The Warrior Artist Podcast 7 – why don’t you do it for yourself? Visual artist and curator Dermot Browne shares his creative journey

BIO

Dermot Browne was born in Dublin and studied art in a Limerick School of Art and Design. Dermot is a painter who’s particularly drawn to abstraction. He’s also a curator and now an arts facilitator who, at the time of recording, has launched two spaces and is in the process of completing a third of three new art spaces in the Cork area (Crane Visual, the Richmond Revival and The One Space).

ABOUT PAINTING

Dermot is interested in abstract painting.  “Sometimes abstraction is about nothing. It’s also about everything…it’s partly just a tool to play with colour freely.”

Although he paints 2D paintings, he thinks of them as sculptural, including collage elements.

“I’m involved in manipulating empty space.”

He’s mindful of paintings as a conversation with the viewer: “For me, painting has to be in love with the observer.”

ABOUT THE STUDIO

“The winters are hard in Ireland and dark and grey.. [the studio] gives you an opportunity to go somewhere that’s potentially full of life and colour.”

“if there’s any rule in the studio, is don’t go at the painting that you’d really love to get right, do something else in the meantime, start stretching another canvas or start preparing other wood or tidy the studio. And then your eye is always looking at that piece, and then all of a sudden it’s done. And you haven’t put yourself under the pressure of getting it right.”

ABOUT PAINT

Dermot paints with oil paint, using both Old Holland and more inexpensive brands.

“I love mixing colours. I love getting them right. And I typically have two jars of the white spirits or the turpentine, and I have two there one to clean the brush and one like when that jar gets too dirty, I’ll pour all of that in there. But then I’m using the gunk at the bottom of that jar is essentially the accumulated colour that’s fallen to the bottom, so it’s grey. So anytime I’ve got a colour that’s just too happy and too punchy, I mix in a little bit of that and it just tones it down.”

TIME MANAGEMENT AND BUILDING AN AUDIENCE

“I think we have to really use our time wisely when we’re in the studio…it’s about a balance of things. So it’s very easy for me to go into the studio, make 15 new paintings, but I don’t have anywhere necessarily to show them. I don’t have the platform set up to sell them. I don’t have the audience ready, so I’m trying always to build those things in parallel with the studio.”

“There’s a parallel there with my projects and my curatorial stuff and my entrepreneurial stuff. I’m working on too many things at the same time outside the studio, and I’m working on too many things at the same time in the studio. And I’ve accepted that at this point in time. I’ve accepted it’s the way of working”

ABOUT EXHIBITIONS

“It’s important to have solo exhibitions. I have a solo coming up next month that gives you an opportunity to sort of focus down and say, look, let’s call all these finished and see what they’re like on the wall.”

Dermot inside ‘Crane Visual’, Firkin Crane, where he adapted a circular dance space into a gallery space.

“But it’s always a mistake to try and push in new work. Whereas there’s this work that might be six months old or a year old, but it’s old to you. But it’s not old to the public at all or to the audience. So I bring it together some works .. that are in the studio, and some new works that haven’t been shown at all. And it’s an excuse for me to see the work together in one place.”

ABOUT CURATING

Dermot describes himself as a curator with a small ‘c’

“Curators live in museums, and they have jobs and titles, and I’m an artist who wants to see certain exhibitions happen”

Dermot’s relationship with ‘The Richmond Revival’, Fermoy, Co. Cork enabled him to create another space to exhibit

ADVICE

The best advice Dermot received:

“You need to have an objective. You need to have an objective in front of you out in the future, otherwise the energy won’t come out”

One Space, Rathcormac, Co. Cork which is being built using sustainable, up-cycled materials when possible.

Dermot’s advice for emerging artists: 

“Do it yourself, do it yourself. Why don’t you do it yourself? Why don’t you do a partnership with because everybody wants partnerships with the art world, but the art world is inundated with offers and requests and kind of have an exhibition in three years time. If you associate yourself with other people who are not in the art world offices, universities, charities, you’re going to be pushing an open door. And there’s two things you might not get the traction that you want or the recognition from the art world, but you get movement. You get movement forward in your own space, and movement is half of the issue. It’s the feeling of being stuck that is the death of your own creativity.”

Crane Visual at Dance Firkin Crane, Cork

ABOUT BOOKS:

In the Podcast, Dermot recommends the following three books ‘Working Space’ by Frank Stella, ‘True Perception’ by Chogyam Trungpa  and  ‘Wind-Up Bird Chronicle’ by Haruki Muarakami

LINKS

Dermot’s solo exhibition ‘The Beauty of Everyday Things’ opens 2 March 2023 in Crane Visual, Cork

You can find Dermot on instagram: @dermot_browne_artist and through his website: www.dermotbrowne.squarespace.com

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