1. What and where was your first artistic experience?
It’s hard to pick one exact experience but I grew up in a home with creative older siblings. My oldest sister always had a easel, canvas, oil paint and music on the go. This experience was very natural and second nature to me.
2. What motivates you to continue with your artistic activities now?
What motivates me is a constant drive to be creative, it’s built in. How to develop an idea, problem solve and watch it come to fruition. Then find the next project to get going with.
3. How would you describe the work that you are doing now?
The work I do now is a combination of my personal studio practice (Visual Ceramic Arts), Landmarks Coordinator for Community Arts Partnership and Arts Care Artist in Residence for Northern Ireland Hospice. And most recently Arts Consultant and Coordinator for the Integrated Public Arts Programme for Northern Ireland Adult Hospice’s rebuild.
4. Are there any barriers, which stifle your ability to pursue your career in the arts?
The barriers are normally financial. I would love to have more time in the studio developing my personal practice but reality bites and the need to subsidise your wage to survive is a continuous battle.
5. You are a community artist – how did your activities in local communities come about?
My first experience in a community context came just after art college when I received my first public art commission. As part of that contract I had to deliver my first set of community workshops. It went well as I had a good grasp of the group and they were keen to get stuck in.
6. Have you any experiences with Community Arts Partnership – if so could you say a little bit about them.
Yes, I am the coordinator of the Landmarks programme. I have worked with CAP for six years managing project artists and developing socially inclusive art in public projects throughout Northern Ireland. For such a small organisation our output and outreach is impressive. We act as a catalyst giving groups and artists an opportunity to realise their potential to enhance their environment through creative dialogue.
7. Have you worked in areas of social and economic deprivation and if so any thoughts on the arts in those areas.?
Yes, most the work I do within a community or health care context tends to be in or with people from socially deprived areas. I think the more provisions people have to engage with creativity across all mediums, socially deprived or not the better. However people from these areas are less likely to access or follow through with arts activities due to financial restraints. Therefore it is our responsibility as a society to nurture creativity, supporting our community where creative health and well being go hand in hand.