Alan Clarke is an award winning Irish illustrator who’s probably most well known for his illustrations for the Ross O’Carroll-Kelly series, but he shouldn’t be; his body of work far surpasses this small section in his portfolio. He has exhibited in Ireland, Germany, the U.K., Italy and Japan and spoke at Offset’s main stage in 2010, which you can watch Here.

Alan is currently an artist in residence in the former Victorian factory, La Cathedral Studios. Located just off Thomas Street, La Cathedral Studios is an artists’ space like no other, a true hidden gem of Dublin that breeds, actually…whispers creativity. The space is run and founded by Antonella Scanu, a woman whose stylish substance has influenced the building’s bohemian interior, as well the individual artists in residence. Another of the studios noteworthy individuals is Anthony Collins one of the founding artists of the space. He is an artist that is as much a part of the spaces essence as the red of the brick or beautiful tomato plants that weave inside the walls throughout the building. You can check out the full list of artists in residence Here.

Now, back to Mr Clarke, Bloom caught up with Alan over the holidays. Here’s how it went…

You once described light bulb moments as the brain making abstract connections between things that are already in there. How do you turn on more light bulbs more often?

Did I? Ok, assuming I did, the only way to get the light bulb to come on more often is to put more things in there between which the brain can form the connections. And the only way to do that is hard work. That’s not a very exciting or romantic answer I’m afraid, but it’s true. It can take the form of practice, research, study, experience etc. etc…

What is the most interesting part about creating your own worlds and characters?

Having the opportunity to indulge my imagination is a pleasure, and creating something from nothing is very rewarding, but I don’t know if ‘interesting’ is the word I would use to describe it. Have you ever read about Nikola Tesla or Phineas T. Barnum or Konstantin Tsiolkovsky? What they did was interesting. A space elevator!!! – all I do is draw pictures!

 Do you have a favourite character?

 My favourite fictional character is Michael Flatley. She’s brilliant.

Do you think coming from an artistic family makes for more interesting Christmas presents?

I own an old van. This Christmas I instructed my family members to buy me a series of items that I could employ to stop my van from falling apart. I don’t think anyone would consider, for example, a replacement auxiliary water pump to be a terribly interesting present. It is practical though. So, in short, the answer to that question is probably no.

 What was the most interesting Christmas present you have given someone?

The television series ‘Hands’ by David and Sally Shaw Smith, it is wonderful and everyone should watch it.

 You are a Flann O’Brien fan, how does literature influence your work?

 It does influence my work, that is for certain, but to say how exactly, is difficult. I think perhaps refer to the first question for a better answer to this one.

What are you reading at the moment?

  1. ‘English as she is spoke’ by Pedro Carolino
  2. ‘Triple Nipple T-shirt’ by Emily Wringneck
  3. ‘O’Brien, the giant’ by Hilary Mantel
  4. ‘The Last Chance to hear from Joseph Patrick Hood’ by Joseph Patrick Hood.
  5. A book about the mathematician Leonardo Fibonacci, of the ‘Fibonacci Sequence’ fame, I can’t remember what it’s called though.
  6. ‘Paint your own masterpiece – 30 great painting to copy at home’ by Mark Churchill
  7. ‘Under Milkwood’ by Dylan Thomas

What has been the most rewarding project so far?

I enjoy, and get greatest satisfaction from work that I initiate myself. When work is commissioned by a third party there are always compromises to be made, I don’t like compromising. It gives me indigestion and swollen ankles.

What are you working on at the moment?

  1. An album cover for R__ C________ (I can’t tell you about this yet)
  2. An album cover for R_____  W______ and the B_____  (I can’t tell you about that one yet either)
  3. New artwork for Body and Soul Festival 2016
  4. New work for an exhibition later this year, featuring drawing, painting, print and sculpture
  5. A children’s book
  6. An adult book (I don’t mean pornography)
  7. Other things

What makes a good client?

A good client is one that doesn’t interfere and has loads of money.

Check out more of Alan Clarke’s illustrations and his process on his Site.

Facebook: Mr. Alan Clarke

Twitter: MrAlanClarkeArt

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