Artistic License: Kieran Crowley

Penny McCormick talks to artist KIERAN CROWLEY about pencil drawing, ANIMATION and his upcoming exhibition at SOLOMON ART GALLERY


Having graduated with a diploma in Design Communications from Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Kieran Crowley travelled extensively in the US, UK and Canada working in the field of animated video and illustration. Returning home to Dublin he decided to pursue a career in art full-time and is known for his striking portraits and figurative work. His new exhibition “Here It Comes” opens at Solomon Fine Art in Dublin on April 13.

Your previous exhibitions have been portraits of friends in social settings, while “Here It Comes”, seems to be more fictitious… What was the starting point and inspiration for this exhibition?

A good friend of mine dropped a copy of John Wyndham’s Day of the Triffids into my lap one day while we were talking about scary plants. I dove straight in. If you stare at any plant long enough it can start to look slightly sinister, and the tone of the book really struck a chord. It was entertainingly unsettling and kept me up at night, actually. I decided to take the edge off by watching both Bodysnatcher movies and then Little Shop of Horrors.

The artwork is largely done in pencil and mixed media – where previously you have worked with brushes. Was this a deliberate departure or evolution for you?

A bit of both actually. I’d not drawn in years and my painting had become static. I’d forgotten how important drawing is. It’s the first thing we do with a pencil, and I’d been doing it all my life. I was able to approach ideas fluidly again.

How and where do you work?

I work from home; in the corner of the living room… like a dog.

You previously worked in video and animation – do you miss your former life or are you glad you made the decision to work full-time as an artist? 

I don’t like admitting it, but my former life as an animator was not that productive. Animation turned digital virtually overnight at the end of the nineties; and I don’t enjoy working on computers. I had a knack for it, but never the patience that was required. I hung in there for a couple of years, but I was carried by the talent and enthusiasm of the people I met while studying it in college and in the years thereafter. I miss the fierce creativity of  it. I miss the brainstorming. I really miss the humour. But I don’t miss animation.

I can’t say that I made the decision to work as an artist, or if I’m glad of it. It was always more of an inevitability that I now frequently apologise for. Having said that; I’m never, ever bored. And it’s done absolute wonders for my figure.

Need to Know: Kieran Crowley’s exhibition Here It Comes is at Solomon Fine Art gallery from April 13 – May 5; Balfe Street, Dublin 2.

Penny McCormick

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