ISSUE 5 FEBRUARY 2015
Joe Brennan Artist Contact
franck saucian rabid graphic designer visual artist
layla kuyper bad bitch public relations photographer
louise lynch malbona hundo editor photographer
A rt has always been part of me. I have been drawing since I can remember. I drew as a way to express myself and release my creativity and imagination. As a child I used to play around with a camera and I loved the sound of the shutter click. My real photography adventure started in 2009 in Glenveagh National Park. My friend and I went for a walk, he had a camera and asked me if I wanted to try taking few shots. This was the first time I ever used a DSLR camera. I shot some pictures of flowers, butterflies, trees and immediately fell in love with photography. My friend then spent many evenings teaching me the basics of manual shooting. Four months later I bought my first DSLR and I immediately became hooked up with macro photography. I have always been fascinated by tiny objects and my camera allowed me to see them in a completely different way. Since then, I have used my camera for everything from street photography to portraits to landscapes.
Last summer when I was in Poland on holidays my sister showed me my dad’s camera equipment. My dad unexpectedly passed away in 2003, prior to the beginning of my interest in photography and so I had not realised that he was so passionate about the photography also. I can remember having so many family photographs from childhood but I thought all families had them. Today, I think about how I wish my father was here to share this passion with me. I shoot using a full frame Canon 5D MK III. I only use natural light in my photography. I try to carry my camera almost everywhere especially to all the new places I visit. Sometimes photography is about being at the right place at the right time. The camera allows me to be creative, when I take the photo and when it is edited. I like the way that I can control the final look of the photo, and that I can make the beautiful moment or emotion even more beautiful. To me, photography is an art of observation. I just love to capture real moments, people on the streets, surrounding us nature, children, newborns in particular or family events. Those moments are only like this for a moment; they cannot be repeated or recreated. The camera allows me to capture moments that I would more likely have missed if I had not got my camera with me. Most importantly I do it for myself. It’s my passion, my addiction, and it’s the way I see life and everything around me: “If there is no passion in your life, then have you really lived?”( T. Alan Armstrong)
Everything my family did growing up had a hands on approach;
there was a very practical essence to everything we did. I grew up on a farm on the east coast of the United States. We were home educated and constantly encouraged to pursue activities we found interesting and to take what knowledge we could glean from them. Working with wood was a must, my father used horses for logging and forestry. In the woods we would build forts and ensure there was a plentiful supply of pointed sticks for both ourselves and any small army that may happen upon our current wooded outpost. As I got older I began to build bigger forts, tree houses and make toy boats. I think this was the first instance I remember carving or shaping timber. A Swiss army knife was the limit of my arsenal, however, the seed was sown and I bided my time. In the mean time I did a lot of sketching and painting as a teenager and became very involved with performance arts. To draw a long story in short; whilst living in Carndonagh in 2008 I built a tool shed. This marked the beginning of my carving escapade. Now I create in a renovated turf shed by the waterâ€™s edge, near Isle of Doagh, Inishowen. If I get an inspiration I must attend to it otherwise it will either haunt me or I will forget it ever existed. Once the plan is set and the carving and construction begins, I find great peace, my hands are allowed to go about as they please and generally I find my thoughts wander to other situations and attentions. It is a sort of meditation, creating focus so focus can be shared out amongst the haphazard brain. Carving involves using a large amount of material and is very inadaptable once it has started. I will go over the idea, then some variants, assess the available materials, then I spend time constructing and prepping. I love using reclaimed materials. I very much enjoy leaving certain aspects or markings on a piece that hint at a previous life or usage. Creating feels like a quiet desperation, willing the possibilities to remain mentally attended to long enough to bring them into the physical before adaptations and over engineering overwhelms the feelings of feasibility! I need to do it, the physical creation of an idea is evidence of capability. Proof.
was interested in Art from an early age. I can recall colour coordinating Lego pieces rather than building with them, and I would demolish my brothers creations and later rearrange the pieces by colour. Growing up surrounded by literature and beautiful artworks at home most certainly had an impact on my own creativity. At the age of six I recreated a Paul Klee painting ‘’Hat Kopf Hand Fuss’’ that is still hanging in my family home. My work may portray an emotion, a concept embedded in a medium, or most often a combination of the two. I work with a number of artistic methods - painting, ink wash, collage, print-making, mixed media, installations sculptures. I look at everything as a potential art medium, a material to be transformed, and this enables me to be resourceful. I use natural elements within my works such as earth, leaves, twigs, seaweed - depicting pattern, texture and structures in nature such as seed pods, structure of plants, leaves and trees. I spend a great deal of time in the outdoors taking photographs and during these ventures I record my thoughts and ideas. My passion for art has developed since I was very young, and has greatly expanded since beginning a course in Art and Design. The course is fresh, dynamic and stimulating and always evolving. I have an opportunity to dabble in textiles, ceramics, jewellery design, printmaking, sculpture, moving images and installations. Where I work depends entirely on the chosen medium. My garage gives me availability to work on larger projects. The garage space which allows me to work freely, spattering paint, not having to work in a clean organised fashion. However whilst working with acrylics on canvas I usually retreat to the sitting room. At times creating feels like taking a step out of reality, being taken away to place of tranquillity. I get lost in my imagination and working within the creative process. Sometimes the complete opposite feeling may arise, when I feel sheer frustration working under a given theme for college which differs greatly to the work I do freely, as I am confined to one subject matter but this has given me an opportunity to find new pathways, which is where the love for mixed media has stemmed from.
think my artistic journey started as soon as I could grasp as pencil in my hand. I started taking art classes in primary school and when I turned 12 I enrolled in a full time evening art school. When my family moved to Ireland from Lithuania in 2004, I was on the hunt for an evening art school here in Letterkenny. Peadar McDaid offered me private art classes. I cannot express in words how much his mentoring and help means for me. At this point in my life art exists on two levels, first, the production and second, the proposal of a further relationship that it may evoke between the viewer and the artwork. My ‘office’ moves with me, my lifestyle involves quite a bit of travel so I take my ‘studio’ everywhere I go. A sketchbook, two pencils and a rubber are the minimal requirements for my studio. Making of art feels good. It is like another world of thought and emotions. I mostly work hands on with my pieces. It is quite an intimate and zen experience for me. Most of the time I achieve quite a repetitive method, you could say ‘constrained’ by the materials that one is working with, but yet it is very meditative.I am more focusing my work on the aesthetic qualities of the experience. I enjoy being an observer of this ‘production’. It is a rather rewarding process for me to see the work go through its different stages of evolution and changes. Though sometimes it is rather difficult to make a decision between two things, not to mention three. As far as the making of the object or the artwork, the process in itself is a form of a relationship between what I am making and me. This relationship goes through its ups and downs through the existence of my artworks. Art is very experiential. The object or the artwork functions as triggers for an experience. The experience of tailoring such triggers truly has an ability to influence greatly on ones world. The right triggers can make the body tickle inside and out when experiencing the ‘making’ and the ‘observing’. Art has the ability to create small or large ‘sparks’. Those small sparks can ignite huge fires, or in other words create a powerful experience, for the artist and the observer. That fire has been burning within me since the early days of my life.
When I was growing up I would my sister drawing, she was
nine years older than me and brilliant at drawing. I used to pray and wish that I could draw like here, but I wasnâ€™t able to. I tried and tried and tried, and then when I was about thirteen, it was like a switch flicked over and I could suddenly draw. Sometimes I wonder that if she did not draw, would I have ever started. I work from my home, in my studio and gallery, which is on the family farm where I grew up. It is right beside my Mum and Dadâ€™s house in St. Johnston overlooking the River Foyle. I love it. It is so beautiful, especially during the day. I could never leave here. My sculptures are all one off pieces. I model them by hand and they take about one to two days each. After, I let them dry for about a week, I biscuit fire them, glaze them and then I fire them again. So they are all quite time consuming to create. When I am making ceramics I cannot wait to start painting again, and then when I have been painting for a few weeks, I cannot wait to start doing sculptures. I think it is the variety I love; if you are painting with oils all the time you could get bored, but when you are working with different mediums, it stays fresh. People always ask me what my favourite medium is, and I used to say I do not have a preference but when I think about it now I think I get more excited about painting than anything else. I am inspired by animals. I love them. I love their character, their expression and their personalities. For me they are just like people but in animal form. When I am creating something inspired from animals, it is the psyche of the animal I am trying to capture. I am also very inspired by light. I am hungry to create. I have to do it. It is my favourite thing to do. In the mornings I cannot wait to get into the studio to start something. I get so excited about starting new pieces. It is not even about what I do, it is who I am. It is what makes me tick, I need it. I think I get addicted to it.
creativity started as a child delving into the world of my imagination in play. I loved listening to stories at home around the kitchen table. Over the years I sang in groups and played in a band. I started writing in my late teens. I really started to take it seriously when my son was born. Then I met storyteller Liz Weir and realised I could be a storyteller – I did not have to be old, wear a hat, have a strange accent and say ‘in my father’s time’, the image I had of a storyteller from watching the great Eammon Kelly. I was telling and creating stories, writing and found my way into writing for theatre and performing. Creativity is a driving force that demands to be listened to. I see the world in terms of stories and I need to respond and create my meaning. I would go as far as to say it is a spiritual act, responding to the creative forces in the universe and playing my part. I do it by keeping my ears and eyes open, by keeping my mouth shut sometimes and listening, the most important thing to do as a storyteller. It also means spending time alone writing, drawing words, ideas and images out and hoping they will form into a story. It means editing, rewriting, getting frustrated and then seeing it come together. It means setting something aside and waiting for the voice to whisper what is next. Sometimes this can take years. Having a notebook at hand to write down the word, line, idea that comes unexpectedly in café, on the way into a show, something someone says at a performance or a wayward thought as I doze off at night. My process is a varied one because I work in different mediums and I perform. I write wherever it happens. I do have a small writing room at home but I also find it conducive to write where I can observe people and pick up inspiration. I also shape my stories in my head a lot and I find going for walks really inspiring. I also love to collaborate with others to create work and that means having other peoples insights to fuel my own. I have this incredible impulse to create. It is a gift that the universe has given me. I choose to honour this and share it with others. I am very curious about the world and all that makes it up. I want to share that curiosity and the insights I glean through my work. It makes me a better person, it helps make sense of it all for me and I want to share my insights with people. It is also a privilege to perform for people to make them laugh, sometimes cry and to touch their lives.
Featured Art Form
Creativity is an energy. It is not born, it does not die, it only transforms. The sixth artist featured in each issue will be a writer. Writers craft images, words which inspire images within us. The visual form is deeply connected with all other forms of creativity, it grows from the same tree, is rooted in the same terra and gains energy from the same earth. It reminds us how everything we create is inspired from the art that we adulate, the art that we revile, the art that is imprinted and the art that we forget. Joe Brennan has composed a short piece of creative prose inspired by Mantas Poderysâ€™ and Monika Janusâ€™ images.
I begged him not to go. He wouldn’t listen. ‘What do you know?’ he spat. Maybe. I did know what he was doing was stupid, only bad could come from it and I loved him. Could I tell him that? The first part yes. But it was all full of anger and hurt. As if it was my fault. To him it was. I was to blame for everything. I know I made mistakes. Some pretty spectacular ones. It didn’t start off that way. This tiny bundle arrives and you promise that you are not going to fuck this up. This is your chance to get things right. You’ve lived through enough shit to know what is out there. What’s inside. Life happens. Things don’t go as hoped. Wished. Ok so I can try to blame someone or something too. Part of me blames myself. But I know I made my own stupid choices and I can’t blame anyone. I want to and did. Look I did my best. That wasn’t much I admit but I can’t accept that what he did was my fault. I can accept my failures but his as well? At what point do we stop blaming others and take responsibility for our own lives? Why couldn’t I just have said it? ‘I love you son, please don’t do this.’ It was easy to whisper into the ear of that baby ‘I love you and I’ll protect you.’ What happens as they grow, begin to understand words and speak their own, that it gets harder to say? Then stops. ‘He’s knows I love him. I’m his father.’ That’s what I always told the wife. I guess contributing sperm doesn’t make you a dad. I look across at the little bundle of joy cuddling into his mother. I’m captivated by those tiny innocent feet. In the years ahead those feet will grow and carry him in the world. They will give him the power to walk away or stay. I pray he will make the right choices and has the strength not to feel the need to press the destruct button. I promise, knowing I will make mistakes, to be here. I’ll think of my son Paudie and I’ll remember to say the words this time. I cross the room and kiss his mother on the forehead. A second chance with a grandson who has no daddy.
a r t i c o n t
Marina Hamilton www.marinahamilton.net
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s u b m i s s i o n p o l i c y Art Dogs are on the prowl, we have got the itch and we are hunting, digging and searching for artists, we want to celebrate art in all its forms all over Donegal! Have you been creating? Has your work been seen by only a few eyes? perhaps even just you and your dog? Are you nestled away in the hills whittling wood into the wee hours? Painting, drawing, doodling or sculpting in your spare time? Excellent. We want to hear from you!
79or may not We are looking specifically for artists who may have exhibited their work before, artists who may not even consider themselves artists. People who create because they must, because it is core to who they are. Does this sound like you or somebody you know? For submissions please send us some photos of your work, a little bit of information about yourself and where you are based. We will come and photograph you and your work. E-mail: email@example.com Facebook: facebook.com/artdogsmagazine We look forward to hearing from you! Woof.
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