As any of you who know me will know, Italy holds a very special place in my creative core. Two years ago I went on Erasmus to an academy of Fine Arts in Bologna for five months and not only was it hugely influential at the time, it continues to inform much of my work, even now. One thing that really resonated with me was how little that institution differentiated between art and design. Printmaking and painting could intertwine with illustration and editorial arts without hierarchy.
As someone whose work is figurative and often illustrative it was immensely freeing to use any means at my disposal to tell a narrative or set a scene. The courses I took in Bologna in Graphic Novel drawing, Illustration and Editorial Arts clearly shaped the body of etchings I presented at my grad show. Of course the time I spent there was equally special because of the people I met, one of whom, musician and songwriter Francesco Guarino, has remained a creative collaborator.
It was through my Italian language teacher, beautiful Brigida that we were introduced, at a jazz gig. I told him I was a musician too and before the evening ended he had offered to help get me gigs there. We played separately, together, in harmony, in our own languages, and (poorly) in each others, until my return to Dublin. More recently Francesco asked my to do the artwork for his upcoming album, a collection of exquisite lyrics and folk melodies.
Here’s a sneak peak. I will let you know when it’s released because to hear it is to love it!