Ciara O’Hara is an Irish visual artist based in south of England. Her exhibition Place, runs at the Riverside Café Gallery from 28 May – 01 July 2016.
Place is a body of work that explores landscape and travel, an interest which was prompted by Ciara’s recent move to England. The works in this exhibition are based on photographs taken during her travels to Iceland, Scotland, England and Ireland. They convey the fleeting relationship which exists when we, as outsiders, pass through a new landscape. We spoke to Ciara prior to the launch of her debut solo exhibition in England to find out what inspires the multi-talented artist and find out why she couldn’t survive without her trusty paper and pencil….
What are you working on at the moment Ciara and where do you find the ideas for your work?
At the moment I am working on a body of prints for an upcoming solo exhibition. It will be held next March in Graphic Studio Gallery in Dublin. I am currently making some copper plate etchings, but I hope to get started on some collagraphs and linocuts too. I find my ideas from the environment around me. Travel has a big affect on my work and is a constant source of inspiration.
What medium do you use in your practice?
This is an interesting question for me. I usually say printmaking, as that is what I studied, but in practice I use quite a variety of media in my work; including painting, drawing and sculpture. In the past I have used fabric, wool, found materials, plaster, porcelain and even light, so really whatever media suits a particular idea, which sometimes can be more than one.
What motivates you to make work, who do you believe has influenced your career & inspired you to start?
Motivation is always a difficult one but I know after a while of not making I just need to get back into the studio! I think fellow artists are a great influence and help with motivation too. I realised in secondary school that you could have a career in a creative field and art was by far my favourite subject so I decided to pursue it at third level, initially by completing a one year course in order to get my portfolio together and then applying to do a degree in fine art at University.
If you could pick one, what is your favourite piece of work you have created and why?
This is a difficult one… it’s hard to pick one as there are many that I’m attached to but for different reasons. I think I’ll go with an etching called ‘Rainbow Mountain’, not only did I sell out the whole edition it also sparked several more artworks, including two paintings and an installation piece.
If you had to name one, what is your proudest achievement?
I think my proudest achievement was my first solo exhibition in 2012, “Nowhere Here, Somewhere There”. It was held at the Talbot Gallery in Dublin. It is a great space which gives emerging artists the opportunity to show in a professional gallery. The owner, Elaine, allows a lot of freedom with the type of work you can show there. I took advantage of this by exhibiting a mixture of pieces using a wide variety of media.
What is the most indispensable item in your studio?
I think the humble pencil and paper, this is indispensable to get the work started and help formulate ideas. I find that all of my ideas begin in a sketchbook even if they end up finding their final shape through completely different media.
Where is your favourite place to see art?
I really enjoy seeing art in small independent or artist run spaces. Although I have been to the Venice Biennale a number of times and I love it. I particularly like seeing the work from the smaller countries that are usually dotted around Venice in really interesting old buildings. It really adds an extra dimension to the work when you experience it outside of the usual gallery space.