James Devlin is a Dublin based visual artist whose powerful pieces of work are currently on display at the In-spire Galerie on Gardiner street and Gallery X on South William street. Originally from Bray, he has spent time honing his craft in New York and currently lives in Dublin. The self-described ‘tyrant with a paintbrush’ spoke to us about his upcoming solo exhibition and gave us his top Dublin tips.
Tell us what you’re working on at the moment
Right now I have artwork on display at In-Spire Galerie and Gallery X in Dublin city centre. I’m also working towards another solo exhibition called “The Rise of Urban Renaissance” which will showcase abstract paintings depicting urban city life. This will open in the new year, however the gallery it will be shown in has yet to be confirmed. I’m excited to have this exhibition in Dublin and think it will be the best batch yet.
Your work is very powerful, tell us more about what inspires you?
People inspire me most. You meet some real characters in the city. I believe that the environment shapes this. The more people packed into a smaller area, the larger you have to be to stand out. This makes for some interesting subjects. I love music too and words, words can be fun to play with even if it doesn’t make sense. It can conjure up an imagine that’s fresh and different, it’s also interesting to try to visualize a sound.
How long have you been based in Dublin?
I’m originally from Bray, Wicklow. I worked in TV for a while until about three years ago when I sold my first painting. From there I spent three months in New York City. It was kind of a self paid artist’s residency. From there I realized two things. That I wanted to pursue visual arts and that I needed to live and work in a city. That’s when I made the move to Dublin. It’s so much easier to be close by when opportunities arise.
What do you think about the art scene in Dublin? Can it rival other great cities?
The art scene in Dublin certainly has potential. Sure, it’s smaller than other European and North American cities, but we are famous for producing greatness in the arts sector. I’ve seen outstanding work come out of this city. There are a number of limitations obviously, the size, funding to arts and fewer options for space. I won’t let that hold me back though. I’m a tyrant with a paint brush, I’ll put my nose down, do the hard work, and get where I need to be.
What is your favourite thing about Dublin?
I take long walks in Dublin every single day, the city has a lot of surprises. Once you keep your eyes wide open, you’ll find them. There are interesting things happening on the underground but they won’t stay hidden for long. Creatives are too loud to go unnoticed. I’m excited to see what happens in the art world in the next year. I want to leave my mark on the city before I move on to something else. I think this solo show will leave a mark!
Give us your top Dublin tip!
My top Dublin tip would be to walk and talk. Explore the area you live in (by foot, preferably) and get to know the people around you. There are a lot of people new here, so create the environment for them that you would like to live in. Great things can happen by just talking to people. And if that fails? You can always check out my Instagram account @devlinnewworks where you can see exactly the kind of art I produce, right here in Dublin.
A sample of some of James’s work: