In this instalment of Primer street artist ADW chats about his recent projects & inspirations.
Photos and interview by Mark Earley.
Hi ADW, how’s tricks?
Hiya! I’m great thanks, flying high and life couldn’t be better!
Can you tell us about your current work?
Last November I completed a new body of work which was presented in the solo exhibition BORN TO CREATE and, as I speak, I’ve just stepped off site from after a commission in the 3Arena, in their Premium Lounge no less. It’s been a hectic few months, but loving every minute.
BORN TO CREATE, which was you 4th solo show, was held in the KEMP Gallery in Dublin. How did that body of work come together? And how was the show itself?
It was an amazing experience and something I’m hugely proud of producing. There’s something very special about creating a body of work to exhibit to an audience. It’s a big challenge, but also a very rewarding one. Since my first exhibition back in 2010, I’ve seen my artwork evolve and develop while also learning from previous experiences. It had been over 2 years since my previous exhibition, so I guess you can say BORN TO CREATE has been in production ever since then. Building-up ideas and developing thoughts and skills until I felt the time was ready to present it in a new body of work.
Balancing a family life and the career you are in must be difficult. How do you juggle it all?
It’s true, it’s a big balancing act between family and career, but I think they fuel each other. Like any self-employed person, the hours you invest in your career are usually a lot more than your average 39-hour work week. An understanding and supportive family is very important, I’m extremely lucky to have both.
What is street art in Dublin like now in comparison to when you first began?
For the size of Dublin, the urban/street/graffiti scene is surprisingly big and continually growing and progressing. Not only is it a tight-knit community, but it’s also a very welcoming, diverse and positive community and one that I’m very proud to be a part of it.
Where do you look for inspiration?
From music to film, lyrics to news, conversations to life, and everything in-between – it all inspires a creative brain. Most of the time you don’t have to look too hard to find it. Of course you have days when you struggle creatively, but the slumps are as much part of the creative process as the highs. If I find myself having one of ‘those days’, a good long walk, alone with the thoughts and lung-fulls of fresh air help clear the head and refocus.
In an ever-growing art scene, and one with a rich history, how do stay relevant and avoid producing work else somebody has already painted elsewhere?
The art world has a very rich and long history and avoiding its influence is impossible. But I’d like to think that if the artwork I produce is an extension of me and my personality and created in reaction to the world that I’m inspired by, it will stay relevant and individual.
In the photo above we can see a striking piece that you recently completed in Wexford. Can you tell us about the process from conception to completion?
Well, that day was a memorable adventure! A long story short, all the planning and preparation concluded with a romantic image of a deep-sea diver with a mermaid in his arms, painted 5 metres tall on the side of the rusted hull of a steam dredger called the Port Lairge in Wexford. The tide rolled in a lot quicker than anticipated and I ended up going home with very wet jeans, but it was all well worth it!
Each year there are painting events across the country that draw in the best artists from home and abroad. Which of these weekends do you enjoy painting at the most and why?
There are lots of annual painting jams through the years and all are very memorable. More recently the Waterford Walls Event and Hit the North for Culture Night in Belfast have been brilliant to be part of. The Tivoli Jam and Kings of Concrete are also memorable. I’m also lucky enough to have the opportunity to add my mark at music festivals like Electric Picnic and Body + Soul.
Which of your contemporaries consistently impresses you at the moment?
It’s very tough to single out anyone in particular. There are lots of artists on the Irish Scene and Internationally that I respect and admire. If I had to single-out one person it would be M-City. A prolific stencil artist from Poland. He has been a very productive artist over the last few years creating some jaw-dropping masterpieces, large and small scale, without the fuss and hype, and that’s something I really respect!