MUSICIAN INTERVIEW: Freddie White

April 14, 2008

Musician Interview: Freddie White, 14 April 2008.
Q & A with Freddie and Nicola Murphy, Draiocht's Marketing Manager, two weeks before his show in Draiocht.



"I danced in a musical once to such reviews as “Freddie looks like a guy in the wrong place at the wrong time” (Irish Times) so didn’t pursue that particular branch of the arts!"
Freddie White, April 2008


Introduction:


Freddie White has long been synonymous with music of the highest quality. Whether interpreting songs by his favorite writers, such as Randy Newman, Tom Waits, John Hiatt and Guy Clark, or performing his own classy compositions, Freddie’s live performances are nothing short of legendary. Freddie has been part of the fabric of the live music scene in Ireland since the 1970’s and his albums continue to sell well, amongst his loyal and new-found fan base. Born in Cobh, County Cork into a musical family, by age thirteen Freddie was playing in school bands and by seventeen playing professionally. At nineteen, he moved to London, where he busked in subways, and developed his unique voice and guitar style. In 1974, he was a founding member of ‘Scullion’, together with Philip King and Sonny Condell. Later he formed ‘The Fake’, regarded as one of the seminal Irish bands of the late ‘70’s. Next came The Freddie White Band formed in 1978, which toured with Eric Clapton that year.

In 2004, Freddie White returned to Ireland after many years living in the USA. Since then he has regularly toured Ireland and Europe and during the past year has dedicated himself to the development of his latest recording, collaborating with songwriters Jimmy MacCarthy and Jim Barrett. Released in February 2008, ‘Stormy Lullaby’, is a stunning collection of moody tracks in which Freddie White’s musicianship and voice shine through. He has once again teamed up with his old cohort DanDan Fitzgerald to produce this gem. The album has an acoustic feel thanks to the input of a small, tight group of musicians from his native Cork. ‘Stormy Lullaby’ is a collection of eleven songs. Some tracks are newly written, while others (not previously recorded by Freddie) have proven their worth by becoming firm favourites with his live audiences. ‘Stormy Lullaby’ showcases what Freddie does best – that is ‘get inside’ and deliver heartrending, troubled love songs in a manner guaranteed to stop you in your tracks. It is often said of Freddie that he does not merely ‘cover’ great songs; more often than not he improves on the originals.





Q: What or who inspired you to become a musician?

Picked up a friends guitar at age 13 and never looked back.


Q: Are you a full time musician or have you other jobs to supplement your income?

I’m full time.


Q: If you weren’t a musician, what would you like to be?

A painter.


Q: What is the hardest thing about being a musician?

Days off either when you are on a tour or recording are a real pain - an interruption to the process.


Q: What type of music do you enjoy playing the most?

Songs with a bit of a bite to them.


Q: Do you have a favourite piece of music?

Aguas de Marcos by Elis Regina and Tom Jobim.


Q: Are there any famous musicians that you would really like to work with?

Yeah – but unfortunately Jimi Henrix is dead now!


Q: What's the most unusual place you've ever played a concert or made a recording?

The Tin Pub in Ahakista in West Cork would be one of many.

Q: Have you ever tried other art forms like drawing, painting, sculpting or dancing for instance?

I danced in a musical once to such reviews as “Freddie looks like a guy in the wrong place at the wrong time” (Irish Times) so didn’t pursue that particular branch of the arts!

Q: What other musicians or people have influenced or inspired you, and in what ways?

I have tried (and still try) to learn from anyone I come into contact with but my teenage years probably formed what I do to this day. Such people as Davy Graham, John Renborne and other guitarists of that time had a huge influence.


Q: How do you keep motivated if you’re having a bad day?

Wouldn’t write off a whole day – if one thing isn’t working do something else and come back to it.



Freddie White and The Fake (1978).


Q: How have you handled the business side of being a musician, promoting yourself and getting exposure, selling your gigs to promoters etc?

Very poorly.


Q: Do you have any advice you could give to a musician just starting out?

Play every day and don’t do it for the money!

Q: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

It’s too late to stop now so ….



Larry Gogan and Freddie White


Q: What are your interests and hobbies in your space time?

Mucking about in the garden – watchin the footy – cooking - eating.



Q: Could you tell us a little more about your forthcoming performance in Draíocht?

I’ve played Draíocht twice before and have had a terrific night. Funny, but I used to live in that area of Dublin when it was just a sea of housing estates and nothing else. Great to see it now has a beating heart in the form of a theatre and lots of old friends showed up the last night I played – hope to see them again this time.

What the Press have said:

'Stormy Lullaby' maintains a lifelong undertaking by this remarkable singer ... to get to the essence of a worthy song...a genuinely transcendent and inspiring sound.’ 
Gerry Quinn. Examiner, January 2008  


‘This is a superb return to form ... those trademark sharp-toothed guitar licks ... smoky, languid voice... there’s still nobody to match White at his best.’ 

Siobhain Long.  Irish Times, January 2008  

"Tia" is a smooth and affecting sound while "The Boy Talks Tough" sounds like a standard in the making. Freddie White shows again that class is permanent...
Danny McElhinney. the Mail on Sunday, January 2008








Images taken from Freddie's website.
Further info about Freddie White can be found on:
www.freddiewhite.com


For media information please contact:
Nicola Murphy, Marketing Press & PR Manager, Draíocht
Tel: 01-8098021

Leave a comment / 0 Comments

By Draíocht. Tags: Music,

MUSICIAN INTERVIEW: Andy Irvine

April 3, 2008

MUSICIAN INTERVIEW: Andy Irvine  / 3 April 2008
Q&A with Andy Irvine and Nicola Murphy, Draíocht's Marketing Manager 




Andy appears in Draíocht on Saturday 12th April 2008 at 8pm with his group Mozaik, truly a World Music band, which fellow musicians Donal Lunny (Ireland & Japan), Bruce Molsky (USA), Nikola Parov (Hungary) and Rens van der Zalm (Holland, soon to be Australia). He chatted with Nicola Murphy by email from Japan ahead of the gig next week.


Brief Introduction:


Andy Irvine: Forty Years on the Road
Andy Irvine has been hailed as ‘a tradition in himself’. Musician, singer and songwriter, Andy has maintained both personal integrity and highly individual performing skills throughout his 40-year career. From Sweeney's Men in the mid sixties to the enormous success of Planxty in the 70s, to THE Irish super group, Patrick Street, in the 80s, Andy has been a world music pioneer and icon for traditional music and musicians. Irvine occupies a unique place in the musical world, plying his trade as archetypal troubadour, with a solo show and traveling lifestyle that reflects his lifelong influence, Woody Guthrie. Few others can equal his repertoire, Irish traditional songs, dexterous Balkan dance tunes, and a compelling canon of his own material that defies description.
Taken from: http://www.andyirvine.com



Andy Irvine


Q: Tell us a little about yourself, your background, where you’re from and where you live?

I have been playing music for my livelihood for over 40 years. I was a very good child actor who became not such a good juvenile actor. I play the Irish Bouzouki - an instrument that bears little relationship to its Greek origins. I also play Mandolin, Harmonica and Hurdy Gurdy. And I sing. I live in Dublin, though I spend most of my time traveling elsewhere. I am in Japan at the moment.
 

Q: What or who inspired you to become a musician?
 
My first inspiration was Woody Guthrie, the Oklahoma balladeer and song writer. Subsequently I became interested in all folk music.


Q: How old where you when you started playing?

I was 13 when I received my first instrument - a very poorly made guitar. I studied classical music for four years but decided it was not for me.



Rens van der Zalm & Andy Irvine


Q: Why did you choose your particular instrument to learn?

I wanted to play all the instruments that Woody played. The mandolin became my foremost instrument but after my good friend, Johnny Moynihan introduced the Bouzouki into Irish music, I gradually became more drawn to that.


Q: If you weren’t a musician, what would you like to be?

A novelist.


Q: What is the hardest thing about being a musician?
 
Practising when you haven't played for a while. It's like running through a field of porridge.


Q: What type of music do you enjoy playing the most?

My music.


Q: Are there any famous musicians that you would really like to work with?
 
Yes, Woody Guthrie but unfortunately he's dead.


Q: What's the most unusual place you've ever played a concert or made a recording?

Kilmainham Jail with all the ghosts looking down from the cells above.


Q: Have you ever tried other art forms like drawing, painting, sculpting or dancing for instance?
 
No, no good at any of these.


Q: What other musicians or people have influenced or inspired you, and in what ways?

I have been inspired by many people who rose up and fought against injustice. People who spoke for those with no voice. From James Connolly to Joe Hill.



Rens van der Zalm & Andy Irvine


Q: How do you keep motivated if you’re having a bad day?
 
Imagine myself to be in a worse position.


Q: How have you handled the business side of being a musician, promoting yourself and getting exposure, selling your gigs to promoters etc?

Like most musicians I am not a big self promoter. My first band, Sweeney's Men was a minor success but my second band, Planxty was a major success. I have never felt the need to sell myself since then.


Q: Do you have any advice you could give to a musician just starting out?

Don't expect to be a success. But believe in yourself and keep doing what you believe in.


Q: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
 
Still battering around the globe with any luck.
 

Q: What are your interests and hobbies in your spare time?

Football, Cricket, Rugby. Anything with a ball except Basketball.


Q: Could you tell us a little more about your forthcoming performance in Draíocht?

It's with Mozaik, a fiery blend of Irish, Balkan and Old Time American music that should keep the audience in excitement. Between us all the band plays over 20 instruments with Nikola covering a bewildering range of East European instruments that many people will never have seen before.
I started the group 5 years ago, and we rehearsed for the first time in Australia and finished the tour that followed with a live recording at the Powerhouse, in Brisbane. That album conveys the exciting sounds that the band creates on stage. Since then we've played at many of the world’s major festivals and concert halls in Australia, Japan, USA, Ireland, Italy and the UK. (Vicar Street, National Concert Hall, Cork Opera House notably). Each member of the band has recorded extensively during their musical careers – Nikola solo and with numerous Balkan bands in Hungary; Bruce with solo albums and collaborations with Pete Seeger, Martin Hayes, Bill Frisell and many others; Dónal with bands ranging from Planxty and The Bothy Band to Moving Hearts, and more than 100 albums that he has produced and played on for other artists; I've played with Sweeney’s Men, Planxty and Patrick Street, solo and with Paul Brady; Rens has also recorded with me, and many Dutch bands like Wolverlei and Fungus.
 

Q: Do you have any performances coming up after this one in Draíocht?

Yes, Draiocht is the second gig of a nine day tour in Ireland with Mozaik.


What the Press have said:

“This was glorious music that raised spirits, roofs and not a few pulses along the way. Yet another magnificent musical detour that unleashed our imaginations and our energies, free to roam where passports and language barriers hold no sway.”
Siobhan Long, The Irish Times


Further info about Andy Irvine & Mozaik can be found on his website:
www.andyirvine.com 




Mozaik
Andy Irvine, Donal Lunny, Bruce Molsky, Nikola Parov, Rens van der Zalm
First envisaged by venerable vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Andy Irvine (Planxty, Patrick Street), Mozaik is the ultimate global string band- a truly international ensemble who can not only perform music from a wide array of cultures, but interweave their myriad influences into an entirely new sound. Mozaik moves effortlessly from Celtic to old-time to Eastern European music, with intricate string arrangements complementing Andy and Bruce's vocals. The line-up boasts musicians as versatile and eclectic as the music created between them, whose traditions and styles are distinct, yet blend beautifully to form a cohesive work of art. Long time fans from Irvine's Planxty days, will be aware that he has been experimenting with Eastern European melodies and rhythms for a long time now, which is a style he incorporates magnificently into this band.
Main Auditorium
Sat 12 April 2008, 8pm
Tickets:
€22 / €20 conc


For media information please contact:
Nicola Murphy, Marketing Press & PR Manager, Draíocht
Tel: 01-8098021

Leave a comment / 0 Comments

By Draíocht. Tags: Music,

ARTIST INTERVIEW: Orla Whelan

March 1, 2008

"I have always wanted to be an artist from as far back as I can remember. I was always drawing and painting as a child. I started watercolour classes on a Saturday morning when I was eight years old, as well as doing art in school.”  Orla Whelan, March 2008.





ARTIST INTERVIEW: Orla Whelan in conversation with Nicola Murphy in March 2008 about her residency in Draíocht's Artists Studio.


Brief Introduction:

Draíocht welcomes Orla Whelan to the studio residency for six months from January to June 2008. Working in oil on canvas Orla creates gentle and elusive images drawn from a range of sources of personal significance. Redundant memorials, forgotten monuments, faces, places or cosmic elements such as the moon, clouds, and stars appear pared down in a barely visible manner. Orla will spend her time at Draíocht expanding the scale of her work in preparation for a number of projects, including a group show at the Lab, Dublin City Council’s new space for contemporary art in the city centre, and a solo show in Draíocht in November 2008.

Born in Dublin 1975, Orla Whelan is an Irish artist who lives and works in Dublin. Recent Exhibitions include There, Not There at Crawford Art Gallery (2008) and Trapezium at the LAB (2008). Previous solo exhibitions include We live to see each other at thisisnotashop (2007), Outside at The Return, Goethe Instituit (2007), Overtime at Archeus Fine Art London (2002) and New Work at Christopher Hull Gallery London (1997). She holds BA Fine Art from NCAD, MA European Fine Art from Winchester School of Art, Barcelona and an MA in Visual Arts Practices from IADT.



Q: Tell us a little about yourself, your background, where you’re from and where you live?

I am from Dublin. I grew up here and went to NCAD after I left school, where I did my degree in Fine Art. I have lived in a few other places since; Spain, England and travelled a little to Australia and India. I did an MA in Barcelona a few years ago and I have just completed an MA in Visual Art Practices from IADT in December. I now live in Drimnagh with my husband and daughter who is two and a half.

Q: How long have you been an artist and why choose an arty profession over a more conventional career, like being an accountant, or working in an office for instance?

I have always wanted to be an artist form as far back as I can remember. I was always drawing and painting as a child. I started watercolour classes on a Saturday morning when I was eight years old, as well as doing art in school. My parents were very encouraging and supportive. I have only one sister and she is an artist too.

Q: Perhaps you also have a conventional day job to supplement your income as an artist and if yes does this interfere with your creativity and focus?

Over the years I have done different jobs to supplement my income, mostly casual teaching. At the moment I don’t do any other work.

Q: When did you paint your first picture and what was your subject matter?

I used to paint romantic landscapes in watercolour when I was nine or ten. The first one I remember my parents framing was a snow-scene with a farmhouse or barn in the distance.


Q: Has your style changed over the years and what might have influenced this change if yes?

Yes, it changes and evolves all the time. It s usually influenced by what I see, what I am reading or researching and by other artists work that I have seen or films that I have seen as well. Circumstance plays a part too, my work is influenced by where I am based, what my studio is like, what else is going on in my life and around me.

Q: Have you ever tried other art forms like photography, sculpting, making music, or dancing for instance?

No, I have only ever worked in painting. I am very focussed and still I always feel there is so much more within painting that I want to do, or need to try out, as if there isn’t enough time to diversify.


Q: What other artists or people have influenced or inspired you, and in what ways?

I have been looking at the work of Mamma Anderson and Laura Owens recently. In terms of Irish artists, Stephen McKenna would be an influence. I am influenced a lot by novels I read, some writers have a really visual way of writing that lingers, like WG Sebald and Michael Oondatje.



Q: How do you keep motivated if you’re having a bad day?


I don’t know really. It’s so disheartening when you work really hard all day and sometimes have nothing to show for it at the end, but it just makes me more determined to figure out what I am trying to do with it. There is always a need to be making the work no matter what. The thought of not doing it fills me with dread, what else would I do?

Q: How do you juggle being a mother and an artist?

It’s not that difficult. Having a child does impact my studio time but it also kind of empowers you, gives you a confidence. It gives you quite a different perspective on time generally, I have become more appreciative of the present, and much more aware of the long term. It alters your perception of life and mortality quite significantly and these thoughts have influenced the ideas and imagery in my work.

Q: How have you handled the business side of being an artist, promoting yourself and getting exposure, selling your work etc?

Not very well. As an artist, you do have to spend a lot of time on applications and proposals and I probably don’t do it enough. There is a lot of pressure to be actively seeking opportunities which is tiring but necessary.

Q: Could you tell us a little more about your residency in Draíocht’s Artist Studio?

It’s a great opportunity for me to work on a larger scale as it is quite a large studio. I have been working on a small scale for the last five years, in much smaller studios and have been looking forward to up-scaling again. I am going to use the time and space here to try things out and to explore new materials and processes of working. With my current work, I am particularly interested in the relationship between imagery and meaning, in the psychological power of imagery. My most recent work considers ideas of memory, collectivity and subjectivity. These themes are explored through the use of personal imagery, faces and physical points of connection between two people. The sense of reflection, connection, or implication inherent in this imagery is something that I am currently developing.

Q: Have you any exhibitions coming up?

The next show I have is a group show at the LAB, in Foley St. The show is called Trapezium, with three other artists and it opens in mid June.

Q: Do you have any advice you could give to an artist just starting out?

Enjoy yourself. Follow your instincts for what you are interested in, and look at other artists work all the time. You learn a lot from looking.

Q: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Working away, hopefully in a nice big studio like this.

Q: What are your interests and hobbies outside of painting?

Well, I go to exhibitions a lot, I read, watch films and play basket-ball regularly. I enjoy going out with my friends and being with my family.


For further information about Artist Orla Whelan or the Visual Arts programme please contact:
The Visual Arts Officer, Draíocht / Tel: 01-809 8026

For media information please contact:
Nicola Murphy, Marketing Press & PR Manager, Draíocht
Tel: 01-8098021

Leave a comment / 0 Comments

By Draíocht. Tags: Artist Interview, Visual Arts, Orla Whelan,

ARTIST INTERVIEW: Naomi Sex

March 1, 2008

ARTIST INTERVIEW: Naomi Sex in conversation with Nicola Murphy in March 2008



"This is a body of prints, which I have been working towards for a number of years. It’s a mixture of some smaller pieces, which have been shown individually before, and some very large pieces, which have never been shown before. Each piece is conveying a set of circumstances, scenarios or a particular version of events. Together in the space, they sum up a sense of clarity, or perhaps misjudged clarity, which is often the case when one looks back at a time or situation where something of significance has occurred, with a certain degree of regret or remorse..
Naomi Sex, March 2008



Brief Introduction: Naomi Sex specializes in etching. Her evocative prints capture moments in time and place in a cinematic way while at the same time keeping a sense of intimacy, hinting at personal histories rather than grand narratives. Like finding a strangers lost diary they allow the viewer to glimpse a series of private events as though each image represented random pages. As a print maker Sex uses diverse technical means in a variety of materials and media, producing highly accomplished works. Naomi Sex received a BA in Fine Art in 1999 from the National College of Art and Design, where she is currently completing a Masters Degree. She has exhibited widely nationally and internationally and in 2001 she was part of a two-person show in the Original Print Gallery, Dublin. In 2002 she was awarded a one month residency by the Newfoundland­-Ireland artist program. In 2003 as part of the 'Percent for Arts’ scheme she was awarded a commission by the Office of Public Works to produce a series of ten etchings documenting the restoration of the Great Palm House in the National Botanical Gardens. In 2005 she had a solo show at the Printmakers Gallery, Dublin. Her work is part of numerous state collections including the Office of Public Works, AXA Insurance, The Aviation Board of Ireland, A & L Goodbody Solicitors, Chris Ryan, KMD and O' Dowd, Herlihy & Horan architects.  Q: Tell us a little about yourself, your background, where you’re from and where you live?

I’m from Portmarnock in Dublin, excluding time in digs and some traveling and residencies, I have lived there for most of my life.

Q: How long have you been an artist and why choose an arty profession over a more conventional career, like being an accountant, or working in an office for instance?

 I did a B.A. at the National college of Art and Design about 10 years ago, and am currently back there studying for my M.A. So I have been practicing and actively exhibiting for those 10 years. Becoming an artist was a foregone conclusion for me; as a kid growing up in my house, if you were to throw a stone you would be sure to hit an artist.




Q: Perhaps you also have a conventional day job to supplement your income as an artist and if yes does this interfere with your creativity and focus?

I have many jobs and, assume many roles. At the moment, I am studying at the N.C.A.D., I currently teach at both I.A.D.T. (Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology) and D.I.T. (School of Art and Design). I still work part time at The Printmakers Gallery, and I am heavily involved with the Blackchurch Print Studio, where I have been a director for the last three years. I see all these roles, learning, teaching, showing, selling, and organising as vital elements in keeping my work grounded and maintaining a good understanding of how other people think and feel in relation to art practice. I think this is crucial when it comes to making well informed and considered work.

Q: When did you create your first print and what was your subject matter?

The first real print I made was about 13 years ago, and I seem to remember a lot of floating chickens. Eh, some things are best forgotten.

Q: Has your style changed over the years and what might have influenced this change if yes?

Yes it has, and particularly now since I am studying again. I wasn’t listening the first time around, too busy having the craic. Now I’m a bit of sponge, it has opened up a huge amount of possibilities in relation to my work and also working with other people, which is very exciting.



Q: Have you ever tried other art forms like photography, sculpting, making music, or dancing for instance?

Funny, you should ask that. Yes, as part of a recent post-graduate symposium ‘In sight of the audience’ at N.C.A.D., my new collaborative partner, Sinead McCann, and myself, gave a presentation, prior to which we worked with a musician, who we co- wrote a rap with (Dave Layde). He then performed it live at the symposium. There will be an article about it published in Circa Magazine, and the tune will be available for download on the Circa website in March.

Q: What other artists or people have influenced or inspired you, and in what ways?

Even though I tell her that I taught her everything she knows, the truth is my mother (Botanical painter) Susan Sex, is a bit of a pain that way, she’s just too inspiring, always working, working, working. She is a complete perfectionist, and an absolute professional, in regards to getting the job done and doing it well; a mother of six, and grandmother of five. Such a pain..




Q: How do you keep motivated if you’re having a bad day?

When you get used to self-generating and directing your own various working methods, you develop little tactics and tricks for not taking things personally, and keeping your work in perspective. I will do things like give my Mark a call (artists husband) ... that usually does the trick.

Q: How have you handled the business side of being an artist, promoting yourself and getting exposure, selling your work etc?

I suppose, I’ve been knocking around for a while now, so it’s been a gradual thing. I picked up a lot of tips from my peers, who for the majority of my time as an artist have been the membership of the Blackchurch. There is a high level of professionalism there, and it is a dynamic, supportive and inspiring environment, where information is shared. As a young artist starting out, the more established artists there offer a lot of guidance and advise. Realistically, there is a good bit of tact and discipline in relation to conducting your practice in a business like fashion, which in my case was and still is self-taught over time.





Q: Could you tell us a little more about your forthcoming exhibition in Draíocht’, ‘20/20 Hindsight’?

This is a body of prints, which I have been working towards for a number of years. It’s a mixture of some smaller pieces, which have been shown individually before, and some very large pieces, which have never been shown before. Each piece is conveying a set of circumstances, scenarios or a particular version of events. Together in the space, they sum up a sense of clarity, or perhaps misjudged clarity, which is often the case when one looks back at a time or situation where something of significance has occurred, with a certain degree of regret or remorse. The underlying concern in relation to the work is the fallibility, which is inherent in the human condition, resulting in mistakes, misjudgements, and misinterpretations. These scenes are based on the reflective time after an event has occurred.

Q: What other exhibitions are coming up for you in the future?

I have my grad show as part of the M.A. in the Digital Hub in June, and I also have a two-man show with Sinead McCann in Red Stables, which will probably be in autumn sometime.





Q: Do you have any advice you could give to an artist just starting out?

Use a diary. Simple and effective.




For further information about Artist Naomi Sex or the Visual Arts programme please contact:
Visual Arts Officer, Draíocht / Tel: 01-809 8026

For media information please contact:
Nicola Murphy, Marketing Press & PR Manager, Draíocht
Tel: 01-8098021

Leave a comment / 0 Comments

By Draíocht. Tags: Artist Interview, Visual Arts,

ARTIST INTERVIEW: David Blackmore

February 7, 2007


“My Da is an accountant and I’ve never really felt he enjoys his job, he just fell into it. The way I look at it is this - you only get one life and you're going to spend 35–40 years of it working ... it should be doing something you’re passionate about, that you love doing ... as long as I’m doing what I want and I am keeping my head above water I’ll be happy..”
(David Blackmore, February 2007).



ARTIST INTERVIEW: David Blackmore in email conversation with Nicola Murphy on Wednesday 7 February 2007.

Brief Introduction:

David Blackmore will present a series of photographs entitled Detox, in Draíocht's Ground Floor Gallery starting 9 March 2007. These images were taken in various locations in Dublin and the UK. Over the past decade institutions and public sector organisations within Ireland and the UK have used blue (UV) lighting in certain areas of semi-public space where intravenous drug users have been known to frequent. His work investigates these spaces, combining technical excellence, a painterly approach to composition and an acute awareness of the interaction of architecture, public space and the people who use it. David Blackmore is a London-based Irish artist, his series Detox was shortlisted for the 2005 Next Level, Vorsprung durch Technik Photography awards and has also been published in part by Gomma Magazine. Blackmore recently had a solo exhibition at Galerie Vassie, Amsterdam and has exhibited in group shows at the ICA London, the M+R Gallery London, and Iontas, at Sligo Art Gallery.


A&E X-ray department, The Adelaide & Meath Hospital, Dublin, Eire


Q: Tell us a little about yourself, your background, where you’re from and where you live?

A: I live and work in the East end of London having moved from Dublin in 2003. I am originally from Terenure. I initially studied photography at Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology and I continued my studies at The University of Westminster, London. Since then I have trained as a Further Education Tutor completing a Postgraduate Education Certificate [PGCE] at Reading University.




Q: How long have you been a photographer and why choose an arty profession over a more conventional career, like being an accountant, or working in an office for instance?

A: I have been taking photographs for 10 or 11 years now, although I’m not too sure if I would say I am a photographer. My Da is an accountant and I’ve never really felt he enjoys his job, he just fell into it. The way I look at it is this - you only get one life and you're going to spend 35–40 years of it working. If you are going to spend such a large part of your life working, it should be doing something you’re passionate about, that you love doing. It may not be the most financially secure route but the way I look at it is as long as I’m doing what I want and I am keeping my head above water I’ll be happy.



Arts Block, Trinity College, Dublin, Eire


Q: Perhaps you also have a conventional day job to supplement your income as an artist and if yes does this interfere with your creativity and focus?

A:
I currently work as a sessional Further Education [FE] Tutor at The University College for the Creative Arts, Surrey, UK, where I also work as an FE Photography /Audio Visual Technician. I work part time, which gives me the opportunity to get on with my own work. I am quite lucky because this work has been very flexible. Throughout my education I have seen teaching as a good way for an artist to supplement their income while allowing the flexibility to continue making work. Through my work at the University I come into contact with numerous practitioners covering all disciplines, which I find inspiring. I always have someone to show work to and get feedback from - sometimes a completely non-photographic perspective. If I want to learn how to do something new I can just ask.
When I was studying I worked at a number of Museums in London primarily the National Gallery where I met a lot of other artists, some of whom I have ended up working collaboratively with on some projects and publications. It gave me an insight into how museums work which was valuable experience.




Corridor leading form 16, The Four Courts, Dublin, Eire


Q: When did you take your first photograph and what was your subject matter?

A:
I have always pressed shutters on cameras even as a kid. My Da always had a manual camera, which I used to mess round with even though I didn’t know anything about exposure or f-stops. I’m trying to remember what my first picture was. The first picture I intentionally took was most probably in Black and white of a bare autumn tree or it could have been taken at an ‘M people’ press conference at the Westbury Hotel while on work experience at The Irish Times in 1997?



Dryer


Q: Has your style changed over the years and what might have influenced this change if yes?

A:
I used to do a lot of biographical work which drew inspiration from Nan Golden and Wolfgang Tillmans, both in the subject matter and method of presentation. It used to be quite chaotic at times; my work now is clinical I suppose in its presentation and has a higher production value. 'Detox', my most recent body of work would share a visual language with the German school of photographic practice instigated by Bernd & Hilda Becher in Düsseldorf, but the work was also strongly influenced by installation artists James Turrell, Dan Flavin and the conceptual artist Yves Klein.
I would like to think I wouldn’t restrict myself in the production of new work by adhering to a specific style or genre. I hope my practice will evolve throughout my career. I like the idea of approaching a new body of work in a fresh manner, looking outside of the box and even breaking the box to pieces.



Q: Have you ever tried other art forms like drawing, painting or sculpting, making music, or dancing for instance?

A:
When I was in school I always did art and got a kick out of it. I did a lot of drawing while at school. Then I got really in to taking photographs, not just the taking of the actual photographs but the whole process, like developing the film in the bathroom and making prints in the darkroom. I was really drawn to the photographic medium initially because of its perceived relationship to reality. I would like to become more skilled in other mediums in the future, which is the good thing about working in education because not only do I have access to the facilities but I also have experienced practitioners to show me the ropes and answer questions. At present I am planning on making some sculpted surfaces and photographing them, but its early days yet.




Holding cells, Rathfarnham Garda station, Dublin, Eire


Q: What other artists or people have influenced or inspired you, and in what ways?

A:
I feel privileged to have studied with so many genuine and talented people at IADT. We still are a close-knit group even though we now live all over Europe. They are a constant source of inspiration and support ... I am sure that most people who studied photography at IADT would say that David Farrell was and still is a source of inspiration.
In terms of artists working with photography, Hannah Starkey, Edgar Martins, and Dan Holdsworth would be of particular interest to me. Apart from artists working primarily with the photographic medium I am also drawn to installation artists working with light such as James Turrell and Dan Flavin. Edward Hopper the American painter has been a big influence as has Yves Klein and Mark Rothko.



Q: How do you keep motivated if you’re having a bad day?

A:
I like to be kept busy - it serves as a distraction to problems sometimes. However going travelling I find really recharges the batteries and gets the creative juices flowing again. Sometimes I just need to completely remove myself from the situation - go for a wander, have a coffee or visit friends. I find family and friends have a great
knack of bringing me back down to earth and relaxing.



Sports Club


Q: How have you handled the business side of being an artist, promoting yourself and getting exposure, selling your work etc?

A:
I was discussing this recently with a teaching colleague of mine in the UK. The creative side of things doesn’t take anywhere near as long in comparison to the amount of time putting together proposals for funding, submissions for publications and research relevant opportunities.

At first I found it difficult primarily because it’s not something that Colleges and University’s prepare students for [at least when I was studying]. What I mean by that is I hadn’t a clue how much to charge for a days work as an artist, how to draw up a contract or how to put together a proposal for funding or a commission. Luckily there are a number of organisations both here in Ireland and in the Uk such as Visual Artists Ireland and a-N in the UK, which offer advice on these issues. At first the business side of things and promoting your work can feel a bit removed from the original intention, but it is something that I have come to realise is part and parcel of contemporary art practice. Artists from my experience are usually quite savvy when it comes to the business side of things, as most self-employed individuals have to be.




Tile Detail


Q: Could you tell us a little more about your forthcoming exhibition in Draíocht ‘Detox’? How did the exhibition come about and can you describe the work a little?

A:
I was contacted by Carissa Farrell the Visual Arts Officer in Draíocht just over a year ago. She had seen some of my previous work in the Iontas 2003 catalogue and asked me to send her some more work. We were in correspondence intermittently throughout the year and we met up last autumn when I was back in Dublin.
I was working on ‘Detox’ from 2003-2005. I was initially attracted to the vividness of the blue lighting without really knowing why the light was used. Through research I found that the lights are used to deter intravenous drug use, usually within public toilets, specific spaces in which habitual users have been known to frequent. The reasoning behind their use is that under blue light it is difficult to find a vein. Veins being a blue/green colour do not appear visible to the eye under such conditions therefore restricting intravenous drug use within these spaces.

‘Detox’ deals with the stark contrast that exists between this arresting colour and the functional purpose of its installation in pubic spaces. The work enters into a discourse surrounding addiction and the control of the state and semi-public organisations. Heroin, along with crack cocaine above all other substances, seem to possess such power over the individuals concerned. For me each light, apart from performing a desired function, stands as a form of vigil light in the same way a lighthouse warns approaching ships.



Urinal


Q: Do you have any advice you could give to an artist just starting out?

A:
There is nothing more common than unsuccessful people with talent; leave the house before you find something worth staying in for.” Bansky.
I like this quote because you have to be dedicated and persevere. There are so many people doing what you are that if you stop to think about the sheer volume of people competing, it can stump you. Most importantly you have to enjoy it. I am sure that most artists / creative individuals would agree that it‘s not just a career, it’s a way of life; cliché perhaps, but when you are passionate about something it seeps into every aspect of your existence.



Q: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

A:
Ideally I will be working largely on my own work supplementing my income through teaching and architectural/editorial photography.




Q: What are your interests and hobbies outside of photography?

A:
Socialising with friends and family, going to exhibitions, music, travelling and yoga.



David Blackmore is represented by Gallery Vassie [Formerly The Hug Gallery for International Photography] Amsterdam .

www.davidblackmore.co.uk


David Blackmore's exhibition ‘Detox’, will be in Draíocht’s Ground Floor Gallery from 9 March to 21 April 2007.

For further information about this or any exhibition in Draíocht, please contact: Visual Arts Officer, Draíocht / Tel: 01-8098026


For Marketing or Press information please contact: Nicola Murphy, Marketing Press & PR Manager, Draíocht Tel: 01-8098021

Leave a comment / 0 Comments

By Draíocht. Tags: Artist Interview, Visual Arts,

‹ First  < 59 60 61 62 63 >