An Interview With Kevin Bohan
- Tell us a little about yourself as a Studio and Street Artist:
I am a firm believer in the positive effects of personal creative expression no matter what the medium, where you create it and what size doesn’t matter . Producing a creative act is something I try to exercise everyday. I draw most days and always keep a sketchbook nearby (I am up to double figures now in my growing sketchbook collection). My favorite creative activity is to paint large outdoor and commission murals and I have many graffiti/street artist friends whom I enjoy collaborating with and learning from. My main artistic loves are ink drawing, digital illustration, acrylic painting and mixed-media collages – or a mixture of all!
- How long have you been making art and what drives you to do it?
Definitely a late bloomer, I came to (or came back to) art in my mid-thirties. After leaving school in 1991 I studied Animation Drawing Skills in Ballyfermot College of Art in Ireland. Then somehow in 1993 I stumbled into the printing industry where I worked full-time until 2007. Leaving that behind I returned to my first loves – art & creativity. So the last four or five years have been very full on as I feel I am only developing on the hoof and each piece of work or project or exhibition is a major learning curve for me.
- You chose SteamPunk as an Industrial theme for your live paint at Species; tell us a little about the imagery in your painting:
Well two major influences on me from my childhood which would be considered ‘Steampunk’ would be the whole HR Giger/Ridley Scott ‘Alien’ movie, effects, set-design and concept artwork. Also of course Scott’s sci-fi masterpiece ‘Bladerunner’.
I have a stack of 2000AD and Judge Dredd comics in my attic which I read religiously as a teenager and I can only imagine now what influential seeds were planted back then that are slowly coming out.
- How did you get into Graffiti? What advice would you give to new artists that would like to get into Graffiti?
In 2008 I was blessed to have been given a little Shih Tzu named Calvin. I lived at Grand Canal Dock at the time and walked Calvin twice a day around the area. I started to notice all the graffiti and street art around the docklands and Windmill Lane. So one day I brought my camera with me and I started documenting all these wonderful scrawls, letters, characters and murals. I did this more or less until 2015 amassing over 32,000 photographs, a website, a FB page and an exhibition in FilmBase, Temple Bar, Dublin called ‘In Dublin’s Fair City’. For any new artists I would recommend trying to develop your own style from the off (easier said then done) and try to find a good group of friends or associates to paint with. It can be a very social thing plus you each share techniques, discoveries and experiences.
- What preparations for your live paint did you do on the run up to species?
When painting a mural I usually like to prepare mentally. I will develop a concept in my head and dwell on it for a time. I usually paint freestyle just using reference materials such as sketches or photographs but rarely copying meticulously. I feel I am still only learning the basics so I make it up as I go along. Sometimes this can work out really well and other times not so much… but each time is an adventure.
- What part of Gothic & Industrial culture intrigues you most?
Definitely the more Steampunk art end and the colour black lol. A lot of the music, style, etc would not be for me but each to their own, I am all for creative freedom and expression. I have never been one for dressing flamboyantly or wishing to stand out in a crowd as I am quite shy but I admire people who have style and can show it off.
- What is your views Gothic and Industrial culture in Ireland today?
I don’t really know too much about it but I do know quite a few artists who would probably paint quite dark or Gothic works (not wishing to pigeonhole anyone) and some of these would be among my favorite artists that I know personally. A lot of talent and hard work going on out there and it deserves to be seen and appreciated by everyone.
- What parts of Species did you enjoy most?
Apart from the weather putting a bit of a dampener on it, the mural painting is always fun and I love collaborating with other artists especially if their style is very different from mine but somehow we can make it work. I also quite enjoyed some of the gigs… very unique and different from what I am used to! The Beatles it wasn’t, but all the better for it.
Would you like to be artistically involved next year?
Definitely! I would love to stay longer this year and paint a massive mural with some of the artists. The rain put a stop to it but if we got a two days of good weather I feel we could put something amazing together.