Meet the Scholar: Gearoid O'Dea

Meet Gearoid O'Dea - one of the Sky Academy Arts Scholarship winners for 2016!

Gearoid is an Irish artist based in Rathmines who uses the mediums of colouring pencil and gouache, with a focus on meticulous detail and the blending of physical forms.

We chatted to Gearoid about his Sky Academy Arts Scholarship application, his upcoming exhibition and what inspires him as an artist. 

Congratulations on being selected as one of the Sky Academy Arts Scholarship winners in 2016! How did you find the application process and what advice would you give to future applicants?

Put as much of yourself into the proposal as possible! I found the process very clear, but obviously nerve wracking, so preparation is key.

As a visual artist I submitted a video of me working in the studio, with a voice over. This allowed me to answer the questions on the application, while showing my working process. I imagine its relatively rare that someone applying in a visual arts category will submit a video, and this could give future applicants a better chance to stand out.

Finally it can be difficult to be fully confident in your self as a young creative professional - the saying fake it till you make it’ springs to mind! You have to appear to have confidence in your self to expect others to have confidence in you.

Who or what inspires you as an artist?

I am inspired by the struggles of daily life. Trying to understand anxiety, from my personal experience with panic attacks, and trying to concentrate on living in the moment, informs my work. In contrast to that, I love using a wide colour palette and amalgamating forms and textures to create something personal.

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Can you explain the series you’re currently working on and what will feature in your solo exhibition?

The new series I am working on is called ‘The had, the have and the should’.

My solo show will feature eight new pieces and a central sculpture.
I use a system of closely documenting my immediate surroundings to more deeply explore the themes around anxiety. This ‘system’ consists of ‘rounds’ that are separated into specific time periods. Rounds are documented through photography and drawings during periods of high anxiety, which then gives the visual reference to create each piece. By combining images within each round, these works take on their own visual narrative to be determined by the viewer.

You have pasted your work in large scale street installations - did this generate a different reaction/response?

Pasting works up in the street for me is the equivalent to playing live to a musician. You work hard on a piece in the studio and then you get to give it to the street. The conversations you have with passers by and the excitement they display is invigorating. It can be challenging and arduous at times but it brings a very physical aspect to my practice, which I really enjoy.

My work on the street has also directly influenced my studio practice. The central sculpture in my solo exhibition is an attempt to reflect the changes my paste up’s have had on how I look at my works. Exhibiting the work at a large scale at various angles and compositions is a very exciting prospect for me.

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How will the scholarship benefit you and your artistic practice?

The scholarship will afford me the time to fully dedicate my self to my practice. A huge pressure has been lifted by winning the scholarship as I will no longer have to worry about supporting myself.The kudos of being a Sky scholar will also be helpful to secure venues and funding. Finally and most importantly, the help of the mentors' advice in making decisions about the present and future steps in my career will be massively beneficial.

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?

Hopefully happy and fulfilled in my life and art practice.


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