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Feb 2013 15

by Nicole Powers

Artist / SG Member Name: Barry Quinn a.k.a. Mooliki

Mission Statement: My practice and the subject of my work has changed quite a lot over the years. I’ve always been drawn to use natural forms, the human body, trees, textures in nature, to convey feeling and idea in an image, using these shapes to tell a personal, emotive story. But environmental and political concerns have increasingly become the driving force behind a lot of what I do. Much of it is simply trying to make sense of the world around me, the problems and challenges the world faces and understanding my own part in that. I would consider my work as a sort of visual diary of this process, that tends to take the form of character-based illustration. I place as much value on sketches and writings as I would finished paintings. My main aim, in regards how I present it to others, is to hopefully communicate some of the more visceral concepts and feeling behind an image.

I hold in high regard any form of art that can deal with genuine emotion over life’s struggles and experiences and present it as something perfectly necessary and natural. There’s something tremendously cathartic about that sort of acceptance of the darker side of life. Like with great children’s stories, old blues and folk songs, or the best films, I appreciate the sort of art that says life is cruel, tough and unkind, and still absolutely amazing and beautiful and worth experiencing. If I get a fraction of that out of a drawing, I’m happy.

Medium: For larger pieces I would mainly use acrylic on canvas or wood. Smaller pieces would be in pen, pencil and watercolor. I work primarily on found, recycled or waste materials.

Aesthetic: Larger figure paintings like the SG portraits tend to be quite free in form with a lot of focus on the body shape and textures. I like building up textures with light layers, lots of water and scraping. It’s generally a messy, expressive activity involving paint-covered hands and feet and a general lack of structured method. If I’m working on smaller format it’s usually the opposite, slow, methodical work with focus on tiny detail, while maybe trying to illustrate a broader story. Lately drawing is very heavily influenced by the aesthetic surrounding folk and fairy tales, and I’ve always had heavy influence from both traditional and contemporary Asian art. I grew up reading comics and watching manga films, later Studio Ghibli animation and then the old Chinese watercolors. I love that mix you find in traditional Chinese and Korean art; minimal scenes but full of feeling and depth and story. I think the characters I draw would be very influenced in form by the Japanese anime/manga style.

Notable Achievements: My achievements would be pretty modest to date. I’ve exhibited with various groups around Dublin, where I used to live, taken part in art events at festivals and gigs, but I tend to stick to the DIY-driven, artist-run establishments. I’ve little formal training in art and I’ve never been drawn to that more academic side of the art industry. Achievements for me are when a band or musician wants to use my work for an album, or someone wants to blog about it, or someone simply wants to buy something. I’m working on an illustrated story at the minute. If I manage to get that to materialize some time next year, that’ll be a pretty decent achievement.

Why We Should Care: I would always look at art as a way of people working out that stuff in our heads that we otherwise don’t know how to express. Whether it’s with music, visual art, performance, it’s a way for a more subconscious part of our selves to say, “Hey, this is what I think is going on.” I always try to give way to that sort of unabridged honesty, and whether its abstract or illustrative, my work would generally come from a very personal place. I think anyone who creates with honesty and passion is going to produce something special and unique, it’s a story you’re telling, and for me that’s what always makes art interesting.

I Want Me Some: You can see more of my work on my portfolio site, and buy prints via Society6 and Etsy.

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