Thursday, June 14, 2018

A mural in Myanmar

I’ve been living in Yangon, Myanmar (Burma) for the past two years. It’s such a magical place, it completely sweeps you off your feet! The city is full of colour, bustling street life, golden pagodas and crumbling, colonial buildings.

A friend of mine, Mark is an architect here and he’s working with a team of people to restore these colonial buildings. Their organisation is called Doh Eain (which translates in Myanmar as “Our Home”). It is a social enterprise aimed at citizen-led heritage conservation.

They also help to clean up the alleyways between buildings to give civic spaces back to the local residents.

He asked me to do a mural to reflect this in their beautiful office space and here's what I made: 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Monday, November 22, 2010

Forest and The Fox

I'm doing an animation course. Here are some of the drawings I've been doing for a short animation piece. The story is about a boy called Forest who tames a fox.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Why Nature would win in a wrestling ring

Arthritic hunch

I've been thinking about some of the mad-cap shamanism I came across in Norway. What with all the sublime nature around me on the farm, I picked up a thing or two about how nature could probably take on a hospital in a wrestling ring and emerge roaring and victorious, cracking Hospital's back over its knee and delivering The People's Elbow from the corner post. (Not being a boy, all the wrestling terms come care of my friend Davy.)

For instance, one day, in the throws of launching myself killer-gardener style on doc leaf plants and trying to haul them out of the ground, I realised I was surrounded by a sea of nettles. I copped all too slowly that the tingling sensation that had been running all up and down my legs had little to do with my newly toned muscles and more to do with nettles blistering my legs to bits.

Feeling arthritic?
Gobble a few nettle leaves

"Do not worry," smiled the wise old head gardener, "nettles are Nature's cure for Arthritis."

Nature had done it again and there she was, doing laps of the wrestling ring; victorious and boastful, tossing nettle leaves to hoards of her adoring crowds.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Similarly, if you ever find yourself in the forest and are struck down by a toothache, reach for the nearest slug. In the slime of slugs, Nature has gifted us with a natural anaesthetic.

Feeling a little sluggish?
Use slug slime as an anaesthetic

Native Americans knew all about Nature's prowess in the wrestling ring. They used slug slime as an anaesthetic for years before the dentist's needle came into vogue.

So try them out today! If you find the nettles too stingy on your joints, rub on some slug slime salve to numb the sting.

Monday, August 23, 2010


Nothing much doing here for a while.

I've been away in Norway for the past month. It was a great big last minute decision to take off on an adventure there. My friend Brenda had smoked out a great place in the south-central mountains where we could volunteer on an organic farm.

The organisation we used is known as WWOOFing. A ridiculous acronym if ever there was one, and tricky too when you encounter someone who hasn't heard of it. Roaring, "I'm a wwOOfer here!", over acres of chickens sqwaking wildly behind me wasn't too easily patched up.

What WWOOF actually means is Willing Workers on Organic Farms. You can contact listed farms on the wwoofing website to offer to volunteer for a few weeks or months, in exchange for food and board. It's a wonderful idea and makes loads of sense because organic farming would break the heart of any hairy-cheeked enthusiast. Have a look at wwoofing here.

It was a proper adventure too, all tumbling mountains, pearly clouds and glassy fjords. We'd our noses pressed to the windows on the drive from Oslo, scouting for lynx and elks and bears and wolverines!

I learned how to milk a cow, polish white eggs to a startling brightness (without them exploding in my hands), how to extract honey, what to do in the event of a calf breaking loose, where to scavenge for wild blueberries, but most of all, oh God, most of to weed. If only I'd had the presense of mind to smuggle a box of pesticide through Norwegian customs. There was nothing left unwed: Kolraibi, carrots, onions, lettuces, cabbages, tomatoes, courgettes, maize.

For some welcome respite I would help my friend Maja with the cows. There were 20 milking cows and 8 calves. We'd open the gate to their pasture and bellow "Kom Igjen", which in Norwegian means, "Come on ladies, let's see some of that creamy goodness".


It would take a while, but then, like magic, they'd all lurch forward together, jolting their knees out from under them. They'd stumble their hind legs into half a stand and then slowly, and god love them, ungracefully they'd rise to their feet, all knuckles and hooves. Their cow bellings clanging, they'd start the long, amble down the hill like old relics from the past. Such lovely creatures. I think I loved them because they were so warm and slow and docile. Everthing you'd love in a big, wheezy dog.

The farm was host to so many great people. Wonderful storytellers and hunters who told stories about wild elk and badgers, how to gut a fish and smoke an elk's heart.

Lovely to be back to put some order on the tales. Expect more nature table updates soon.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Solstice Arts Festival

A drawing from the children's book I've made for the festival

Hello all!

I'm taking part in a wonderful Arts Festival this weekend which is being curated by the great Brenda Kearney.

I've made a children's book which I'll be reading at 2pm on Sunday with accompanying music by Georgia Cusack and Patrick Groenland. I've loved their music for so long, it's an absolute pleasure to collaborate with them!

I've also submitted 5 drawings to the exhibition which will be on show (and for sale!) over the weekend.

There's heaps more happening over the weekend including jazz, short films and theatre and lots more besides! Do drop in if you're in the area.

The festival takes place in The Back Loft, just off Thomas Street and is €5 in.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

In the mini-woodland...

At the beginning of this week I called out to St. Brigid's Junior National School in Finglas in Dublin to begin another mural.

I was asked by Elaine, their Greens Schools Committee Member, to create a mural in the mini-woodland of the children's playground. The mini-woodland backs onto an 80 ft long wall.

I wanted to incorporate the woods into the mural. I also felt that the wall was long enough to narrate a whole story so I started sketching woodland scenes with foxes and wolves and woodcutters and finally decided on the story of Little Red Riding Hood.

I tried to sidestep the more macabre versions of the fairytale. I still remember how delighted, but horrified I was as a child when a teacher told us the ending where the wolf's belly is cut open and filled with stones! I suppose that feeling is the true point of fairytales but I felt I should keep it good and wholesome and so I broke the story up into 6 pictures to retell the story. Here are the sketches:

1. Red Riding Hood waves goodbye...

2. On the way, she meets dapper Mr. Wolf...

3. Little Red Riding Hood asks a few pointed questions in Granny's house

4. A woodcutter hears the commotion

5. And chases the wolf away

6. They celebrate Granny's magical reappearance with cake.
The End.


And here it is in real life! I drew the lot in one day, in dappled shade, with the smell of barkmulch and fresh green buds and rOaring children at lunchtime!

The kids in first class are going to paint the mural. I'll put up photos of the wall once they're finished.