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I wish I could relate the intangibles to you…

I watched the Tony Hawk documentary by Sam Jones yesterday and it was truly terrific. While I have never been a skateboarder, it still spoke to me as a piece of storytelling and an insight into a life well lived. Give it a watch if you have the chance. 

I have been thinking a lot about the the final interview at the end with legendary skater Rodney Mullen. There is such profound beauty and depth in what he says. He is talking about the risks and rewards of what he does, but the lyrical flow of it makes it feel poetic and totally universal. He could just as easily be talking about artists. He is talking about every one of us.

Three Men Talking About Things That They Kinda Know About – Limited Edition 10th Anniversary

For anyone new to my website, I just wanted to holler about the recent publication of our award-nominated spoken word play, Three Men Talking About Things They Kinda Know About. A decade ago we staged this show at the Dublin Fringe and subsequently toured it around Europe to huge critical acclaim. It was one of the most fulfilling and important artistic experiences of my life, and you can read more about the genesis and creation of the show here.

As for the book itself, we put incredible thought and care into creating something that was a unique work of art in-and-of-itself, with a cover produced on a letterpress printing press, on high quality handmade paper, which gives it a really unique look and feel. Inside the pages we have lots of gold too, with new forewords from myself and the other authors, archival photos, and essays from our Director, Sarah Brennan, as well as Irish Times journalist Gemma Tipton.

This unique 10th anniversary limited edition book is for sale right now directly from this website, so please consider supporting independent artists by picking up a copy today!

Ways of seeing – A portrait of the artist as a young man

My father painted this portrait of me when I was around 5 or 6 years old. He began painting it when we lived in Sweden, and he finished later when we had moved to Ireland. I know this because I recall posing for it when we lived in our little apartment in Kalmar in the south east of Sweden. I have a softer recollection of the latter phase of the painting but I recognise the house outside the window as our neighbour’s house in Waterford, Ireland, so it was definitely created over a period of years. Seeing it again and studying the painting, it made me think of a few things. Firstly the way another person sees you is always filtered through a certain lens and you cannot control that. In this case I see it as a loving gaze of a father and that shines through in the soft energy of the light. It also feels fitting that I appear to be sitting down to write, which ultimately ended up being my own path as an artist & creative. Secondly I was taken with the idea of the drafts and phases a piece of art goes through, and that the completion often comes long after the initial creation. This gives me comfort knowing that even a painting of this scale (the original painting is 5m x 3m) has a series of iterations and drafts, just like my own work. And finally, the slightly hazy, almost ghostly elements to it feel like it is slightly unfinished, or perhaps it was an artistic choice. I like not knowing that. When is a piece of art done? That is a question every one of us must ponder with everything we create.

California Dreamin’

Had the best weekend in ages. Went on a road trip down to Monterey, Carmel and Santa Cruz. Beautiful fuel for the creative mind. I captured some timelapse of the different stages of the journey on my GoPro. As a creative challenge to myself, I wanted to put them together in a unique way, so I ended up piecing them together into this triptych style video. Happy with the end result and I learned some new skills in the process.

Kallefornia

I recently had the privilege of going on my first work trip to California since the pandemic. It was a feast for the senses, with rich colours, unique scents, sea breezes, soft sunlight, city sounds, ocean spray and everything else in between. It was a truly rejuvenating experience. I feel lucky to have been able to be there. My creative energy was replenished by awe-inspiring rooftop vistas, walks along the Pacific Ocean, a hot tub in the mountains, and a wonderful wander around San Francisco, that included a pilgrimage to my favourite book shop, City Lights. Thank you universe!

A magical gift from the universe

For Christmas I received an incredibly cool gift of a curated book subscription from Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights. I promptly filled out a very thoughtful questionnaire to gauge my interests and tastes, and then clicked send. They would then send a surprise book in the post to me each month. The first one arrived today in lovely packaging and I opened it eagerly to see what was inside. I was so pleasantly surprised. In a wonderfully strange twist of the universe, the novel they sent me was Acts of Desperation by Megan Nolan, a book I had wanted to read since it came out. I met Megan ever so briefly when she did a reading at an event we hosted at our Lingo Spoken Word Festival and even then you could tell she was an excellent writer. There’s another interesting layer to this too. Her father Jim Nolan is someone I have known for many years and admired greatly as a writer. His first play, The Gods Are Angry Miss Kerr, was the first production by Red Kettle Theatre Company, and it was directed by my late father Tony Ryan. All of this has sparked such wonderful memories of that time. I recall it as great work being done by passionate and kind artists, and me, a young kid, taking it all in and hoovering up the ideas and creative energy. I still remember the feeling of being warmly welcomed into that artistic community, despite my tender age, and knowing that this was my tribe. And here we are today with this wonderful, fresh work of art that can be traced back directly to that time. This is truly a gift.