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,

Out There by Kevin Sharkey

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.

Paradise by Kevin Sharkey

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.

Somewhere Else by Kevin Sharkey

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 open my new gallery at CHQ in Dublin Docklands next month and another in Ibiza both on the same day that 'EXPECT MIRACLES' opens at SHARKEY GALLERY (March 1st 2008) at 15 Clifford St, London, W1. (tel: 02072879923)( for more info).

The Bridge Over the Lake by Kevin Sharkey

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-- You can read more of my interviews by visiting the following page--
Take care, Stay true,

Brian Sherwin


Anonymous said...

Nice work dude! I feel it's all about letting it go and having others decide what they want to see. I am going to steal some of your ideas.


Anonymous said...

well, its been a while since i havnt read intensively and passionately an interview as i just did and about a visuals artist's , still laughin dûe to the 'Hasard' existing only to ones whom are beleivin' ... here's a question of Haz'Art!
This artist, m.Sharkey , i felt quickly a direct link, to me , after first lines, a fellow , a soul fighter , you know a soul that we needs to feels , to see the artist's Art and parcours ,once in a while , as him , as this greatful interview, to have these Inspired and inspiring realities !
I can adds that i almost feel happy to know now about this artist! ha yeah, think i am !
I am considerate myself , me ;an emerging cdn painter: autodidact, 5 years none stops, to reading that even a bunch of bills either papers money whatever what's was freakin at point to burned all those unsignifiant papers and run, only yet few years ago !;o)
I allowed my self to be proud of my Art, beeing already in Best Sellers artists of The BoundlessGallery, as many others things , that are going to fast to do an efficace resume of,and never mind about it cause creating is too strong, too appealing , to care about it now instead of following the Muses Inspirations .
I'll leave by saying that this interview reached many intenses, emotions, ideas, thoughts , postive ones and i am feeling this artist much closer than most of our contemporary Artists, all meds incl.
Great interview, Congratulations , i been caugh and damn ! How Inspiring it is to be caught this way ! Direction: now and thx to MyArtSpace for this stunning, sobre? Inspiring as well Interview!
artist painter Yan D.Soloh
* Sorry about my English Written , aint my first language , i do hope the readers to have understood my main refeelings directly inspired by this stunning master of Color's composition and sure, this man; m.K Sharkey (& )MyArtSpace's interview :Which is the Main Point !

Allez! Keep'on Creatin' magics; Yours! -Yan

Anonymous said...

I love this work--there is this crazy depth that draws me in. I don't see that kind of depth in abstract art very often, and I look at a LOT of art. Makes me want to get off the computer and into the studio, so off I go....
I didn't find anything but review blurbs on that website, however....