Every Picture Tells A Story


On Saturday, I put on my shorts and sandals and made my way to the final year degree show at the Limerick School of Art and Design on Clare St. The show is the culmination of four year’s work by the art students who attend the college and features a wide range of disciplines including painting, printmaking, graphic design, ceramics, sculpture and fashion. I arrived in the afternoon, so I didn’t get to see everything. In fact, I was taken aback by the quantity of work on offer, but also pleasantly delighted by the quality of work. I went to the painting department first where I met my friend, Gerry Davis, who gave myself and a mutual friend, Keith, a personal tour of his work. I first came across his art when he did the album cover for Limerick band, Vesta Varro, and then another local band, Seneca. I really like the humour, absurdity and inventiveness of his art. I was delighted to be present later when he won an award to have his paintings displayed at one of Limerick’s art galleries. It was a good day for him as he also sold some of his paintings. Nice one, Gerry

Gerry Davis' painting, Light, and me

Gerry Davis' painting, Light, and me

Then, another final year student, Gavin Smith, took me on a quick tour that took in his own work and ended at the sculpture department. I nearly lost him a few times, but always found him without too much difficulty. He was wearing an amazing technicolour jacket. Art students! I got to see some excellent paintings and was rarely bored, and often intrigued, by the work on offer. I wandered around on my own for a while and came across one of the more unusual pieces that I saw on the day. It was entitled “54” and this number refers to the house number of an elderly neighbour and friend of the artist. It was set up in a small room with a welcome mat and a pot of flowers outside the door. When you entered, you appeared in a facsimile of someone’s sitting room, complete with chairs, a dresser, and a television set and dvd player. I came in and sat down and watched a three-minute film that played in a continuous loop. This film featured a single shot of what looked like the actual sitting room which had been copied in this room in which I now sat. The short film continued with a young girl (the artist’s daughter) dancing to a piece of popular music. There was an elderly lady (the friend and neighbour of the artist) sitting on an armchair in the corner. This very same lady was also sitting in the corner of the room in which I now sat! At first I thought it was a live recording, but the dancing girl was not present. The film on tv continued with the elderly lady dancing to the same tune. I remained there for a few minutes as many perplexed people entered and exited the room. It was a strange but fascinating experience

I ended up at the graphic design department. It was late in the evening at this stage and I was able to wander around to my heart’s content. I was quite impressed by the quality and diversity of the pieces on offer here. It included book cover designs, music videos and advertising campaigns. As in other parts of the show, there were a lot of thought-provoking pieces on display as well as ones that combined some humour. At this point I got a call from Gerry and I joined him and his friends at The Locke Bar for a few beverages. Over the next few hours, I made several attempts to go home to change out of my shorts and sandals, but I found myself in the Trinity Rooms nightclub at one in the morning. I was still in my shorts and sandals and had somehow managed to gain admittance in my unconventional attire. Fortunately, I didn’t stand out too much as Gavin was still wearing his technicolour jacket

The relationship between art school and popular music is a long one and it really took off in England in the seventies when many groups met in art school and went on to form bands. Many left the art world behind them and had successful musical careers instead. Nevertheless, these bands utilised a lot of what they had learned from the art world in the style and content of their music as well as in their band’s look and their music videos. This has continued up to the present day. Here are some songs by musical artists about art, artists and the art world

Artists Only – Talking Heads

Debaser – Pixies

Art School (live) – The Jam

(My Baby Does) Good Sculptures – The Rezillos

The Model – Belle & Sebastian

Painting By Chagall – The Weepies

Art Groupie – Grace Jones

Graffiti Limbo – Michelle Shocked

Peter the Painter – Ian Dury

Picture in a Frame – Tom Waits

Pictures of Lily (The Who cover) – David Bowie

Pictures Of You – The Cure

Rene And Georgette Magritte With Their Dog After The War – Paul Simon

When I Paint My Masterpiece (Bob Dylan cover) – The Band

Story Of An Artist (Daniel Johnston cover) – M Ward

In The Gallery – Dire Straits

Painted from Memory – Elvis Costello

An Architect’s Dream – Kate Bush

A Case Of You – Joni Mitchell

Vincent (Don MacLean cover) – Susan Werner

Matchstalk Men & Matchstalk Cats & Dogs – Brian and Michael

5 thoughts on “Every Picture Tells A Story

  1. Peter the Painter by Ian Dury always seems like such a magical song. It changes so much yet maintains such beauty.

    Good choice!

  2. Thank you both for your comments. I was amazed at the scale of the event and I didn’t give myself enough time to check it all out. It’s a pity it’s finishing on Wednesday as I’ll be at work, but I might get in on Wednesday morning and the Printmaking Dept will be top of my list

  3. there is no photography discipline, perhaps you are thinking of Printmaking, which you failed to list above. nice read though.

  4. thank you so much for your wonderful review of our final year degree show! I was in the Printmaking Department which you might not have seen, it was in the church and in two other rooms. i’m really glad you enjoyed the show!!


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