From painting murals and engravings to tattoos, Victoria Levins is a highly sought after artist from Dublin. Her work permeates the fact that she is amazing, and her work radiates a sense of pride and belonging. Most recently, she took part in We Are Mná, an event that raised over €15,000 for Women’s Aid, Dublin Rape Crisis Center and the Danú Project, where 8 tattoo artists spent over 11 hours tattooing during a marathon fundraiser.
Victoria paints with coffee, and a documentary (available on YouTube) called The Passion Project shows her process. Her portrait of Judy Garland can be seen on George Street in Dublin with the inscription Trans Love. Both Sam Smith and Macklemore reposted her portraits.
- See her work at vldc_tattoo and a wider selection of her art @victorialevinsofficial
If you like fun, bold illustrations, a dose of dog memes, and references to 90s dance songs, you’ll love Jackie Sheridan. The illustrator and art lecturer at the University of Ulster creates vibrant works with a great deal of humour. Although she has worked with a range of commercial clients, including Cadbury, TikTok, Jameson and JustEat, a common thread in much of her work is breaking down the preconceptions around what women can achieve. This includes a billboard for FAI Women’s Football, cover art for Here and Queer: The Queer Girls Guide to Life by Rowan Ellis and hosting banner making workshops at Banana Block Belfast for International Women’s Day.
Creating art comes naturally to Jackie:
“Since childhood, I have always been a creative person. It’s not about necessarily wanting to sit down and want to draw myself, but more about wanting to express myself through silly doodles – whether it’s a serious thing I care about or how I feel about hot sauce.”
With over 5.6K followers on Instagram, Jackie loves the social media that it allows.
“Instagram has always been a good place to meet and talk with other creatives about the woes of freelancing, tinker with your album, and get feedback from your online friends before releasing a product to the world.”
- Follow Jacky @jackysheridan
Artist born in Cork and based in London Connor Harrington and is the artist responsible for the giant 18th-century mural of a figure covering a table with food in Bishop Lucy Park, using raw materials from Pat McDonnell Paints.
Having cut his teeth creating graffiti in his native Cork, Connor has gone on to international fame, painting murals in New York, Miami, Paris, London, Warsaw, Copenhagen, Sao Paulo, San Juan and the Bethlehem Wall to name but a few.
Combining the techniques of both classical and modernist painting, Connor deals not only with frescoes but also with fine art paintings; Rage and Reprisals, an oil and spray painting on canvas, sold for £45,000 at Hicks Gallery in London. A graduate of Limerick School of Art and Design, Connor explores notions of masculinity in his work, depicting historical and fictional characters who fight and struggle.
Winner of the Hennessy Portrait Prize 2017, Jack Hickey originally from Cobb, Co. Cork. His paintings have been categorized as photorealism because of the hyperrealistic form they take. Jack’s work reflects a desire for human connection; think naked young men in rented accommodation, discarded packets of birth control pills, and a portrait such as that of former state pathologist Marie Cassidy, which hangs in the National Gallery of Ireland.
A graduate of the Crawford School of Art and Design, Jack recently created a large scale mural of Rory Gallagher commissioned by the Sea Church in Ballycotton for Cloyne GAA.
- Follow Jack @jackhickey_artist
Fashion designer turned photographer/director Marion Bergin has lensed plots in both observational and poetic styles. The visually arresting works show intimate moments of connection between people; whether it’s her documentary ‘Sirsha’, an image of working-class people in inner-city Dublin and their horses, or an image of naked women swimming together in the sea.
Marion found her tribe on Instagram.
“It’s been a great way to feel part of a community in the digital space. I express my creativity, share my ideas, works, developments and collaborations there. I also travel a lot and work alone, so at those times it’s a way to be a part of something and not feel himself isolated.”
Although Marion loves stories and uses drums as a method of communication, she is aware that her time in the program is limited.
“I can get overwhelmed if I don’t watch my digital habits. I’m mindful not to consume too much content and to push my imagination in different directions because I’m fascinated by it all. I like to think I have healthy relationships with space.”
While you’re reading this, I’m in quarantine, Marion is in a hotel room in Hong Kong ahead of the launch of her feature filmat the Hong Kong Architecture Biennale, an immersive nautical film commissioned by Robert Burke Architects and supported by Areaman Productions. The visit is made possible by Culture Ireland and Marion will be documenting the entire trip on her Instagram account.
Alan Clarke probably best known for his incredible work as illustrator of the Ross O’Carroll-Kelly series. Its main partner is Art Studio Cat, the cat-in-residence at La Catedral Studios in Dublin. Alan recently illustrated the cover of Eddie Lenihan’s Seanchaí, a collection of short stories by a resident of Ennis Psychiatric Institution in the seventies and eighties.
Rooted in the traditional, Alan draws inspiration from the figurative and the characteristic, the beautiful, the virtuoso, the imaginative and at times the grotesque. He is currently working on two commissioned portrait sculptures and a cast of a figure that he started last year. Allan is inspired by both history and fantasy, and is working on a new collection of drawings and prints based on an imagined pre-Celtic baroque, which will be exhibited at the United Arts Club in Dublin in the spring. He also runs workshops at the RHA as well as his home studio in Wicklow.
Instagram has undoubtedly opened doors for Alan, although he has a love-hate relationship with the social media platform.
“I wouldn’t have even known that the door was closed there. For example, last year I spent two weeks doing a workshop in Moscow, which happened solely because of a connection I made on Instagram. My studio has four windows, I think of Instagram as a fifth window into my studio that anyone in the world can look through.
Alan says his account is “carefully crafted” to give the appearance of success, while also giving him a chance to air his grievances with the Irish arts bureaucracy.
Although, on the one hand, Alan “contempts” Instagram, which, in his opinion, “spreads poisonous fictions of success”, he also believes that its existence allows “to share photos of my work with anyone in the world and establish connections with other artists I admire. and learn about what I’m interested in, and all for free.”
- Follow Alan @mralanclarke