Page 1


















franck saucian rabid graphic designer visual artist

layla kuyper bad bitch public relations communication photographer

louise lynch malbona hundo editor photographer

Donegal is art. Carved by waves and glaciers, by man and woman. Always the land and the sea and the sky. Donegal is storied. Rich and tragic and glorious histories lap and twine. There a king, there a saint, there a pauper. Donegal is a muse. It is a canvas, it is a palette of ever changing tones. Donegal breeds art. The isolated, the everyday, the not-seen-ingalleries, the art that dare not speak its name. We have this compulsion, an itch, an energy. Sometimes a fear, a fever, creating maniacally in the wee hours and burning it the next day. Art is love and joyous, quietly crafting meditatively. This vision, the voice in our mind or the fire in our core, exalts civilizations and topples them. At its essence, it is breathing, it is life. We create for ourselves, we have no choice. Art is a bone buried in the backyard of the mind. Art Dogs is a free online magazine exploring the creativity and passion of artists based in Donegal. Curious, playful, and full of buried treasure.

art dogs we dig




guess it all started when I got a camera for my 21st birthday. I started at first taking photos of landscapes. Until recently I have spent my whole life living on the side of Mount Errigal in Dunlewey. The mountains have always been a part of natural environment. They will always be get peace. They are my escape but I have spending too much time in them can become isolation.

my life; it is my the place where I realised also that like a fortress of

I have always had an interest in astronomy and this naturally led to me taking pictures of the night sky. Stargazing inspired me to draw with light using long exposure photography. For me it is capturing something that we cannot see. It makes me feel alive, there is a particular satisfaction to it. I do it because it is a release; it is fun and it is exciting. It helps me express myself in so many ways. I was going through a difficult time last year and going out with my camera and experimenting with light helped me express how I was feeling. The funny thing is, I did not realise how the images I created were reflecting what I was going through until I looked back on them and realised there was a story in them. I use whatever space is available - kitchen, back garden, mountain, lake, forest. I do it with a Nikon D90 and 11-16mm wide angle lens. I set my camera up on my tripod and set the exposure to a few seconds. I use whatever I can find - torches, phone screen, light, finger lights, bird feeder, chain, steel wool and fire. Then I start to draw.






began early. I think all people are born creative but coming from a creative family definitely helped me. My dad is an inventor, who makes beautiful stained glass windows. My mum is (amongst other things) a great artist, dressmaker and interior designer. We are all collectors, some may call us hoarders. My family are always making things; be it costumes, furniture, food or art! I have always been around people creating in one way or another. I do the same thing now with my kids. Art feels joyous. I would not be me if I did not do it. It is my religion. Creating feeds my soul. Sometimes I imagine the way I feel, after creating something, is the same way others feel after going to church. I am nearly always working on something. At the moment it is handmade gifts and a twenties style headpiece for the next night at the Revelry. The Revelry is a cabaret night held in a club in Letterkenny which I am part of organising. If I do not collage for a while I start to feel it building up inside of me. I create my collages in a different way to the other art forms I work with. Collage is a quiet and intuitive way to work. I just have to dedicate some time to it. I work at home most of the time, mainly at the kitchen table. Recently I have been making little elves and felting wool for their blankets. I have also done a series of splatter paintings featuring cut out figures from 1950’s Women’s Weekly magazines. Finding time for art is not always easy. I have five kids so I cannot just spend days on end painting or creating whatever I feel like whenever I have an idea. I have to slip a bit of creativity into everything I do which makes parenting and life in general much more fun.






eramics can be challenging; it can be a very unforgiving discipline. When these challenges are overcome and you end up with a successful piece, it feels very rewarding and worth all the hard work. I started working with ceramics four years ago while I was in second year of Art College. It was during this time I began working with guns as a concept and I have been using this concept ever since. The project has changed form quite a bit since its inception and has been changing and evolving over the years. The concept behind the guns began when I was given my first self-directed project. This original project looked at how images of violence and conflict were portrayed in the media. I then incorporated this into the design; glazing in a way that mimicked the colours shown in newspapers, television and on the internet. As the project progressed I realised that images of wars and foreign conflicts were becoming part of everyday life and were so commonplace that the majority of people did not engage with them anymore. The latest series of guns in this project were designed and decorated in a domestic fashion. Instruments of war glazed in a neutral white with typical household images of flowers, plants and little animals, symbolising the infiltration of war into daily life. The collages on tiles came later on and have a symbiotic relationship with the guns. Conversely, they are everyday objects covered with images of war. All the guns are made from a plaster mould which is taken from a realistic replica of a gun and left to dry. Liquid porcelain, known as slip, is poured into the mould. After the excess is drained away and the cast is allowed to dry, imperfections are removed. It is then bisque fired, then glazed. After it comes out of the kiln, I apply digital transfers of the flowers and the pieces are fired again for a final time at a lower temperature. The tiles are simple kitchen/bathroom tiles with my collages applied with the same method as the digital transfers. All the ceramic pieces were done in college in Galway. I do all research, collages and drawings in my home in Letterkenny.




Art has always been my platform for expression. At sixteen,

I bought my first set of oil paints and was hooked, completely enthralled with how the paint mixed and created shadows on the canvas. My muse was music, in particular grunge, enabled me paint the inner depths of human emotion. Encaustic art, art made from wax, started one rainy day when I took a notion to melt one of my candles onto canvas with a lighter. My parents were not impressed but I loved it. I was able to create pieces of art where colours melt before your eyes and landscapes are filled with detail and depth. Art can be painful. I cannot wear gloves, so I often get hot wax on my hands and it can get very uncomfortable. Apart from this, Encaustic art feels like I am part of something, part of the landscape I grew up in. I feel that I am contributing to an art form that does not get much attention, and this makes me feel lucky. I use an Encaustic iron, wax, and non-absorbent card. Once the wax is melted, I let the iron be my guide in the process. I begin with the background and then begin to build the foreground by dabbing the iron gently against the paper, which creates patterns reflective in nature. With great care and precision, the finer details of the painting are done by using the tip of an iron. The images that are created are reflective of the wonderment of nature, in particular, grass, flowers, mountains and lakes. The sky is always embossed with tones of red and yellow which can be seen at dusk. I have never created an art space for myself, I do not believe in it. To lock myself away would disconnect me from the world. The kitchen table is the perfect work space; I can accomplish my work, while also eating my dinner or feeding my eight month old son. It is also very accessible, whenever I want I just sit and down and make art, that is the way it should be. Art is my meditation. It has always been my place to go to if I need to express my feelings and emotions. It assists me in making sense of the world, while showing others the beauty of it. As a young child, I spent my days running through fields, climbing mountains and swimming in lakes. I feel that when I paint, especially with wax, I can return to this time, when nature was my personal canvas. 46




My first camera was an offensively bright pink Barbie camera

that came in a set with matching binoculars. I was 7 and I loved it. I was hooked, I took hundreds of photos in low light and would often receive my photos back from the Chemist with a quality issue sticker right over the middle. Disappointed but undeterred I kept trying, although often the photos would still include my fingers. When I was a teenager I felt the urge to try photography again. I had a little digital camera and a film SLR, until that broke and I started painting for a while. Badly. I picked up a camera again a few years later and put down (most of) the paintbrushes and now only occasionally take photos with my fingers over the lens. Nowadays, I use a Nikon D7000, some random lenses, filters and a broken tripod. Then I press some buttons and hope for the best. I sometimes wear a beret if I am not feeling arty enough, it always helps me get in the mood. I call this Tuesday morning. The great thing about photography is I get to do it everywhere. Hills, lakes, events, in the car and in houses but mostly I find myself at the coast. The sea energises, rejuvenates and inspires me. Staring into the seemingly endless horizon, the sea breeze blowing through my hair and hearing nothing but the wind and the ebb and flow of the waves is such a wonderful feeling. Sometimes I do it because I feel something and I am unsure how to express or articulate myself in words but need to release it and pictures feel simple, easy, complete. I mostly do it because it makes me happy. How does it feel? like custard. Contentment. I always get those words mixed up. I do it because I love it. I do it because I get to lay in the hills staring at the night sky waiting for shooting stars. I do it because I get to stand in the sea getting my feet wet watching the colours of a sunset explode in the sky.





always made up stories. As a kid, I was very influenced by schlocky cartoons and movies that were saccharine and not how I experienced the world. My writing never felt like that, my world certainly did not. Every time I tried comedic stuff my writing took on a discernibly darker tone, especially as I got older. I think the last couple of years have become about learning to balance those two extremes. Writing feels like torture. I struggle a lot with creativity. I picked up a lot of bad habits and am incredibly impatient so I have issues with starting and abandoning things. When I relax into it, it is pure freedom. I still need tons of external validation and am hamstrung by my own expectations, this taints writing for me, I want to do it for myself and not for validation so I always end up not doing it. Do you guys know where I can get some counselling vouchers? It builds up in me and I get sick. My unexpressed creativity hurts other people in my life because I am an asshole when I am pent up like that. When I am feeling good, no pressure and all that, it is really enjoyable. Writing is pretty solitary and since I keep trying to come up with excuses not to write I need to have a clear head to begin. When I am not doing something I would consider ‘productive’ or ‘creative’ in terms of art I end up stress doodling. I work full time at something I would not class as creative, so I try and sneak a little creativity in there to entertain myself too. Writing happens mostly in my head. I take notes on my phone when I am walking and generally any time thoughts pop into my head. I start and stop notebooks sometimes and I do some research on ideas I am interested in, but most of the time the words just form and I jot them down. The physical writing happens in my kitchen or bedroom. It is something I can never ever force. Nothing happens if I do.


Featured art form

The prose

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 implanted and the art that we forget. Anonymous has composed a short piece of creative prose inspired by Layla Kuyper’s image from this issues collection. This picture is featured on the front cover.

MOLECULEs At night the universe hums and I cannot turn it off. Some low e is embedded and it dares me to find the source. The television static speaks and I am blinded by its black and white mandala. I walk a spiral staircase, and find myself in the company of a person I do not know, who greets me as a friend. We talk and she hands me a video tape with ‘you and I’ written on its newly adhered label. The ink is black.

‘My attic has been emptied’ I say, ‘my case is too heavy’. ‘For what?’, she says, ‘for who?’ I leave the room and smell wood smoke. Embers. It is cloudy in here I think. I am clouded. Places and faces swirl, inner rock pools dark and teeming with life. Blue faces run in a train line in front of me. Everyone I know or knew or will. None of them

have names I can remember, but all of them smile. It is all there. I am not all there. I walk. Outside. It is a frenzy now. Colour, scent and sound wash over me and I am drowning in noise. I can not break apart a moving palette, I cannot separate the birds from the sky. I seek a calm place but every stretch of this land is uneven in its beauty. Lumpy mossen ground, heather clumps pulled into the clutching fingers of bog and the veining briars that map the dry places. Tree roads knotted with antiquity, markers of long dead hands and places that have names that are a thousand years old. I am less creative, less connected to it all. The names become explanatory and evident, the hill, the lake, the road of crushed stones. All childish descriptions sound poetic in Irish. I hear the sea and the land gives up its signs. The sand creeps in on adventurous breezes and colonizes roadways, gathering in dust groups and finding its way into my shoes and pores. The sound is distant still, muffled by beachheads or rush covered dunes, but audible in this quiet. That swirl. It dares me to breathe its salt. It dares me to be. My case is heavy and carried one handed. I shuffle it from left to right, from logic to language, and back again, that old game. I walk further and the physicality relaxes me. I am embodied in a pendulum motion of hips and knees and feet. I hear the noise of me, flat footed and flapping, weighed down by memory, and thoughts are quieted by the repetition, the mantra of movement. The road gives way now to more foot worn pathways, and the brush of reeds in the semi light is soft. I pad through deepening sands that shift over me. I play as a cast away, shipwrecked, trundling to the shore. It is quiet. The air is never still, though in between beats I can catch the world asleep and the water slowly brushing its way towards me. The atmosphere soaks me. I am dazed by it. A peace lives here. I forget I am bones. The light is fading and in some reversed logic I squint my eyes, squeezing the shutter closed to let in more sun. The gods, amphibious, emerged from this sea and embedded themselves in our clovered hillsides. Stones mark older stones now faded and anonymous. Only lichen and projected desire for a past most glorious remain. A battle, a temple, just rocks. The sea is eternal, a fitting birthplace for us all. I wish for a storm, where uncontained, the sea throws its force at me, acting out an ancient vendetta and scraping me away one molecule at a time.

a c

r o

t n

i t

s a

t c

s t

Brendan O’Donnell Taryn Gleeson Gearoid MacFhionnaile Kat Dempsey Layla Kuyper Anonymous They are cannot contact them. We can confirm they are not a robot and are in fact one single entity of flesh and consciousness. That is all you need to know.

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! We are looking specifically for artists who may or may not 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: Facebook: We look forward to hearing from you! Woof.








Artists retain full copyright over all artwork featured in Art Dogs magazine and has been published with full informed consent and permission. All other content is

Š Art Dogs Magazine 2014, All Rights Reserved.

Issue 1  

Welcome to Art Dogs! Art Dogs is a free online magazine exploring the creativity and passion of artists based in Donegal. Curious, playful,...

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you