Wednesday 20 October 2021

The Source - book launch

During the past year or so, one of my joys has been to watch artist talks via zoom when live, or later via YouTube when available. An artist himself, Alan Keane recognised the desire of other artists to see what their peers (known and known) were up to during the pandemic and decided to host a series of live but remote video interviews with artists in their studios. The interviews were held weekly on a Saturday morning for about an hour, during which the artist would give a virtual tour of their studio, talk about their practice and be open to a Q & A. While I was only able to attend one event live, it was a brilliant format, and I am so glad the sessions are available on Keane's YouTube Channel, here.

In another recognition of this being such a valuable resource of living Irish artists, Keane turned the series into a beautiful book "The Source". Both the book title and the series title are a deep nod to creative inspiration. I attended the book launch at the United Arts Club in Dublin a few days ago, and was so delighted to meet Mr Keane and to collect my copy of the book.

I don't know if anyone was watching, but I certainly obtained some olfactory satisfaction by opening the book and taking a good sniff! The book is absolutely beautiful, two pages devoted to each guest from the series - a written page with artist bio, statement & portrait and QR code (to directly lead to the YouTube video of the individual) and a lush, full-colour page of the artist's work. The contents page gives a full roster of participants (over 50) at varying stages of their careers, including some very well-known artists.

I had only heard about The Artist's Well series because I saw a notice for an upcoming event with Eamon Colman. Eamon had been a good friend of mine last century but we lost touch over the years, so I was intent on seeing the live event on the Saturday. It was such a pleasure to see him again - and his work! - that I made a point of renewing our acquaintance and headed to Thurles, Co Tipperary to see his recent exhibition, Into The Mountain, there and meet him again. I blogged about it here.

Though most of the guests on The Artist's Well were visual artists, Keane did not confine his interviews to this one form. In fact there are also several gallerists, a musician, a singer and a writer included. Olivier Cornet owns and operates the Olivier Cornet Gallery in Dublin and it was totally fascinating to hear him talk about setting up in Ireland, the artists whom he represents in his stable and his own interests in inter-disciplinary explorations (for example, theming group shows as a response to a specific poem).

At the launch I was hoping I would become reacquainted with a number of artists whose videos I had seen and met years before on one occasion or another. However, due to covid restrictions, I could not stay long at launch and did not get the chance to re-meet some past acquaintances (who may have arrived after I had left). One such artist is Niamh O'Connor who I had the pleasure to meet when we were both involved in the Jack and Jill Foundation's fundraiser "The Big Egg Hunt, Dublin" back in 2013. (I did a few blogs about it back then here, here, here, here, here, here and here!)

At the book launch, Alan Keane assured me that Series 2 of The Artist's Well was due to start in a few weeks. Looking forward to that!

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