Irish artists to know on Instagram

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From murals and prints to tattoos, Victoria Levins is a highly sought after artist, based in Dublin. Being queer permeates her work, and her sense of pride and belonging radiates from her work. Most recently she took part in We Are Mná, an event that raised over €15,000 for Women’s Aid, the Dublin Rape Crisis Center and the Danú Project where 8 tattoo artists spent over 11 hours tattooing during a a fundraising marathon.

Victoria paints with coffee and a documentary (available on YouTube) called The Passion Project shows her process. Her portrait of Judy Garland can be seen on George’s Street in Dublin accompanied by the words Trans Love. Sam Smith and Macklemore reposted his portraits of them.

  • See her work on vldc_tattoo and a wider variety of her art @victorialevinsofficial
Murals saying Trans Love on the corner of Georges Street in Dublin by artist Holly Pereira and Victoria Levins. Photo: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

The Illustrator – Jacky Sheridan

If you like fun and bold illustrations, a dollop of dog memes, and references to 90s dance bangers, you’ll love Jacky Sheridan. The illustrator and professor of art at the University of Ulster creates dynamic work with a huge dose of humor. Although she’s worked with a slew of commercial clients, including Cadbury, TikTok, Jameson and JustEat, the common thread running through most of her work is to break down the stigma around what women can achieve. This includes a billboard for FAI Women’s Football, a cover illustration for Here and Queer: The Queer Girls Guide to Life by Rowan Ellis and banner-making workshops at Banana Block Belfast as part of the International Day of wife.

Creating art is innate for Jacky:

“I’ve always been a creative person since I was a kid, it’s not necessarily about sitting down and wanting to draw, but more of a compelling urge to express myself through silly doodles – that it’s a serious cause close to my heart or just how I feel about hot sauce.”

With over 5.6,000 followers on Instagram, Jacky loves the social networking it allows.

“Instagram has always been a great place to meet and bullshit other creatives about freelance issues, play around with your sketchbook work, and get feedback from your internet friends before launching a product into the world. “

  • Follow Jacky @jackysheridan
Illustration of Jacky Sheridan's poster for DJ Time of the Month at Lavery's Belfast
Illustration of Jacky Sheridan’s poster for DJ Time of the Month at Lavery’s Belfast

The Muralist – Conor Harrington

Cork-born, London-based artist Conor Harrington and is the painter responsible for the giant mural of an 18th century figure setting a food table in Bishop Lucey Park using raw materials from Pat McDonnell Paints.
After cutting his teeth creating graffiti in his hometown of Cork, Conor achieved worldwide fame, painting murals in New York, Miami, Paris, London, Warsaw, Copenhagen, Sao Paulo, San Juan and the wall of Bethlehem to name a few.

Fusing the techniques of classical and modernist painting, Conor not only deals with murals, but also with fine art paintings; Rage and Reprisals, an oil and spray paint on canvas is on sale for £45,000 at Hicks Gallery in London. A graduate of the Limerick School of Art and Design, Conor explores notions of masculinity in his work by depicting historical and imaginary figures in war and combat.

Famous Cork-born London artist Conor Harrington (right) and assistant and aspiring artist David O'Sullivan (left).  Photo by John Beasley
Famous Cork-born London artist Conor Harrington (right) and assistant and aspiring artist David O’Sullivan (left). Photo by John Beasley

The Painter – Jack Hickey

Winner of the 2017 Hennessy Portrait Prize, Jack Hickey is from Cobh, County Cork. His paintings have been categorized as Photorealism due to the hyperrealistic form they take. Jack’s work reflects the desire for connection between humans; think of naked youths in rented accommodation, discarded packs of birth control pills, as well as commissioned portraits like that of former state pathologist Marie Cassidy, which hangs in the National Gallery of Ireland.

A graduate of the Crawford School of Art and Design, Jack recently created a large scale mural by Rory Gallagher commissioned by Sea Church in Ballycotton for Cloyne GAA.

  • Follow Jack @jackhickey_artist
Professor Marie Cassidy with the portrait of herself by artist Jack Hickey in the Museum's National Portrait Collection.
Professor Marie Cassidy with the portrait of herself by artist Jack Hickey in the Museum’s National Portrait Collection.

The photographer – Marion Bergin

Fashion designer turned photographer/director Marion Bergin studied subjects in observational and poetic styles. Visually striking pieces navigate the intimate moments of connection between human beings; whether it’s his documentary Saoirse, a depiction of working class Dublin city center and their horses, or capturing naked women swimming together in the sea.

Marion found her tribe on Instagram.

“It’s been a great way to feel part of a community in a digital space. I express my creativity by sharing my ideas, my work, my achievements and my collaborations there. I also travel and do a lot of solo work , so at those times it’s a way to be part of something and not feel isolated.”

Although Marion loves stories and leans into reels as a method of communication, she is aware of limiting her time on the app.

“I can get overwhelmed if I don’t watch my digital habits. I’m careful not to consume too much content and pull my imagination in so many different directions because it all excites me. I like to think I have a healthy relationship with space.”

As you read this I’m in quarantine, Marion is in a hotel room in Hong Kong ahead of the launch of her art film To swim at the Hong Kong Architecture Biennale, an immersive sea swimming film commissioned by Robert Bourke Architects and supported by Areaman Productions. The tour is made possible by Culture Ireland and Marion will document the entire trip on her Instagram account.

From Marion Bergin's series of sea swimming photographs.
From Marion Bergin’s series of sea swimming photographs.

The Sculptor – Alan Clarke

Alan Clark is probably best known for the somewhat believable ort as series illustrator Ross O’Carroll-Kelly. His main sidekick is Art Studio Cat, the feline in residence at La Catedral studios in Dublin. Alan recently illustrated the cover of a book by seanchaí Eddie Lenihan, a collection of stories from a resident of Ennis Mental Institution in the seventies and eighties.

Rooted in the traditional, Alan is inspired by the figurative and the characters, the beautiful, the virtuoso, the imagination and sometimes the grotesque. He is currently working on two portrait sculpture commissions and a character cast he started last year. Alan is inspired by both history and imagination and is working on a new collection of drawings and prints, based on an imaginary pre-Celtic Baroque, which will be exhibited at the United Arts Club, Dublin in the spring. He also leads workshops at the RHA, as well as at his home studio in Wicklow.

Instagram has undoubtedly opened doors for Alan, although he has a love/hate relationship with the social media platform.

“I wouldn’t even have known the doors were closed. For example, last year I spent two weeks teaching a workshop in Moscow that only came about through a connection I made on Instagram My studio has four windows, I consider Instagram to be like a fifth window in my studio, through which anyone in the world can look.

Alan says his account is “carefully curated” to give the veneer of success, it also gives him a platform to air his grievances with the Irish art bureaucracy.

While Alan in a way “despises” Instagram which he says “peddles poisonous fictions of success”, he also believes that its existence makes it possible to “share photos of my work with anyone in the world and to connect with other artists that I admire”. and learn things that interest me, all for free”.

  • Follow Alan @mralanclarke
Clash Titan by Alan Clarke.
Clash Titan by Alan Clarke.

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