Artist Eoin O’Connor is known for his cow paintings but, in the absence of his own stock, has to turn to his farmer friends’ cows as muses.
While his paintings and prints are well known, he didn’t set out to be an artist. “I studied architecture in Bolton Street in the early 90s but decided not to pursue it as I felt the need to do something else. I always had an interest in art and was drawn to painting,” he said.
“I was born in Dublin, grew up in Cork, went to college in Dublin, and ended up living in south county Wicklow – Aughrim – where I have lived for the last 16 years. I love it there; the people and particularly the landscape from which I derive a lot of my inspiration,” Eoin said.
I have no real connection with farming, but living where I do, you can’t help but be touched by it. I have a lot of farmer friends and use their cows as muses a lot of the time.
“Becoming an artist is not an easy road. You have got to hone your skills, accept rejection and survive on very little.”
Tenacity has seen him through. “I have been lucky in that I’m very determined and believe that it is important to do something you love as you only live once. I have been painting for 25 years and I’ve always been driven to get better. It’s the challenge of improvement as an artist that excites and drives me,” he said.
“I really love painting and it’s great to create something that people really value. The appreciation that my customers have for my work is very humbling and gives me a great kick.”
He has a gallery/studio in Gorey, Co. Wexford, where he paints. He also has a gallery in Mount Usher Gardens, Ashford, Co. Wicklow. “I do original paintings and from them I do fine art prints at price ranges to suit all pockets. My paintings seem to appeal to young people so it’s very important for me to be able to have something to suit all price ranges,” he said.
“All of my prints are done in Gorey where I have a super Epson fine art printer.
“I try to get out as often as possible with my sketch book and camera looking for inspiration. I use both my sketches and photos, and adapt them to form a painting. I have also started using an iPad pro which has a pencil that I can use to sketch, and I find this tool amazing,” said Eoin.
“The English artist, David Hockney, inspired me to try this format. He did an exhibition a couple of year back of paintings he did entirely on his iPhone. I embrace modern technology to help me in any way possible,” he said.
My cow paintings sell to anybody that likes them. A lot of the time city dwellers buy them to bring a bit of the country to their home, and rural people just like cows, it seems. In fact, I have a few smack bang in the middle of Chicago, in the famous Smith and Wollensky steak house.
His plans for the new year include working on some large paintings and trying to explore colour more.
“I am also going to do some limited-edition hand-embellished fine art prints which will be as close as you can get to an original but at a fraction of the price. From the end of January, I am starting to work with The Kilkenny Shop. I will be in 10 of its stores nationwide which is very exciting.”