So this is it, my artists residency begins in Kilkenny No.76 formally No.72, a dream come true.

I drove down a few days early to unload all my materials and equipment at the gallery before the bank holiday weekend. This also gave me a chance to spend the weekend getting to know Kilkenny, and to try to find people to swim with, especially down the River Nore that runs through Kilkenny and right past the arts office….
My art is a combination of painting, sculpture and more recently in-corperating film and animation. Water has always played an important role in my work, recently I have been using water, whirlpools and tornados to represent an internal energy within us all, my art work creates stories that question ideas on how we control this energy, if that’s at all possible; and the consequences of our actions.

Above picture is from my Ballina Arts Centre exhibition in December 2009.

I had just bought a ‘Hero’ camera that is waterproof and you attach to your helmet like the parachute jumpers and mountain bikers use. Luckily it arrived the very morning before I left, and I was dying to try it out. I am hoping that footage from this camera will help inform and develop my new work.

I have used a regular waterproof camera before, this is a photo was taken the week before Kilkenny on the ‘East-West Swim’ with my old pentax camera, its only 5mp but I have had some great work from it. I love the magical effect the water has on the images, you never really know what you’ll get.

 

I love the colors in this photo below took around two years ago.

In my search for swimmers I emailed the local triathlon clubs and Kayak clubs, the river was too much in spate for just regular swimming but I was really fortunate to hook up with Kilkenny Kayak Club who let me gate crash their Easter Monday canoe trip.

I haven’t canoed in a river for years and would be far happier in the water as to on top of it. I was a bit apprehensive about the weirs, but it was great fun and Phil my co-pilot was very good at steering and putting up with my constant chatting!

Here’s a film of me swimming some rapids in the Nore. I learnt a lot about using this camera, mainly not to be screaming and shouting the whole time.

This film is a bit embarrassing, but if I had edited out all my screaming there wouldn’t be any film left!

This was just a first test drive, and I am looking forward to having longer time to swim with it and obviously get better at using it.

Thanks to my mac-tech friend in Peter in Galway who gave me an over the phone tutorial last night, I can now take still images from the films, from these I can develop drawings and ideas to use in my new work. Below are a few, the quality isn’t printable but I’m delighted you can make the stills.

 

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