Kevin Sharkey has been one of Irelands leading artists over the past 20 years, and has exhibited throughout the world.
"A True Irish Legend"
(Sunday Independent Irl 2009)
"It's As If He Paints With His Soul"
(Uk Independent on Sunday 2008)
"Ireland's Most Bankable Artist"
(Sunday Tribune Cover Magazine 2008
"One To Watch"
(Sunday Times May 2005)
"Critically Aclaimed And Sought Sfter"
(Irish Arts Review 2004)
"A Brush With Genius"
(Sky News ) 2004
(Sunday Times Money Section 2003)
"One Of Irelands Most Exciting And Collectable Artists"
(Irelands Homes Interiors and Living 2002)
Born 1961 Dublin
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Friday, February 22, 2008
Art Space Talk: Kevin Sharkey
Kevin Sharkey is an artist from Ireland. He was once described in Hot Press magazine as, "Ireland's first art superstar". Kevin's art has international appeal. His colorful and boldly expressive paintings are collected throughout the world.
Creation by Kevin Sharkey
Brian Sherwin: Kevin, I understand that you are a self-taught artist. Have you ever had any mentors or are you completely self-trained? In your opinion, what are some of the benefits of being self-taught?
Kevin Sharkey: I chose to learn through trial and error. Perhaps that why I don't see many other artists who paint like me. My only mentor has been my good friend Ade Antigha (BA Hons Fine Art). He has encouraged me and critiqued my work from the time I decided to paint full time 12 years ago.
For me, one of the benefits of being self-taught is that you are the only one to place limitations or expectations on yourself, and that can be very liberating. Also, you don't fill your head with loads of shit that has nothing to do with painting,
BS: Kevin, due to your accomplishments you are considered a legend in the Irish art scene-- having been called Ireland's first art superstar - and have established international acclaim. Your work is collected by several celebrities-- Kate Moss, Enya, and Courtney Love. You have been creating - and surviving off of - your art for over 15 years. Can you recall your early years before this success... did you ever have any lows? Or did you expect to become as successful as you have been? Were there ever any doubts?
KS: Me a legend...? Ha!... You're too kind! Most of my teenage life and early adult life was a low. Being creative saved me then as It does now. I was stoned for years, took coke, ecstasy and Prozac in an attempt to soothe my angry soul, but to no avail. In the end, painting brought me back towards 'the light'.
I believe that only someone with real experience of life's lows create the kind of work I want to see or hear for that matter. Energy is all that we each have that makes us unique and I guess most artists strive to be immortal by capturing their energy in their art...I know I do. I always expect to be the best at everything I do,why else try.
As to doubts... If I did NOT still have them I would have stopped years ago. I think humility and confidence should be bedfellows for balance.
Horizon by Kevin Sharkey
Morning has Broken by Kevin Sharkey
BS: It is my understanding that you were born and raised in Dublin. How did those years influence the work that you create today. Also, you are now based in Ireland and Spain... how has that clash of culture inspired you as an artist?
KS: I was born in Dublin and live there now. It is the most magical of places and the people are kind and funny and accepting of differences. I love the elements and nature and landscape and all of those inform my work. Even the most abstract of paintings of mine can have a landscape feeling to them.
I get inspired by many things, sometimes a load of bills landing on the floor can be inspiration to get my black ass up to paint, other times its the need to create. I feel close to God or the source when I am being creative and that is addictive.
BS: Kevin, one of your paintings raised several thousand for People In Need, an Irish charity, in 2007. It goes without saying that you enjoy helping charitable causes. In your opinion, why is it important for successful artists to help causes like People in Need?
KS: 26,100 euro to be exact and I am very proud of that. Its nice to be able to create something that's worth so much and then to help people who you want to help with the work. I think all artists should go with their conscience, I don't believe in gobshites like Bono telling the world how to have a conscience while flying private jet from party to honours and awards ceremonies.
Whatever happened to people doing good for good's sake. It should be between you and God not you and Fleet Street...although I can see how the poor fella could become confused between the two.
Kissing the Sandman by Kevin Sharkey
BS: What are the social implications of your art?
KS: That's for others to say.
BS: Tell us about your process. Perhaps you could select one of your paintings and describe how it was created. Where do your ideas stem from? What are the thoughts behind your work?
KS: Process me hole... I am not comfortable with process, I prefer to get the paints out and paint! I don't use brushes, I do make a fucking huge mess, and I don't need to be anywhere special to paint. I try not to think while I work - I try to keep my head as empty as possible and that includes no music. I really believe that you are communicating with your soul if you're doing it right. I guess you could say my soul does the painting... I only open the bottles.
When I am in London at the Clifford Street gallery I paint there and when I am in Francis Street at my Dublin gallery I paint there, as I do when I'm in Ibiza. I love the challenge of capturing the energy of the place you are in, in paint.
BS: What are you working on at this time? Can you give us some insight into your new work?
KS: I have just finished a collection of work which is now called EXPECT MIRACLES. I have also just finished five huge paintings for new Irish companies in Dublin. I am painting now for exhibitions this year in Moscow and Bahrain.
BS: Kevin, will you be involved with any exhibits in 2008? I understand that you have an exhibit coming up in London... what else do you have planned?
KS: I am just about to show at The White Gallery 94 Francis street, Dublin 8 2012 both on the same day that 'EXPECT MIRACLES' opens at SHARKEY GALLERY (March 1st 2008) at 15 Clifford St, London, W1. (tel: 02072879923)(www.kevinsharkey.com for more info).
BS: Finally, is there anything else you would like to say about your art?
KS: Only what a young guy called Oisin Brannagh said recently... "Its not about what they (the paintings) mean to the artist, its about what they mean to us" I could not have put it better... some people look for the meaning of life in every painting they see, others merely enjoy. As I say , if you don't like it move the fuck out of the way as you are probably spoiling someone else's view.
You can learn more about Kevin Sharkey by visiting his website-- www.kevinsharkey.com. You can read more of my interviews by visiting the following page-- www.myartspace.com/interviews.
Take care, Stay true,