approximately 10 x 10 cm, with a depth of 2.5 cm. Below is my very first self portrait using acrylics, loosely inspired by Oscar Wilde’s ‘The Portrait of Dorian Gray’. Following that painting is a small scene that takes inspiration from a German legend about a man called Faust who sold his soul.

I may be good at landscapes and abstract paintings on such a size, but I haven’t had much practice with portraiture and figurative drawing until now. I’d love to know what you think of my recent paintings. Any comments or advice would be greatly appreciated, and thanks for reading!

PLC Portfolio Paintings

For the next few posts, I’ll will be showing you some of my portfolio work from my PLC course. I thought I’d start with my paintings. The first two are currently on display at the ‘Hidden in Plain Sight’ exhibition at Colaiste Stiofan Naofa (Tramore Road, Cork City, Co. Cork) and the other two were my other finished paintings that I made during the year.

I think I must be obsessed with my Tweedles now as they seem to be a common theme in my PLC artwork! They’ve become a lot more defined and real since the one I first dream up in my drawing over a year ago.

Please click on the images below to get a better view and I hope you like them!

 

Hidden in Plain Sight – Exhibition

0IMG_6395I’ve finally finished hanging my artwork and fixing my sculptures down for the Hidden in Plain Sight exhibition.

The exhibition starts at 6:30pm, Thursday, May 22nd, and it runs until September 30th, 2014. It’s located at Coláiste Stiofáin Naofa, Tramore Road, Cork City, Co. Cork.

Feel free to take a look if you’re in the area. I’ve taken a few photos of my displayed works, so here’s a sneak preview of what I’ll be showing:

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My photography skills are better than they used to be, but aren’t that good yet! After the exhibition I’ll probably post better photographs of the works, but for now, these will give you an idea of what’s on display.

I hope you enjoy my artwork and I would love to hear your feedback!

Interview Paintings

A few weeks ago I went for a college interview. Today I’m sitting in my student accommodation (which now has Internet access!!) typing this blog post, having already spent a week of art classes. I’ve been so caught up in all the newness of college that I forgot to post some pictures on the bigger paintings I included in my interview; the ones that wouldn’t fit on the scanner.

The first painting is a sunset in acrylics. The sky intentionally possesses the colours of the montbretia flowers silhouetted in the foreground.

silhouette

‘Montbretia’, A3 acrylics on canvas.

The next picture is a large watercolour of a Tweedle. It didn’t work quite how I wanted it to, but it was my first watercolour of that size.

big tweedle

‘Untitled Tweedle painting’, A2 watercolour on cartridge paper.

Lastly, this painting is an observational acrylics painting of the bridge in my garden.  I hope you enjoy my paintings!

garden small

‘Bridge’, A3 acrylics on canvas.

Moving Out

I’m going to move out later today, so this is the last time I’ll have the opportunity to blog in a while, until I get internet access again.

It’s a little weird knowing that I’m going to be living on my own. For someone with aspergers, moving out should be very stressful and worrying because I usually find it difficult to deal with big changes in life, but I feel strangely calm about the whole experience. This will be the first time I’m fully independent, but it doesn’t scare me as much as I thought it would. I still can’t believe that, in less than 24 hours time, I’ll be in art college! It’s surreal!

Anyhow, because I’ll be unable to post until I get internet access, I thought I’d leave you with my recent experiments. These paintings started off as simple renditions of the colours of the light spectrum. Then I painted landscape silhouettes over the top of the colours to create these pictures. Enjoy!

spectrem

College

I’ve been very busy over the last few weeks sorting out portfolio work, attending an interview and looking for accommodation. Everything’s turned out good so far; two days after the interview I was offered a place in my desired PLC (Post Leaving Cert) course, and I’ve secured nearby accommodation. I can’t believe it but in about a weeks time, I’ll be in college! It’s a little new and scary to me, but very exciting!

The weeks before that, I was helping another blogger out with cover designs and experimenting with paint pouring with acrylics to create interesting abstract paintings. Since I haven’t had a chance to post in a while, I thought I’d share some of my abstract creations with you:

Seventy!

Once again, I apologize for the randomness of when I post my blog posts. Schedules just aren’t my forte at the moment.

Anyhow, my grandparents, aunt and cousin came all the way from England to stay round for a week. We’ve all been busy with day trips and family games, but the week has finished and now they’re returning home.

The short holiday was an early celebration of my granddad’s 70th birthday (which is actually on the 18th of August). I decided to paint a picture of the driveway to my house as a gift to him:

Granddad's Present PhotoSince he visits each year, this view is very familiar to him, and he certainly enjoyed the gift!

In my younger years I lived with my grandparents and my granddad would let me make clay sculptures using his potter’s wheel, and I would learn a lot by watching him paint and draw. To this day, he still draws and paints, and has even had his works in exhibitions. He has always liked art and I think that he was one of my biggest influences on my artwork.

Resurrecting Ideas and Dreaming of Immortality

I’ve enjoyed working with spray paints recently, enjoying the interesting effects they can create, and the speed which paintings can be created using them. I have used them in my previous works to create fog and smoke effects. For my most current paintings, however, I have revisited one of my earliest ideas and expanded on it:

SKULL2 (1) SKULL2 (3)SKULL2 (4)

 

 

 

 

(Click to enlarge the above images)

I found the old skull stencil I made almost a year ago. I created a scaled-down version of it for my mini canvases so that I could experiment with my the image, along with the black and white spray paints I have at the moment. I used my new stencil on various different forms of paper as well as canvas, and above are what I feel to be my best of the experimental paintings.

By flipping the stencil over and using different spray paints, some interesting images could be formed; my favourite example of this technique would be the skull on the very left, due to it’s 3D effect which makes it stand out, almost to the point that you could reach out and grab it. With the same technique, a fairly Terminator-esque skull was formed (which can be seen on the right).

Although I had forgotten about my original skull design, upon rediscovering it I was immediately drawn to it. I think that it’s a very powerful image because of the contrast between the white and black, and because of the association we have with skulls and our mortality.

The eerie stare of the skull seems to follow you around the room. Although this wasn’t intentional, I liked how it reminded me that death feels inescapable, yet as humans we try to prolong our existences with medicine and diet, with some of us even seeking the seemingly impossible – immortality.

As an artist, I may be able to achieve immortality through my works and be remembered long after I’m deceased (or at least I hope so!) but realistically prefer the idea of biological immortality, where I can physically live on. At the moment this is impossible, but in the future it may slowly change into the improbable, then the probable, and finally the possible.

Thinking more about it, I wonder if immortality would be as good as it seems. At first it would be fairly amazing. As I’ve gotten older it seems that time has sped up, and as I continue to get older, the years will continue to fly past at an exponential rate. Perhaps centuries will eventually feel like seconds as I progress through an evolving world in a slow, dream-like state. Also, old age is often accompanied with arthritis and memory loss, so spending eternity with increasing joint pains with no memory of who I am or was or where I came from certainly doesn’t sound good at all.

I didn’t know that I would end up writing more of a philosophical post about life and death, but then again, that’s what art is supposed to do – to allow you to admire, experience or think about things in our world. Curious to know what you readers think, I guess I’ll leave you with this question:

Would you want to be immortal?

SKULL2 (2)

A Few More Volcanoes…

Over the past week, I decided to stick with my volcanic theme and continued to paint fiery landscapes. I really liked experimenting a little more with my last idea and enjoyed painting this scene.

lava3

I wanted to create a contrast against the red skies and the black igneous landscape. I also wanted to perfect the lava flows that pour slowly down from the summit, making the streams thinner as they descend from their point of origin. Below is one of my practise paintings for the above one.

lava2

Both were painted on fairly small canvases, but I was thinking about painting similar pictures onto bigger canvases because I really like the way these paintings have turned out. I don’t know why I suddenly feel inspired by these destructive mountains, but to quote Picasso;

“The urge to destroy is also a creative urge.”

Maybe these explosive, infernal landscapes are a reflection of a sudden rush of creativity that I seemed to have developed recently. Or perhaps it is the raw power and beauty of these natural features that attracted me to paint them.

The steam and smog surrounding these volcanoes was made with the use of a spray paint can, and I’m finding myself more comfortable using one, sometimes mixing spray paint and stencil techniques with more traditional acrylic painting methods. Although I’m definitely a long way from being a fully accomplished artist, I’m starting to feel that I’m developing my own style of painting.

I am constantly aware that the style I currently have will not always be the one I use, and it will be subject to change over time. I find it very interesting how an artist’s style evolves and it makes me wonder what the artwork I create in 10 years time will look like compared to what I make now. Who knows what the future may hold?

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