Illustrators Guild of Ireland Show at Luan Gallery. Press Release


The Luan Gallery is delighted to announce its winter exhibition for 2016 entitled Without the Words. Celebrating the art of illustration, Without the Words is a group exhibition selected especially for Luan Gallery which showcases the brightest talents of Irish Illustration today.
Showing works by a variety of artists, Without the Words includes samples by both established and high profile illustrators as well as emerging creative talents and forms a celebration of visual storytelling and the imagination.

Without the Words
 is an exhibition inspired by a line from Emily Dickinson’s well loved poem: ‘Hope is the Thing with Feathers’.
Margaret Anne Suggs, Illustrators Ireland Promotions Officer says:

‘In most circumstances an illustrator will respond to a brief which is communicated either through written or spoken word. As supporters of visual literacy, Illustrators Ireland propose to tell our visual stories, putting the pictures first- without the words. Here we tell our stories; visually stimulating the imagination to respond by creating an individual narrative, not a prescribed story’.


Illustrators Ireland is a community of professional illustrators working together to actively promote the craft and art form that is illustration. Members offer a wealth of combined experience and amongst those exhibiting include Kate Greenaway Medalist and current Laureate na nÓg PJ Lynch, former Laureate na nÓg Niamh Sharkey, and 2016 CBI Book of the Year Nominee Lauren O’Neill. With over 40 members’ work on exhibition, visitors are invited to find their own narratives within the original works.

The show combines computer generated imagery with traditionally executed drawings to present an assortment of colourful scenes and images to ignite imagination and discussion.

Aedín McGinn, Luan Gallery says:

‘We are thrilled to present this exhibition and showcase the wonderful variety of works by Illustrators Ireland. Throughout the course of the exhibition, Luan Gallery is offering up its River Gallery space to a participatory project entitled ‘The Big Picture’ in conjunction with Laureate na nÓg PJ Lynch. Here, visitors to the exhibition will be invited to add their own illustrations directly to the wall, responding to the works on show and resulting in one large evolving time based mural. So come one, come all and draw on the gallery wall!’


Speakers at the official exhibition launch include: Aoife Murry from Children’s Books Ireland, Margaret Anne Suggs from Illustrators Ireland and PJ Lynch, current Laureate na nÓg.

The exhibition will open on November 5th at 6pm with a wine reception to which all are welcome and continues until 27th January 2017.

The Manhattan Fish Project

There’s an Illustrators Guild of Ireland group show coming up soon (I’ll keep you posted). It’ll be in the Luan gallery in Athlone to begin with but will then swim around the country. The IGI has done quite a bit of that kind of thing; it works a treat to get the membership known more widely.

I had the presence of mind to film part of the process of making this painting only at the outset -as usual, I then became embroiled in the little world I was creating and forgot about the camera. Still, that makes for a short, easy to view movie. It’s only a minute long although the artwork took about twelve hours to complete. There’s a bit of lively, upbeat jazz to help you with your viewing, so if you’re at work, do turn the volume down!

An acrylics on paper absurdist painting of a fish for an exhibition with the Illustrators Guild of Ireland and Luan Gallery in Athlone.
An acrylics on paper absurdist painting of a fish for an exhibition with the Illustrators Guild of Ireland and Luan Gallery in Athlone.

I painted a complete underpainting in monochrome first, which is a technique that I’m currently teaching in my art class (it’s the friendliest and best art class in the entire world!). The method is very popular with my students as you can provide yourself with a lovely ‘safety net’ before you ever embark on the colour work.

Speaking of nets; this art is for a curated show, so everyone has to submit their work for review, so there is the possibility of rejection and being thrown back in the lake. Fins crossed.

You’ve probably noticed that the background isn’t New York or London -I made it up, but it does have the big city feel about it. I fancied that the fish could be some kind of Don Draper figure, arriving in Manhattan to his ad agency. A big fish in a huge pond. After all, the piece does have a kind of fifties retro feel.

If you want to get ahead; get a hat

*Stop Press. Thanks to Peter Kirwan from Denobi Web Design, who phoned me to ask me if this was my brainchild. Such wit merits a link.*

Apologies for mentioning ancient history but an event occurred in the run-up to the unmentionable ‘festive season’ that is indeed worth mentioning.

The IGI Christmas party took place in Doyles pub on College Green and was organised by IGI stalwarts, Una Gildea and Pádhraig Nolan. Members were urged to contrive an imaginative hat, worthy of their august profession as arists and which would be judged by none other than writer and grizzled comedy elder, Kevin Gildea. Kevin, who appeared very surprised by the honour suddenly thrust upon him by his sister, the aforementioned Una, turned in a wonderful ad-hoc performance, which not only affirmed to all of us his wit, flair and fluency but also impressed me, with his keen judgement, since I came joint- first along with Joven Kerekes in his jive-ass afro-contraption head-set thing. Unfortunately, I don’t have a decent photo of Joven’s crown-topper but I do have a pic of Padhraig Nolan’s Viking Splash Jewelry Stand Creation and Chris Judge’s ‘ The Ruskies are Coming!’
If you do have a snapshot of Joven avec chapeau, could you send it to me? I’ll post it up here and we can keep the spirit of Christmas alive.

An Iggy from the IllustratorsIreland.com Awards 2006


The Illustrators Guild of Ireland had its annual awards last Friday in the United Arts Club in Dublin’s City Centre. I was delighted to be awarded the ‘Iggy’ for this illustration in the ‘Self-promotional’ category. In fact, the idea was conceived in response to a call by the IGI for images for a promotional postcard campaign but it’s still self-promotional really. There was some beautiful work on show from everybody but especially from PJ Lynch [Best Book Illustration] and David Rooney [Best Editorial and Best Overall Illustration].

‘Pencil Boy’ is a witty soubriquet bestowed upon me by photographer John Redmond [or ‘Lens Creature’] one day and it made me laugh with its crazy American comic-book language dude-like hipness. I thought a Pencil Boy would be a good image to promote a bunch of illustrators.

Anyroad, while staying at my father-in-law’s gaff in Provence during the summer, I obviously found that I needed to pass a lot of time away from the house. So it was that this was painted in the light-speckled shade of the garden. Sounds quite idyllic but the aging brittle plastic garden chair upon which I was sitting gradually collapsed, bit by bit. First the left arm, then the right, then the back and one of the legs until I was balancing on a three-legged stool. I also realised when I unpacked my kit that I had forgotten my cadmium red acrylic, so the piece is a mix of acrylic and cadmium red oil. Consequently it took ages and I wouldn’t recommend it as an approach.

You can see all the competition entries on the IGI Awards 2006 judges’ site