Shane Berkery

I’ve enjoyed drawing and making things from when I was small. When I was in primary school I briefly thought I wanted to be a comic artist but after that I never considered becoming a full time artist until my 2nd year in NCAD when I kind of just internally decided I’d go for it.

I did a solo show at the start of 4th year in college and my paintings were mostly done without prep work or photographic reference, so the work was quite ‘cartoony’ and less mature. Then I started using photos as a reference, in particular old ones that my Japanese grandfather took, and I realised that I enjoyed working that way and that the resulting images were much more striking and mature.

I start by building the canvases from scratch, then I find an image that I feel compelled to paint and get going. I mainly use photographs of people that are my own or my family’s. In the painting process I try to depict the figure in a way that it gives off a strong sense of presence. I do this by accentuating certain details and leaving others out, finding compositional structures within the image while always trying to expand on my vocabulary in colour.

It seems like a lot is coming out of young Irish creatives and I do think Ireland might be an artistic hotspot soon. I personally have had support from all different kinds of people that are genuinely interested in helping me move forward and I think that is a very important aspect.

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