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Could you please give some advice to our younger readers out there who might want to pursue a career as an artist?

«Go to art college. It doesn't seem as necessary now but critical education is invaluable. And work your asses off!»

When did you move to London and why? I moved eight years ago. Cork is nice but big cities are always best for artists. There are a lot of artists here so it pushes you on. The art market it quite healthy too which always helps. What does a typical day in the life of Conor entail? It's all very dull to be honest. I get up early and hit the gym with my mate four days a week. Being self-employed can be tricky with the discipline but exercising early in the morning sorts me right out. The rest of the day is basically painting loads, eating loads, drinking too much coffee and avoiding my emails. When did your education in fine arts merge with your passion for graffiti - by using spray paint and oil colors? It happened about half way through art college. I loved both worlds and thought it made most sense to bring them together to see how they got on. My tutors weren't too into it at the time so it’s amazing how the attitudes towards graffiti have changed in just ten years. What do you like most about each medium? They're both incredibly vast and varied in their own ways but I like the control of historical painting and the immediacy of graffiti.

Looking back, what was the biggest boost to your career? There have been a few good moments over the years. The first was in 2005 when I exhibited a painting called 'Turn Up The Silence' at the Outside Institute. It was my first time exhibiting within the London scene so that piece brought me a lot of attention and opened a few doors. You are being represented by the famous Lazarides Gallery. How did the collaboration come about? Steve opened the gallery in 2006, about three months after my first show in London. He was looking for new artists and my show was still fresh in peoples’ minds as there weren't a lot of shows happening back then so the timing worked out nicely. Let's talk about your art. How would you describe it to someone who has never seen it before? It’s a modern take on historical paintings, re-painting the past but with a few modern elements thrown in to annoy the history buffs. Being a professional artist represented by galleries also means having to answer lots of questions about the content of your art. Do you think it is really necessary to speak about your intentions? I prefer to let the paintings do the talking as words aren't my strongest point, but it’s always good to let people know what your work is about. I find a lot of people get the wrong idea by judging it at face value, as I often do with the work of others. And if there is no way out, what’s your response? I tell a few lies! You also like to mix it up in terms of the content. Where do you get the ideas for your images? I used to go to historical re-enactment events to photograph the men dressed up as soldiers. I liked that false sense of power and authority. But more recently, with the help of a couple of photographers, I've been staging elaborate photo shoots with models, costumes and props. I like exploring systems of power and how they fall apart. What goes up must always come down.

Vardo, Norway, 2012

www.conorharrington.com

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Profile for Amateur Magazine

Amateur Magazine 011  

Eleventh issue of Amateur Magazine. An independent, artist driven print publication with an open eye on art, illustration, design, DIY cultu...

Amateur Magazine 011  

Eleventh issue of Amateur Magazine. An independent, artist driven print publication with an open eye on art, illustration, design, DIY cultu...

Profile for amateur