Interview with Irish street artist Eoin O’Connor
Originally from Dublin but now based out of the west coast of Ireland, Eoin O Connor is an artist whose work we have admired since first coming across his art the best part of five years ago.
We’d first seen him paint at an event called Streetfest not long after starting the blog. There, artists painted on boards allocated to them whilst hip hop played in the background and people wandered around appreciating the art. Eoin was one of the artists whose work stood out and we spoke to him at the time.
Meeting him five and a half years later, that meeting must have been memorable because Eoin recognised me pretty much straight away, I’m going to put it down to the insightful conversation. You can read the post I wrote following that meeting here. Reading it back now it’s good to reflect on just how much has changed and how both the blog and Eoin’s art has developed.
Eoin’s work is about movement. Often featuring swirling lines and patterns. He works quick, a large wall might only take a couple of hours but the result looks like it will have been painfully crafted. He has learnt over the years to paint using his instinct, the shapes and patterns now just emerge. Where once he would have sketched out a wall beforehand and gone in with an end in mind, now his style is freer, instinctive.
There is also a substantive letter based element to much of his pieces although you wouldn’t immediately guess. On many of his street pieces he’ll write his name but you really need to look. He tells me that once I see the letters I’ll always see them and he’s right. He shows me a picture of a recent piece painted on Sclater Street in Shoreditch and I nod knowingly, not immediately convinced but then when I start looking through the art on his website it becomes more obvious.
Eoin has also made a bit of a name for himself by finding remote and abandoned places to paint. In addition to art his passion is photography and some of the locations are dramatic indeed. The West Coast of Ireland is an obvious favourite but he paints all over the world and the photographs he takes are spectacular.
As part of his show in the excellent BSMT Space gallery in Dalston he’ll be launching a photo book of some of his works. He likes that idea more than issuing a limited edition print as he feels his work doesn’t necessarily lend itself to that format. He’d much rather show off the work in what I suspect he would consider it’s natural setting.
Living in rural Ireland, legal walls aren’t necessarily at a premium and so finding these spots became a bit of a necessity. It also takes him back to those heady days when painting outside became a passion. One day coming across a whole bunch of emulsion paint, he took it to an old warehouse and did his thing. Eventually moving into spray paint he would hone his style over the years to what we see today.
Now Eoin struggles to really define what category his work really fits into, is it street art, is it graffiti? Would he describe himself as an abstract artist? The truth is, his work fits into all those definitions, whatever those definitions might mean to people. Certainly, because of the letter element in much of his street pieces, the nod to graffiti culture is prominent. It’s not the most traditional form of graff, but the principles are all there.
Eoin has come some way since we first met in 2012. The style which so caught the eye back then was a recognisable image of a female face with patterned hair has evolved with incremental changes into the work we see today and in his latest show the next stage of that evolution can be seen.
‘Moments’ a solo show from Eoin O’Connor is showing at the BSMT Space gallery in Dalston from 12-15 October 2017. Eoin was interviewed in Dalston on 9 October 2017. For another great interview with Eoin, check out this one he did with Street Art United States a few years back.