Giving yourself space from your work

The Bugs Go To Hell, 2022
Acrylic on Canvas, 25 x 25cm
Always Watching – In Orange, 2022
Acrylic and oil on canvas, 152 x 92cm

Please tell us a bit more about your creative process, from an idea to a completed piece.

I often feel like my brain is going a mile a minute. Sometimes I make drawings and sketches, sometimes the painting just happens. I work on multiple pieces at once. One a painting is nearing being finished, I leave it for a few days/weeks before returning to it. Giving yourself space from your work is important – hard but important. If I have looked at something for too long I’ll turn the painting around for a while. I work in layers, often starting with pencil, then ink, then acrylic and then oil on top.

At the end of your artist statement you write “And they will always be colourful. Colour is my constant.” Are you able to put into words, how colours or working with colours make you feel or more generally speaking, how does painting and creating make you feel?

Honestly, bright colours make me really really happy. I enjoy looking at bright, colourful, textured art. It is important to me that making my art makes me smile. I like to bring humour and colour into my work. I spend a lot of time coming up with colour palettes. I love hearing what other people get from my work, and how they interpret it. Often they tell me they can see aspects of their own thoughts and emotions in my work which is really nice to hear. I enjoy incorporating text into my paintings, but making it difficult to see it all without some close looking. If you look closely sometimes you can get a glimpse into my chaotic brain and raw thoughts/jokes in word form.

I enjoy looking at bright, colourful, textured art. It is important to me that making my art makes me smile.

The Experiment Bed, 2022
Oil on canvas, 30x40cm
Detail from A Martyr To Nerves, 2022
Acrylic and ink on canvas

What are you currently working on?

Over the summer, I re-found my love for oil paint. Due to various studio rules/temperatures etc, I have not been using oils for the past 2 years and it is so nice to return to them. I also stopped using them because I paint a lot, and quickly, so I was impatient with the drying time but this is something I have learnt to appreciate now. I am working on a series of 30 x 40cm + paintings in response to drawings/sketches I made over the summer. I am also currently experimenting with working off the stretcher frame for larger works. Currently I am obsessing over different ways to display these – dowels, messy sewing, wire etc. I’m also working on building up certain parts of my painting while leaving other parts more stripped back, and continuing to build up my database of recurring symbols in my universe.

Any advice for fellow emerging artists that you’d like to share?

One amazing thing I’ve learnt is that you really can’t compare your achievements to other artists – you will just go crazy! We have all had different life experiences, different opportunities and have different paces. The best thing you can do is to just keep sharing your work with the world and getting yourself out there. I know it can be a headache for some people, but apps like Instagram are great if you are not yet at the stage of exhibiting. Be happy for yourself for getting into that small, student run exhibition. Show up to crits if you’re in art school and volunteer to do an artist talk if you can. I had to do one at the RCA and although I was terrified, I felt so much more confident after knowing that I can talk about my work to a large audience.

Corrupting, Dripping, Bleeding Lines Of Time, 2022
Install shot, acrylic and ink on canvas, 220 x 150 cm

Any emerging artists you’d like to recommend?

Yes! I studied with artists Ana Benavides, Kashin Patel and Kate Howe at the Royal College and am really intrigued by these artist’s work and work ethic. Kate also has a gallery/project space in London (RuptureXibit) where she lets emerging artists apply to curate solo and group shows. I have exhibited there multiple times and curated my first show in London there. Her space is incredible and welcoming and she is so generous in helping emerging artists get their work out there – highly recommended, it is turning into something super special.

Where can we see your works currently?

I am currently showing some works in an exhibition Towards A New Intellectual Cosmos: A Reflection on Contemporary Forms of Expressions with the online platform Daa Arts (click here to visit).

And, last question: what are your hopes for the future?

I want to always be able to give myself the time to make art. In the future I hope to be able to give myself more resources to go bigger with my work. One of my dreams would be to have a residency with a show at the end in a project space where I can go as crazy as I want with the space, obviously an unlimited budget would help 😉  I just want to keep painting and getting better and better each day. I relocated to London as there are more opportunities for the type of work I make here rather than Belfast, however one day down the line it would be amazing to do some more things in Belfast, where the art scene is getting more and more exciting. At the moment, I just want to keep painting in my studio in London, exhibiting, experimenting, going to exhibitions and developing my current body of work.

Get in touch
with Aoibhin
Instagram: @artist_aoibhin

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