In some of my spare time I make art. Had I more spare time (or the power of bilocation or biological fission), I would make more art. Lots of all sorts of it. These days, when I can, I mostly create collages or set my colouring pencils loose on a sketchbook, but it would be gratifying to have the luxury of a weekend, a month, or a decade to play around with charcoals, clay, paint, pipe cleaners, and other willing materials. And I’d like to try my hand at stop-motion animation, and stained glass.
(Window by Harry Clarke, about whom more below.)
These days, though, I am too busy with editing work, volunteer work, writing, and countless other activities, online and off, to afford art more than a few evening hours at a time. No doubt many of you can empathise. The business of a busy world is to become busier in spite of one’s efforts to simplify.
Owing to all this industry and distraction, I don’t update Sentence first as often as I would like to. Thank you to my readers for your visits, comments and patience. Many recent posts have been lightweight ones about signs or typos, rather than detailed ones about English grammar and usage, since the latter type require more care and research. Luckily the content here does not date quickly!
Earlier in the week I was walking along the Promenade and noticed a series of drawings of dogs, presumably left by their altruistic artist. They were stuck on bins and walls, and one was simply propped up on a bench. I took a few photos and wondered about the who and the why. Here are a couple of them:
(The text on the mural says: “These are the days we hang our souls upon, and high above them, as the sun withdraws we hang up the moon.”)
Later, inspired by an intriguing set of photos at Doubtful’s place, I decided to upload a few photos here under the general theme of art. (Imagine a capital A on the word, if you prefer; me, I’m easy.) The plan was to showcase found art or seen art. Public art. Visual evidence of Everyman’s and Everywoman’s ever-potential everyday creativity. Not this man’s, though: I will spare my readers my own efforts, for now.
Although Galway has its architectural gems, it is not renowned for this artistic form — but it is full of talented painters, illustrators, sketch artists and so on. Musicians, too, but that’s another year’s work. While organising my digital photos — two steps forward, five steps back; see also: books — I set some snaps aside for blog posts dedicated to local street art and imaginative shop fronts. All (or at least some) in good time. Here is one recent example of each:
Finally, a dose of the sublime:
And the… well, I haven’t figured this one out yet, but it seems that some circuses treat their animals too well:
The camel-kissing image is on the side of a circus lorry currently in town. The sculpture is in the excellent Crawford Art Gallery in Cork, which I visited a few months ago. I’m sorry I lost the sculptor’s name. In the gallery I had the good fortune to stumble on a small exhibition of illustrations and stained-glass windows by Harry Clarke, whose work reveals a virtuoso originality.
A friend of mine wrote her thesis on Clarke’s illustrations for Edgar Allan Poe’s Tales of Mystery and Imagination, a favourite book of my then-twenty-something self. An evening of thumbing through her lush edition of the book, complete with Clarke’s intense, beautiful and nightmarish contributions, was my first proper exposure to his illustrations.
It took a while for me to sleep that night: not through fear of Clarke’s macabre visions, but because my mind raced with the unexpected thrill of being witness to his genius. Creativity is inherent in life, and though it manifests more purely in some than in others, the decision to make art for its own sake is both amazing and perfectly natural.
Everyone is capable of picking up a pen, a brush, or a piece of plasticine, and tuning in to something deeper and stranger than our “selves”. The art I see on the walls, streets and bins of Galway might not attain the inspired heights of historical masterpieces, but it is no less vital for that. We need art now more than ever, and whether it’s good or bad is far less important than whether its intent is noble.