Couch View 1 by Ciara Roche
Ciara Roche is a painter based in County Wexford. She was awarded the Visual Arts Bursary in 2020.
Do you have a favourite art work of all time?
No, I can’t say I have a specific favourite of all time, it tends to change almost daily. Today I am painting retail mannequins and the stillness of some of Prudence Flint’s women are lingering in my head.
What is your daily routine as an artist?
At the time of writing, we are in lockdown so it is quite a specific experience. I am so fortunate that my studio is in part of a converted garage in my homeplace and I live just a short walk away so studio closures and 5km travel rules have not been
a problem for me. With the lockdown, everyday lately has taken the same shape – I get into the studio around 9:30/10 and paint till 1:30, I then take my dogs for a walk around the fields and get some lunch. I am back in the studio at 2:30 and usually
am there till 5/6 depending on the flow of work that day. Most days are spent painting with admin bits bookending each day.
What would you say is the biggest challenge as an artist?
For me it is the financial precarity and finding a way to keep my practice sustainable.
Who has been of great influence to you in your field?
It has to be the artists and specifically Irish painters who are ahead of me in their careers and have shown that it is possible to be a painter in Ireland, that you can make a living and that there is always a way to support your practice. I have also
been fortunate to have studied under some brilliant tutors and I’m not sure I would be in the position I am in today if it wasn’t for their input.
What is the best piece of advice you would give an emerging artist?
I am at the beginning of my career myself so I am hesitant to give anyone advice but what I would say is - just keep making the work, even if you think nobody cares, do it for yourself.
What has the Visual Arts Bursary support from the Arts Council meant to your practice?
For the first time I have been able to be a full time artist for an extended amount of time. More development has happened in the last 10 months than in the 5 years before. Having the time to experiment, the time to fail, time to take risks and to push
through has been so essential in both the content of the paintings and how they have been made. It has also given me a confidence that what I am doing is worthwhile.
Tell us about what you did/your project?
I have been working on a few different things, back when the first lockdown kicked in I made a series of paintings tracking the light around my home, these paintings were a way to ease back into creativity at a time when it was difficult to paint. The
paintings went to on to be included in Home from Home an online exhibition with the Glucksman and in The Sky is Blue in Visual. I then made a lot of paintings of Ikea, specifically the furniture displays that mimic the home, perhaps
a natural continuation of my Home paintings. The paintings then became even more retail specific with paintings of shop interiors, mannequins and appliance displays. There has been a lot of experimenting with colour and scale in the work, using best
quality paints and a broader colour spectrum while making larger paintings along with small studies. I got the chance to do a lot of messing in the studio, having loads of disasters, wasting loads of paint while challenging myself as to what I can/should
paint. I have had a lot of fun making this work. I was offered a show in Mothers Tankstation Gallery in Dublin during this time and the show is set to open as soon as restrictions allow.
What are you doing next?
I am currently working towards a two person show with Emma Roche in Wexford Arts Centre. As I write this, I am surrounded by paintings of makeup displays from Charlotte Tilbury to Yves Saint Laurent. I feel like I am only getting started, the paintings
have a life of their own and could go anywhere, the only way to find out is to keep making them.
I am also doing PeripheriesMEET which is an online correspondence course for Wexford based artists in association with Gorey School of Art and Periphery Space, this has been brilliant and has been a lifeline in lockdown. We will have a show together in
Periphery Space sometime over the next few months which is stupidly exciting, living in the hope of seeing a show in real life.