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Heinrich Boll Residency Jan/Feb 2019

I applied for this residency in 2017 after my Girlfriend mentioned 'Heinrich Boll' and his cottage on Achill Island. About 2 weeks later I was offered a place for 2019. I was happy with that as lots of people apply for it every year.

Heinrich Boll came here in the 1950's on Holidays and was fascinated by the local people and their ways. 

My art is based on growing up in rural Ireland so I'll be spending my time here making 2 small sculptures, a few paintings and short video/photography documentaries. I'll make a few videos about Heinrich Boll too and how Achill Island influenced him.

Day 1   26/01/2019

I drove up to Co. Mayo today. When I came onto the Island I remembered that I worked here on a film about 10 years ago! As I pulled up to the gate there were 2 filmmakers from the UK getting footage of the cottage for their own documentary. I'll ask the people in charge here if they can film inside tomorrow morning. 

The cottage is a really beautiful place. As is the surrounding landscape. The cottage is filled with books and artworks. There are about 3 different writing rooms and a workshop at the rear of the building. 

I'll go around the Island tomorrow taking photos and collect material from derelict sites. I'll be all set for Monday morning then to start on the frames for the sculptures.

Day 2    27/01/2019

I went into the islands bogs today to get images and colour references for the Sculptures and Paintings. I started on the frames for the sculptures and put undercoats on for the paintings. 


Day 3 - 28/01/2019

I went to a local beach early today and found some materials for my first sculpture. There were 4 aluminium type Rawl plugs on the beach caught in a piece of net. They look very old. Perfect for the legs. I'm using an old exterior glass light fitting for the roof.

I made wallpaper using the image of my parents cat 'Sylvester' who died of old age recently. I usually make my own wallpaper from images of people I know or admire. I'll put a few undercoat wallpapers on first and then give it a 'torn' look.

I also found a small tin of 'gold enamel' paint at the side of the road today. I don't how or why it got there? It was there by itself with no other rubbish. I painted the floor with it anyway.

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Day 4 - 29/01/2019

I visited a few derelict sites around the Island to get bits of timber and take photos. It was snowing today!


DAY 5 -30/01/2019

I started putting texture coats on 2 mixed media/paintings. I mixed colours that look like the landscape. There are so many colours in a bog if you look closely. The rounded shape of the rocks on the shoreline.


I put on an undercoat of a tiny seascape painting.  


Day 6 -31/01/2019

It was really cold outside today. Sleet and snow. My studio is really warm and comfortable so I spent a lot of time in it. I did some 'brickwork' and made the doors and windows. 


Day 7 -01/02/2019

I collected this 35mm Camera today in Dublin. I must get a few more lens next week. I'll put it to use next week. I hope to take portrait images of local people. I'll do the same in Kenya when I am there mid feb. 


Day 8 - 02/02/2019

I drove around the Island today with Susanne. It was a beautiful day here. She will be doing a German overdub on a short documentary about Heinrich Boll at the end of the week. 


Day 9 - 04/02/2019

We drove around the south Part of the Island today after I spend the morning finishing the roof tiles and putting an undercoat and texture on this sculpture. There are lots of interesting derelict buildings here. 

We went to Westport last night to Matt Molloys music pub. 


Day 10 - 05/02/2019

I finished off the sculpture that was based on Achill Island and a poem by Sarah Clancy. I hope to make sculptures in the future based on poems and stories by writers I like. 

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Day 11 - 06/02/2019

We went for a drive again around this fascinating Island. I collected more stuff on the beaches for a new sculpture I will finish in the next few days.

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Day 12 - 07/02/2019

I finished Sculpture 00-27 today. Some of the words on it are by a young band from Dublin. I've blurred out the words a bit until they give the ok to use them!


Day 13 - 08/02/2019

It was the last day of the residency today. I spent a lot of the day travelling around the Island taking more photographs. There was a big storm last night and it continued into the morning but then like the usually Irish weather the sun started to shine. The landscape looks really great during and after storms!


Myself and Susanne went to the 'Lourdies' Pub on the Island as a lot of the local artists and writers meet there every Friday evening. The renowned painter Camille Souter was there as she lives on the Island. I met her son Sculptor Tim Morris last year while I did a residency at Leitrim Sculpture Centre. 

I also met Sculptors John McHugh and Ronan Halpin who are on the 'Achill Heinrich Boll Association' board.


Day 14 - 09/02/2019

We left the cottage very early in the morning and made our way back to the mainland. It was a brilliant 2 weeks here and I got lots of work done. The residency gave me time to sit back and develop new ideas for the future. We ate fresh fish that we got from the local fishermen most days and sat by the fire every night.

I've read a lot about Heinrich Boll now. His book 'The Irish Journal' is really good. I've ordered a few more of his books and look forward to reading them. 

A big thank you to John McHugh and all at the Heinrich Boll Cottage Association for giving me the residency, the Arts Council and the caretaker John Smith who made us feel very welcome.


I would recommend any writers or artists reading this to apply for a residency and experience it for themselves.

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