Aoife Burke talks to Kerry artist Edel Wilson about where she started, what she’s doing and where she’s going to!
First of all, could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
My name’s Edel and I’m an art addict! I’m from Tralee in Co.Kerry where I currently live and share a studio space in the upstairs of a sign company which is run by my uncle, so very lucky or else I’d still be looking for a studio in Kerry. I studied Fine Art in Crawford college in Cork and did mainly painting. I love painting but don’t do much anymore as I’m concentrating on printmaking and making loads of other little projects. My art at the moment is just fun. I wanted to make fun images that people could enjoy and get a reaction from and I’ve gotten loads of happy reactions. After art college it’s so hard to make art just for you and stop thinking of having to come up with a serious art project, which made me start getting more into printmaking and illustration.
You have a really distinctive style; where do you find your influences?
All my work starts off as an illustration or little drawing in my sketch book. My influences come from everywhere: from nature, music, movies – I cant pinpoint one specific area. This month I’ve been obsessing about “the sea of love” song lyrics, and everything from the sea, so I’ve been doing loads of little drawings about the sea. It’s lucky that I live in Kerry!
What’s your favourite medium to work with?
I love everything about oil paint – the consistency, the smell, the shine. Screen printing ink is the same – there’s so much you can do with printing like adding different layers and materials into one piece.
Your Etsy Shop is whimsically called “From the fox den” – where did the name come from?
‘From the fox den’ comes from the name of the area where my parents house is in Kerry, Poulawaddrarua. It means “fox den” in English.
Apart from your Etsy store, how else do you get your art noticed?
I travel around to craft fairs, I do the Fair Alternative in Cork – it’s on Princes Street. In Dublin I mostly do the Smithfield Market Fair and occasionally the Fabulous Market in The George and the Ha’Penny Market.
I also get orders though Facebook and Instagram.
Do you think there’s enough support for artists like yourself in Ireland, or do much of the opportunities still lie in Dublin?
Definitely not in Kerry – there’s no artist studios, nowhere to rent a space as a studio, no galleries in Tralee, no arts centre. If it wasn’t for Craftmakers on Ashe St there wouldn’t even be a craft shop – it hosts workshops too. All the opportunities are in Dublin.
What have you planned for the future?
In the near future I’m going to be doing some printmaking workshops in Craftmakers, probably October/November. I’m also planning to fix up my website, continue doing craft fairs around Ireland and try to get back to painting.