Conor

How to be friends with an artist?

You might have asked you several times how to start being friends with people in creative industries or even better, becoming a pal of someone who actually works as an artist. I do not want to be rude, but no, that is not how you make friends. Since working at a museum which includes a residency program I was lucky enough to organize monthly get-togethers with artists from all over the world in different genres (architecture, music, visual art, literature). Through the AIR Artist In Residence program I have met around fifty artists in the last two years who I got a long with well, did not have a chance to talk any further or who just passed by my time schedule.

Conor O’Grady

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I met Conor through the residency program in November 2017. We only had very little time because he stayed for one month only, it was Christmas time and we were both really busy. From what I have observed back then was, that Conor watches and analyses his surroundings very thoroughly. He as a great sense of observation, is sensitive and interested in topics others would describe as taboo. In his daily practice observation is a relevant, if not the most important part,

“For me the art has to be a catalyst for other things, and the work you make has to be a catalyst for debate or discussion, something further. My real drive when I’m making work is to deal with themes like sexism, homophobia, otherness, and being able to describe how otherness – anything but the norm – feels …” Mayo News, 2015

You always meet twice…

I was delighted when I contacted Conor to meet up again in Ireland. I visited his studio where we talked about current issues like the Repeal the 8th referendum as well as the conflict with Northern Ireland in connection with his current home base in County Donegal.

Observing others in their otherness with sensitivity and calmness is probably what amazed me the most. We took the chance and went to visit several places in Donegal. Letterkenny was probably the most striking ones. As if you could feel the tension between two magnetic poles. Interestingly the Donegal Regional Cultural Centre hosts a variety of art exhibitions, focusing on photography, in a somewhat stunning architecture. The building is designed by local architects MacGabhann which shows how broad the Northern parts of the republic of Ireland are. What I liked the most about it was that Conor and I got a chance to see the already closed exhibition about the border.

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What is up there? A lot of information about the people who live here or have something to say… © Lucie Taeubler

Wherever I went with Conor, he was looking for traces of humans on walls, streets, cobblestones or bridges. Stickers, graffiti, street art or other material coming from passing by human beings. He even found a conversation between two teenagers in a playground slide (at least he assumed so). Now, Conor has not only opened my eyes to look at trashy stuff on walls – tags or badges – he inhabits outdoor spaces himself through interventions. I am really looking forward to his exhibition with the Westport Custom House Studios and more to come.

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I found this treasure in Cork. © Lucie Taeubler

Follow Conor’s blog to learn more about his stories, thoughts and beautiful captures of reality.

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In Limerick For EVA International

It would be weird for me not to write about visual art. I have been working for artists, with artists, in galleries and museum spaces for almost ten years and have usually enjoyed myself. During my bus-roadtrip through Ireland I decided to go further South on the Wild Atlantic Way to visit a town called Limerick.

Limerick as a town has never been bright and shiny to me. Whenever I was there before, I tried to stay inside due to heavy rain or the chills outside temperatures gave me. This time, I visited Limerick with summery vibes and for a particular reason: EVA International!

EVA International takes place every other year and shows contemporary art in various venues. The venues around Limerick are special. Even the usual gallery space at Limerick City Gallery of Art showed off with some amazing work. I really appreciated Patricia Belli‘s monstrous chandeliers. I love their shades when hanging from the ceiling. I was struck by her work at the art gallery at first but the huge factory space at the former Condensed Milk Factory (and then Toffee factory) across river Shannon was another highlight for me.

#IHaveThisThingWithShades

An important impact on the Repeal the 8th referendum (May 25, 2018 – YES!) had the so-called Artists’ Campaign to Repeal the Eigth Amendment which also led to a procession for the opening of EVA International. The banners created and designed by the artists are show pieces in the factory.

Artists' Campaign to Repeal the Eighth Amendment

Sustainable and renewable energy happens to be always on my mind and so far I have no clue how we get out of this story. We need energy. We are dependent on it. Besides, power plants as well as solar plants have structured our environment and are designed to stick around for long. Artist John Gerrad took a very close look at solar plants. Whichever work I have looked at always leaves me with questions. I find it very hard to distinguish between what is real and what is animated… John Gerrard’s Western Flag was part of donaufestival Krems (where I come from!). Small world.

EVA International is on show until July 8. Try to get out there and see it, it is so worth the travel.

In connection with the art fair I decided to join a group of people at Ormston House, a cultural resource center. Words are their weapons at Stanzas which is a monthly get together of poets, writers and authors to perform in public. In addition to the referendum which took place that day, their theme was Vox Populi . I was invited to listen to some great poems about democracy, youth, first world problems and why to use the word shit more often to release stress. Watch my Instagram stories to know what I am up to next, plus, there are Co. Limerick Highlights to catch up with!

Details for EVA International

Limerick City Gallery of Art,
Pery Square
Limerick City, V94 E67F
Ireland

Details for Ormston House

Cultural Resource Centre
9-10 Patrick Street
Limerick City, V94 V089
Ireland

Opening hours
Wednesday-Saturday, 12-6pm

This article is not an advertisement, I have not been invited of any of the named corporates.