Next up for our artist spotlight is Melbourne based illustrator, Simon O’carrigan. Simon works with many different mediums but is known for his loose and confident ink drawings. We catch up with Simon to chat about his journey as an artist so far.
How have you changed as an artist over the past 2-3 years? What are you making now that you wouldn’t (or couldn’t) have made before?
In 2016 I quit my day job and started my own business in illustration. Working for myself, on creative projects, has meant my personal artwork has become looser and much more liberated (in contrast to the client work, which usually has many revisions, and get tighter!). I spend so much time now working with dip pens, india ink and watercolour, where I used to work a lot more in oil paints. I just love water media lately.
What was the hardest thing to do while making this particular artwork? Is there one section that you struggled to get right?
I needed to make sure the blue painted wall on the right hand side of the building was electric and reflective, and very different to the sky colour. Reflection is easier to do in oil paint, as the light actually passes into and out of the paint to the viewer’s eye. Watercolours, being matte rather than glossy, mean you have to really fake it a bit to get things like this to work.
Some people say that every artwork you make is in some way a self-portrait. How is this piece a portrait of you?
I moved to Melbourne a little over a decade ago. My first house here was under the Nylex sign in Richmond, and the Corner Hotel became my local pub. I’ve seen many of my favourite bands here: Sleater-Kinney, Mudhoney, Dinosaur Jr, and tonnes of local acts too. So I think I memorialise these locations that to me, become a very real part of our history sharing a densely populated urban space.
Tell us about something you had to learn to become the artist you are now. Can we see this in this artwork?
My artwork is best when it is loose, and my drawing is best when I leave things out and leave some of the work up to the audience’s imagination. Look closely at the brown brick section of the Corner Hotel and you’ll see it’s all implied rather than drawn precisely. Also, there’s a lot of blue pigments and most of them do not look anything like Melbourne’s summer skies. Royal blue in Sennelier’s watercolour range is pretty close though, it’s very warm for a cool blue hue!
[Silence for 2 minutes 40 seconds] (Ian MacKaye).
Oil on linen, 26 x 26 cm
I’ve Been told I should smile when I tell a joke. So I’ve been practising. (Lou Reed).
Oil on linen, 26 x 26 cm, 2014
I guess the older you get, the more we gotta go through this. (Keith Richards).
Oil on linen, 26 x 36 cm 2014
It’s a very tight ship my face keeps. (Henry Rollins). Oil on linen, 26 x 36 cm, 2014.