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This weeks Featured Artist... COLLEEN FITZPATRICK


I am an Irish visual artist, predominantly a painter. I completed a Master’s Degree in psychology at University College Dublin, Ireland after leaving school because the world and people fascinate me and I make art for the same reason.

Describe yourself in 5 sentences... "1. I am a sensitive person.

2. Both joy & pain affect me deeply.

3. I find it hard to conform for

the sake of it, things have to make sense for me to go along with them. 4. Art and being

a parent are probably 2 of the most important things in my life that have shaped who

I am.

5. I dream a lot & am full of optimism despite the pain in the world. "

What gets your creative juices flowing? / How does inspiration come to you? "Going out into the world, paying attention especially to nature. Emotions- feeling happy, feeling sad, looking around me I see ordinary things all the time that inspire me – a shape, a colour. Other artist’s work is so important for inspiration, I love going to exhibitions, looking up artist’s from history or just going on Instagram and seeing other contemporary artists – it’s not about copying them, other people’s art can trigger a feeling or an idea that inspires me to do something my own way. "

Why do you create art? "Because I am driven to, I have to, I never chose to, I just wanted and needed to. Now, after the fact, I can see that spending time in my studio is better than time spent in mindful meditation, I switch off because I have to focus, it is an effortless

mindfulness. It keeps me sane. Sometimes I find it really hard when I am starting something until I get into the zone when things start to flow, but I stick with it and the

zone always comes, then I am free of intrusive thoughts, stress, the pain of the world & my own problems. "

What has been the highlight of your career so far? "I got a generous grant from the Arts Council of Ireland in 2021 and revamped my

website & started investing in my art as a career more seriously, this really changed things for me. I started making an effort to sell more of my work, that meant I could spend more time painting and give up other work that I don’t enjoy. The whole process over the last few years has been a highlight for me and applying for the grant obviously meant I was already making an effort but getting it was a turning point. Many artists suffer from not feeling like “real” artists and I suppose this gave me the recognition and the confidence to claim my time to paint and put effort into it without feeling somehow guilty. It really worked and I am really pleased with where I’m at now. I know the ideal is to take oneself seriously without getting external recognition!" What does your dream studio look like? "Oh I think about this a lot because I dream a lot. I would like a really large studio with a huge wall of north facing glass overlooking nature/trees and a body of water, whether it’s a stream, river, lake or the sea. It would have a mezzanine with a desk for my admin work and I would have a fridge stocked with food, a coffee maker, kettle and a bathroom with a shower. Lots of shelves as well as closed cupboards and bookcases and a separate packing area. I would love more space so it would be easier to keep tidy. "

Where would you like your art to take you? "I love travelling and I dream of working abroad for part of the year in a country with sunnier weather, I live on the West coast of Ireland and I love it but it is quite dark here and rains a lot. I imagine myself working and exhibiting in France or Italy part of the year, with a wonderful studio over there that I can go to when the weather is very dark here. I’d love to see what I would make if I were in a completely different climate & environment. I would like to exhibit abroad more widely. An exhibition in New York would also be welcome. I would like to experiment more with installation art as well as painting, but I don’t have the time at the moment. "

How does your artwork relate to current issues in the world? "My work is about the vastness and vulnerability of nature and our place in it. Through art, I highlight the magic and wonder of our natural environment. I believe highlighting nature through art has a real effect in the world. I was greatly influenced

by Prof Graham Parke’s article “Awe & Humility in the Face of Things” wherein he suggests that we could avert the environmental crisis if we developed awe and humility in the face of nature, but on the contrary, we have taken it for granted. The philosopher, Mikel Dufrenne stated that perception begins with art because it harnesses our attention; a painting of a natural wonder, like a flower or a sunset can actually make us look closer at the real thing after we have viewed the artwork. I feel strongly that this is the case and my work points to nature in an optimistic way. We can talk about all the negative effects of climate change but there are other ways to get people to pay reverence to nature and consider it." Does art always have to have a deeper meaning?

 "I don’t think art “has to” have a deeper meaning, it just does but people are not always aware of it because there are many layers to art. Looking at it and getting joy is actually deep because there are reasons why looking at art brings joy. For

example using art in a “decorative” way may sound superficial but the reason we like to decorate our surroundings suggests an aesthetic sense that once studied, it emerges that the psychology behind is quite deep: A “deeper” mean is always there but sometimes we don’t research it or dwell on it. I don’t think artists need to aim to make something “deep” true art is already deep. For me, art is related to

mindfulness, a simple concept with huge repercussions in the world. "

Who/what inspires you? Why?

 "Nature, people, the state of the world, happiness, sadness, other artist’s work, the

people I love, songs, colours, compositions I see in every day life."

What brings you joy? "My daughter, the people I love, art- making it and experiencing other people’s work, going into nature, experiencing the culture of cities, travelling, food, warm weather, sunshine, sitting outside on a warm day and looking around me, the beach, seeing compassion in the world. "

How would you like to be remembered? "As a person of integrity, a kind & compassionate person, a good mother, a good artist, someone not afraid to be different if there’s a better way that goes against norms- someone who has the courage of my convictions. "

What would you say to your younger self? "Pursue what you want to do and it will work out if you love it enough because if you do, you will put in the necessary work to make it work. Don’t worry about your perceived failings, none of them are life sentence, you can work towards anything at any time. Don’t get caught up in trying to be understood or trying to change people, some people will never understand you and it doesn’t matter, let them go, focus on your own behaviour not the behaviour of others. "


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