Monthly Archives: May 2010

Gone giddy.

Wednesday, at the end of the animation workshop Tess from The Kilkenny People called in to interview me and talk with the group, as well as a photographer.  This is the second to last workshop, so the pressure was on to try to complete work, things got a bit hectic and giddiness set in. I hope she managed to make some sense of it all.

I caught Tess on camera too, but wait, who’s that rushing around in the background? Prizes to identify mystery person.

This is what you are up against if you take on a residency here, work harder or you get a clout.


Windows, illustrators & biscuits.

Ever since I have painted the red shape on the gallery wall my plans have been changing, the space depicts what I am going to do, and the red shape has changed this dramatically. Plan ‘B’ is getting put into action.

The tuesday evening workshop was very possative, the realisation that everything has to be finished by next week made everyone step up a gear, and also I think its all making more sense now as they understand the process much more. The hardest challenge for me was trying to take a photo of people working without eating a biscuit in the shot, I obviously failed with this  challenge.

Also, the last of the funny window shots, as its now my window again! I am going to draw on this window, its mine!!! So their moment of fame is over, I do feel a bit mean about it.

Alé the designer called by to collect images for the exhibition PR, below was me showing him the stop motion program, no one is safe from my in built camera! He says he will call in again and try out the program.

On Tuesday, Steve an illustration student called in and started to work on the collaborative chalk animation. He spent the day here, I had to lock him in while I went to the garage (there is an escape button, he wasn’t really locked in) He did well over 200 pictures, more than the whole of Kilkenny managed to do in 5 weeks! Below one of the photos took of Steven’s drawings.

Tunnel under the arts office.

I am loving my  time here so much here that I am starting to dig a tunnel under the arts office so they cannot remove me after June 18th.

This week I had a visit from the KCAT students. I showed them around and talked about whats involved in an artists residency and about my own work. I showed them some films and also asked them to contribute to the collaborative animation.

Heres a sneeky photo stop-motion I took

I will upload photos later, they are on Mary’s camera.

I get lots of people calling into the Art Office, some just want to hang a poster on the window and one guy came in just because he said the sign on the door said “Come on in!!!”. Its great talking to everyone, even if occassionaly I get an attack of ‘brain melt’ where I suddenly find I cannot string a sentence together coherently.

Franziska finished her work experience this week. this is a short animation card I made her. It was the least I could do after all her help painting.

Chairs and big skirts.

I finally decided to put a seat in the second lady with the glittery top.

Niki de Saint Phalle would have been an inspiration right back into my college days. I was always fascinated with “Hon” where Niki collaborated with four other artists and built a huge 25m reclining lady. Visitors entered between the legs, there was a milk bar and a cinema and other activities inside the figure.

Above is a picture of “Hon”;  a chair by Niki da Saint Phalle and one of the buildings from her “Tarrot Garden” in Tuscany, a subject for a future blog maybe.

Big skirts are often used in parades, below is Meg performing as “Squirty Lady” in 2004 Macnas parade. I am unsure whether to mention the amazing water system we had attached to Squirty Lady’s backpack in the blog, lets just say technical problems (paint clogged up in pipes, night before emergency painting!) meant Meg stayed dry on the day, but we had seen it in rehearsal, and it was great!

Below the paper machéing of the skirt and Franziska checking that the seat is safe enough, all part of her work experience training.

I am wondering about the paint job on the skirt, not entirely sure if I am happy with it, three layers of paint and it still looks streaky. A spray gun would sort it, or maybe I’l cover it in fabric. I will leave it for a few day s and get back to it.

Above, three of Kilkenny’s finest artistic talents all sitting on the seat in the skirt.

Dunmore East

These are two films from my two swimming sessions with Waterford and Carrick triathlon clubs in Dunmore East. The films are made for the triathlon clubs as a thank you for letting me swim with them. I concentrated on getting as many of them in as possible, for their enjoyment, they are not my art films.

This is the second week.

Water, swimming and art.

I am really enjoying my time here at John’s Street, I am over the half way mark now, and am working very hard, but I do wish I could sprout another set of hands as I can’t seem to work fast enough!

My cake wielding, vulture carrying lady attracted a good crowd over the weekend, it was great while working in my goldfish bowl (reference to the two large windows looking out onto John’s Street) to witness the reaction of passer byers to my work in the window, it gave me great confidence.

This weekend I had to postpone the weekly swim filming in order to catch up with my work. I will train with Waterford Triathlon swimmers on at Dunmore on Monday evening though.

There are many artists in all different mediums who choose to use water and swimming in their art work. Here are a few that I have found interesting.

The late Roger Deakin wrote the book “Waterlog” a diary of his swims in the lakes and rivers throughout Britain.

This book is an inspiration to many swimmers and artists, and he well known in the ‘wild swimming’ groups in UK. Roger Deakin took inspiration from reading John Cheever’s short story “The Swimmer”.

I haven’t read the book, but I did see the film many years ago. It was brought to my attention at a time when there was a TV advert for Levis also inspired by the book “The Swimmer”. Below is a picture of Burt Lancaster, star of the film.

“The Swimmer” is a very bizzare film, and it doesn’t come recommended!  Although I really like the idea of the swimming home through all the swimming pools, there are some dodgy scenes, for instance Burt Lancaster running along side a black stallion in his speedos!

Below are two films, a snippet from “The Swimmer” trailer and the Levis advert.

Gary Coyle is an artist who documents his daily swims at The Forty Foot in Dun Laoghaire using photos, film and stage performance.

He mentioned the artist Richard Long who records his walks as his art practice. To quote Gary Coyle – “the thought entered my head, if Richard Long’s walks are art, why aren’t my swims?”

The Irish Times, August 8th 2009 article by Gemma Tipton.

I went to the Gary Coyle’s performance at the RHA the week before I came down to Kilkenny and I really enjoyed the opinions he had on performance art, how he was using his everyday activity as part of his work and performance.

Another quote – “I’ve got this everyday activity, this thing that happens at the bottom of my road and I’ve put it through an art mincer to see what comes out of it,”

The Irish Times, August 8th 2009 article by Gemma Tipton.

Myself and two Galway artists, Jennifer Cunningham and Lisa Sweeney did “The East-West Swim” the day after Gary Coyle’s performance. First we went in at The Forty Foot and when we arrived back to Galway that evening we went swimming in at Blackrock!

Anita Murphy a Galway artist  photographed the swimmers who meet daily at Blackrock swimming spot in Salthill, Galway

The other day Niamh Finn sent me the link to the Cois Céim dance company who have just made a short dance film where the two dancers are performing under water. This film was chosen for the RTÉ Dance On The Box series.

I am in the process of working out logistics for a “Swim To Work Day”. This is something I have always wanted to do, and now in Kilkenny my dream can come true! I can walk down to Green Bridge from my accomodation and literaly swim all the way to the front door of the Arts Office, John’s Street. What an opportunity!

I do have to find someone with a kayak or a competent swimmer to accompany me for safety, I have found lots of swimmers around the area, but no one in Kilkenny town centre yet.


Dave Donovan

May 14, 2010 at 11.01am

As someone who has had time to observe the year round swimmers in Galway I am intrigued by the whole ritual of the process. Not just the immersion itself but the walk down to the sea, the walk back and the exercises that some of the swimmers do before they dress themselves again. There are in Galway several different groups who swim at different beaches and at different times. It is an almost telepathic process as to who ends up swimming where and with whom. I have often asked my mother a daily swimmer herself how this comes about she can offer no explanation.Thank you for bringing attention to Roger Deakin’s book. I have read it and was intrigued throughout. Not only does he blend history, geography, natural history with personal recollections but does so with such skill. I would recommend his other books Wildwood and Notes from Walnut Tree Farm. In Wildwood there are several wonderful chapters on English and Australian painters whose work draws heavily on interaction with and immersion in the environment. Walnut Tree Farm is for the most part a facinating insight into what it means to be of a particular place.


vanessa daws

May 15, 2010 at 12.55pm

I agree, it is another world with the year round swimmers, I have always been used to swimming on my own in the lake, often questioning my sanity. If I lived by the sea I would certainly become a great, tough swimmer! The guys down here have a website and email each other as to where the swims are, this is what enabled me to meet up with them and record the films.

Visits and visitors.

The Tuesday evening youth group seem to enjoy having their portraits on the window in John’s Street! I asked them if they would think about their portrait animations and bring in anything that may be relevant or that they’d want to include in the animations for the next week.

The Wednesday morning animation group had a break this week, Teresa came in, and also some ladies from the “5 to 6 Kilkenny Women’s Art Group”, which is an all inclusive arts project for women, they have their own house which is their studio and workshop space.

This was more of a casual meeting rather than a structured workshop. I explained what I was teaching in the animation workshops and they all took part in both the chalk and drawing “collaborative animations” as a taster.

The SOS group called in again on Thursday with two different groups, again this wasn’t a structured workshop. The lads got stuck into the collaborative chalk drawing and everyone seemed to enjoy the visit.

Later that Thursday I had arranged to go KCAT  in Callan to talk to Declan and see the animations they had made there. KCAT is an open access arts and life long learning initiative and runs art and theatre courses, exhibits and performs locally and  internationally.

Declan runs a three week animation module at KCAT. Andrew Pike one of the studio artists showed me his epic cut out animation and I also got to see Aisling’s beautiful horse animation,  Aisling is in the Wednesday morning animation group, and although I knew animation came very naturally to her, this film really blew me away.

I also picked up a chair from Jean at KCAT, all will be revealed in a future post!

The Barrow.

I have decided to use ‘The Three Sisters’ which are the three local rivers, The Nore, The Barrow and The Suir as a starting point for my new work here in Kilkenny. The Three Sisters all join at Barrow Bridge and enter the sea at Waterford.

I intend to swim parts of the three rivers, experimenting with recording under water film and photos, this research part of my work will be on going as I am relitavely new to using film in art work. I also am using ‘The Three Sisters’ to base the characters in my new work on, these new pieces may connect with the under water footage, but it is still at experimental stages.

I met Niamh FitzGibbon over the bank holiday weekend who is a member of the Waterford Open Water Swimmers and has also swam the Channel in a relay and just in togs, in fact you have to wear togs to swim it as its The Channel Swim’s rules.

Niamh showed me The Barrow River and we went for a lovely swim, I was quite supprised by the strong current as the river looked so calm from the shore, I was glad to have an expert swimming with me who knows that stretch of the river very well.

Below is a short film of the swim.