|Me in 1997 or 98 photo for Heather Bretts' Windows Publications|
So newly sober and firing on all guns I decided I should get a bit more serious about getting my work seen . I had contacted the arts officer in Offaly , and she had talked about grants , but unfortunately she passed away a while later , tragically young and the next arts officer I didn't really get on with ( though this might have been my more abrasive personality ) but a friend of mine , local artist Kieran Brennan ( find him here http://www.kieranbrennan.com/ ) suggested I apply to a lady called Heather Brett who at the time ( and still does ) put together a publication called 'Authors and artists' ( find her here http://www.windowspublicationsanddesign.com/ ) , so I photographed my work , borrowing a camera from Kieran and sent off my work to her , by this time i had quite a few paintings stacked up in my dome . She liked the work and then set up an exhibition in Cavan for me and a sculptor , Elaine Bennet ( who I have no link for but If you are reading this drop me a line and I will put one in ) .
So now I had to get down to serious work and get and exhibition together , this was also around the time my daughter was born.
( on the left a photo from around the time of my studio dome ) I had started doing still life by the time Heather Brett had offered me the exhibition in Cavan court house ( and co-incidentally the only time I have been offered exhibition expenses by any gallery or exhibition organiser) , I was working so fast It was hard to stick to one genre or theme , there were so many . She like the barbie series which had developed further.
made with an assortment of found objects , discarded childrens toys and cardboard templates , oh yes and pencil ( to draw round everything!)I started to get quite fussy about the colours and how they were mixed .
Quite often in my work I feel almost schizophrenic , swapping from method to method , The above work was done without spray paint , but in preparing for the cavan show I also made these paintings as part of the barbie series , as I had to go back and make a new copy of the original Barbie mutation catastrophe painting as I had painted over the original - so I made these as well .
But also around then I had also made a series of very abstract paintings , as I said in a previous post I felt as if I was repeating the degree course but making the work I should have made then , some of these have stories and poems written into them but obscured by rewriting and overlay , I like to hide things in my paintings !
So the exhibition itself was filled with various styles and ideas , I was to shy to talk at the opening and had great fun wandering around listening to what people were saying about the work . In the end I sold one painting,on of the final Barbie series, and with the money I earn t from that I bought my first decent guitar ( you have to have music around the hippy campfire) . I'm forever grateful to Heather for giving the opportunity to show my work and for her making me feel as if I was an artist , and to Kieran Brennan for believing in me enough to push me to apply for the exhibition . But more of Kieran in another post .
One of these paintings was sold at Cavan, they are a pair really , titled ' Ladies and gentleman' , after the album by the band Spiritualised ' Ladies and gentlemen we are floating in space' ( as I thought of myself as a spaceman in those days , living on an alien and strange planet). Music plays a very important part in my work , listening to it constantly as I paint and think about where to go next .