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I am really enjoying my time here at John’s Street, I am over the half way mark now, and am working very hard, but I do wish I could sprout another set of hands as I can’t seem to work fast enough!

My cake wielding, vulture carrying lady attracted a good crowd over the weekend, it was great while working in my goldfish bowl (reference to the two large windows looking out onto John’s Street) to witness the reaction of passer byers to my work in the window, it gave me great confidence.

This weekend I had to postpone the weekly swim filming in order to catch up with my work. I will train with Waterford Triathlon swimmers on at Dunmore on Monday evening though.

There are many artists in all different mediums who choose to use water and swimming in their art work. Here are a few that I have found interesting.

The late Roger Deakin wrote the book “Waterlog” a diary of his swims in the lakes and rivers throughout Britain.

This book is an inspiration to many swimmers and artists, and he well known in the ‘wild swimming’ groups in UK. Roger Deakin took inspiration from reading John Cheever’s short story “The Swimmer”.

I haven’t read the book, but I did see the film many years ago. It was brought to my attention at a time when there was a TV advert for Levis also inspired by the book “The Swimmer”. Below is a picture of Burt Lancaster, star of the film.

“The Swimmer” is a very bizzare film, and it doesn’t come recommended!  Although I really like the idea of the swimming home through all the swimming pools, there are some dodgy scenes, for instance Burt Lancaster running along side a black stallion in his speedos!

Below are two films, a snippet from “The Swimmer” trailer and the Levis advert.

Gary Coyle is an artist who documents his daily swims at The Forty Foot in Dun Laoghaire using photos, film and stage performance.

He mentioned the artist Richard Long who records his walks as his art practice. To quote Gary Coyle – “the thought entered my head, if Richard Long’s walks are art, why aren’t my swims?”

The Irish Times, August 8th 2009 article by Gemma Tipton.

I went to the Gary Coyle’s performance at the RHA the week before I came down to Kilkenny and I really enjoyed the opinions he had on performance art, how he was using his everyday activity as part of his work and performance.

Another quote – “I’ve got this everyday activity, this thing that happens at the bottom of my road and I’ve put it through an art mincer to see what comes out of it,”

The Irish Times, August 8th 2009 article by Gemma Tipton.

Myself and two Galway artists, Jennifer Cunningham and Lisa Sweeney did “The East-West Swim” the day after Gary Coyle’s performance. First we went in at The Forty Foot and when we arrived back to Galway that evening we went swimming in at Blackrock!

Anita Murphy a Galway artist  photographed the swimmers who meet daily at Blackrock swimming spot in Salthill, Galway

http://www.galwayartscentre.ie/events/view-event/123.html

The other day Niamh Finn sent me the link to the Cois Céim dance company who have just made a short dance film where the two dancers are performing under water. This film was chosen for the RTÉ Dance On The Box series.

http://www.coisceim.com/DeepEndDance.html

I am in the process of working out logistics for a “Swim To Work Day”. This is something I have always wanted to do, and now in Kilkenny my dream can come true! I can walk down to Green Bridge from my accomodation and literaly swim all the way to the front door of the Arts Office, John’s Street. What an opportunity!

I do have to find someone with a kayak or a competent swimmer to accompany me for safety, I have found lots of swimmers around the area, but no one in Kilkenny town centre yet.

The Tuesday evening youth group seem to enjoy having their portraits on the window in John’s Street! I asked them if they would think about their portrait animations and bring in anything that may be relevant or that they’d want to include in the animations for the next week.

The Wednesday morning animation group had a break this week, Teresa came in, and also some ladies from the “5 to 6 Kilkenny Women’s Art Group”, which is an all inclusive arts project for women, they have their own house which is their studio and workshop space. 

This was more of a casual meeting rather than a structured workshop. I explained what I was teaching in the animation workshops and they all took part in both the chalk and drawing “collaborative animations” as a taster.

The SOS group called in again on Thursday with two different groups, again this wasn’t a structured workshop. The lads got stuck into the collaborative chalk drawing and everyone seemed to enjoy the visit.

Later that Thursday I had arranged to go KCAT  in Callan to talk to Declan and see the animations they had made there. KCAT is an open access arts and life long learning initiative and runs art and theatre courses, exhibits and performs locally and  internationally.

Declan runs a three week animation module at KCAT. Andrew Pike one of the studio artists showed me his epic cut out animation and I also got to see Aisling’s beautiful horse animation,  Aisling is in the Wednesday morning animation group, and although I knew animation came very naturally to her, this film really blew me away.

I also picked up a chair from Jean at KCAT, all will be revealed in a future post!

I have decided to use ‘The Three Sisters’ which are the three local rivers, The Nore, The Barrow and The Suir as a starting point for my new work here in Kilkenny. The Three Sisters all join at Barrow Bridge and enter the sea at Waterford.

I intend to swim parts of the three rivers, experimenting with recording under water film and photos, this research part of my work will be on going as I am relitavely new to using film in art work. I also am using ‘The Three Sisters’ to base the characters in my new work on, these new pieces may connect with the under water footage, but it is still at experimental stages.

I met Niamh FitzGibbon over the bank holiday weekend who is a member of the Waterford Open Water Swimmers and has also swam the Channel in a relay and just in togs, in fact you have to wear togs to swim it as its The Channel Swim’s rules.

Niamh showed me The Barrow River and we went for a lovely swim, I was quite supprised by the strong current as the river looked so calm from the shore, I was glad to have an expert swimming with me who knows that stretch of the river very well.

Below is a short film of the swim.

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Art at No. 76

The aim and focus of the Art Residency at No. 76 is to enable the successful applicant to research and develop their practice. Other aims of the residency are to: give insights into how and why artists create their work, build relationships and further promote the Arts, provide an awareness and further appreciation of the Arts, cultivate and develop new audiences. The Kilkenny Arts Office is part of ArtLinks.ie

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