• going up north

    This weekend I’m heading up north to Derry’s 2-D Comic Book Festival. It’s my first time attending, but I’ve heard really positive things about the event, so I’m looking forward it to (but not the 5 1/2 hour bus journey!). It’s taking place from the Thursday, 2nd June – Saturday, 4th of June, and is completely free. The Guests of Honour are Mark Chiarello, Mick McMahon and Glen Fabry. The guest list includes both Irish and International comic book writers and artists, including Stephen Downey who is the artist on the other Atomic Diner title I’m writing, Jennifer Wilde. I’ll be attending from Friday evening just in time to catch the panels that…

  • in the spotlight

    The image on the right happened the night after I returned to my hotel room after the ZeBBie Awards in Dublin. Perhaps there was a version of “I feel pretty” playing in my head, as I don’t get the opportunity to dress up often. This started as a blurry picture of me without my glasses (rather appropriate), and as I do sometimes I began mucking around with the image. Of course I should have gone to bed, but after the buzz of a party I wasn’t in the humour to sleep. I ended up looking a bit like a comic book character, which dovetails nicely with what I’m writing at…

  • take a deep breath

    I like to play around with images in Paint Shop Pro: change their colours, deform them, reverse them, etc. and see what happens. A lot of the time I have no objective other than to see what arises. It’s an enjoyable exercise for me. This started out as a photo I took of a children’s ride outside a café in Santa Ponsa, Mallorca last February. It was late at night and the town was deserted. This gnome and his crazy, wild-eyed horse companion had that weird, startling life of the neglected toy. Perhaps I was inspired by tonight’s fun episode of Fringe, with its homage to Inception, A Scanner Darkly…

  • cú chulainn mural

    Last week I was lucky to get a tour of the new Google building in Dublin. I was blown away by the interior design. I don’t believe I’ve encountered another company that has invested so much thought and consideration into designing functional and fun environments for their employees. Each floor is themed in a particular way, and as a mythology nut and a fan of comics I was delighted with the Emain Macha floor. Here’s most of the full-wall mural in the games room/café on that floor: Here’s a close-up: I’ve more images from this on my Flickr account. That’s the Irish hero Cú Cuhlainn, no doubt doing his famous…

  • gallery cats

    Mallorcans love cats and dogs. They are well-treated and indulged, and are everywhere on the island, usually not far from their doting owners. I snapped this mother and daughter duo in a Gallery in the incredibly picturesque village of Sóller. I caught the rickety train, with its old-fashioned wooden carriages, into the mountains to explore the town for a couple of hours. The train trundled upwards past almond trees shedding their blossoms, trees dripping with lemons and oranges, and ancient olive groves. Sóller’s buildings are relatively unaltered, with terracotta roofs, wrought iron balconies and sturdy, polished wooden doors. Many of its winding, narrow streets – loomed over by serrated mountains…

  • Upstart

    For those of you not in Ireland we have a general election looming. The country is in “a terrible state o’ chassis”, to quote Captain Boyle in O’Casey’s play Juno and the Paycock. Part of my job is working with advocacy groups for the Arts in Ireland. In the past year and half Arts organisations have been working hard to remind politicians of the role of the Arts to our culture and economy. The above video is from UpStart, a non-profit arts collective which aims to put creativity into the public arena during the Election Campaign in 2011. It plans to do this by reinterpreting the spaces commonly used for…

  • Mise en abyme

    This is a set of Matryoshka dolls, or Russian nesting dolls, I bought recently at the craft fair in Galway (they are from Minsk). I’ve always wanted at least one set, because there is something about the self-similarity aspect of the dolls that appeal to me a great deal. I was introduced to the concept of fractals by Martin, quite soon after we met. Martin was an engineering student at the time, and loved the elegance of fractal mathematics and the Mandelbrot set in particular. When I saw the recursive patterns printed as images it immediately reminded me of the artwork by M.C. Escher. When I was a kid a…

  • autumn phoenix

    We had another fantastic autumn day in the West of Ireland with icy blue skies and the sun burnishing the dying leaves copper and gold. I took advantage of the good weather to take lots of photographs, because at this time of the year who knows what tomorrow will bring? Tonight, it is frosty with a dollop of fat moon in the sky. The spirit of Halloween is very much present. This evening, instead of a photograph, here’s artwork inspired by the woods and the weather. I’ll expect I’ll have my first hot port* of the season soon. That is when I know winter has really arrived. * Hot Port:…

  • details

    I took the above picture last week in the woods. The useful thing about macro photography is that it teaches you to spot subjects that transform under a focused gaze. It wasn’t until I was steadying the camera that I noticed the tiny spiral shell latched onto one of the rose hips. It immediately made the shot more interesting to me, and what I wanted to showcase in the image changed. I no longer wanted to capture rose hips on an autumn morning, I was endeavouring to illustrate a more abstract idea. While the shell is hardly unnatural, its position and perfection makes it seem like a surreal addition. It…