Damian O'Connor

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Featured artist of the month

This month we meet Damian O'Connor.

What is your background?

Unimportant. Unless I craved my art being understood, which I don't. Over fifty years, I've enjoyed hundreds of exhibitions without having a clue as to artist's background and also more often than not, their name. I go to see their work. It matters little to me, who did it, or why. Usually I am either thrilled, amazed, confused, depressed, astonished, belittled, amused sometimes, all of these but nevertheless, usually inspired. I'm seeing their expressive output, wherever these people were at that time, in their lives' journey. Names, fancy narratives, ethereal explanations, rooted or skittish background histories draped on and around works, are unnecessary to me, irrelevant, manufactured puff to impress.

What inspires you?

Occasionally, I question, 'Why am I doing this'? 'Where is this energy, inspiration coming from'? I never get a satisfactory explanation, despite searching for a lifetime. I am at last, content to accept inspiration, as it comes, without question. It's there, like a permanent companion and mercifully continues to be, I am delighted it is so. My creative impulse is often inexplicably triggered, so it's pointless, listing a whole load of airy fairy words here. I can't see the point in navel gazing, so don't do it. I'm no less intrigued to see what others do when they're inspired, without the need to know where they're from, or what prompts them. It's their work that matters, the result. I have no interest whatsoever how the chef concocted a dish, temperature, ingredients, or where he's slaved up to now. I can imagine the effort that's gone in, I can taste how special it is, or isn't and either like it, or I don't. A difference in art perhaps, for me, is chef's cooks to please. What I am fascinated by, is the fact I'm inspired to create, at all.

What artwork would you most like to own, if money was no object?

'Statue of Liberty'. Four million visitors annually each pay twenty dollars entry, eighty million dollars coming in. If two other, imaginary but similarly impressive US monuments or 'works of art' existed, 'Statue of Giving', and 'Statue of Humanity', money no object, I'd buy those too. Combined entrance fees would bring a quarter of a billion dollars revenue a year. Not enough to change the world but could perhaps make a small difference to some of the global horrific suffering and hardship.

Inevitably, 'How would you do that'? arises. Art is about creative energy, isn't it. Ping-ponging opinions, on the merits of painted skin tones, seems grossly unnatural, all the while only a few hundred miles away in the dark, fleeing infant refugees are washed up on holiday beaches. Famine, no water, oppression, plague, we have an upside down world. J.M. Turners' 'Shipwreck of the Minotaur', would be useful to carry, held high, as a reminder, this horror is happening today. On a more upbeat note, our five year old son Louie's' artwork is priceless and I tell him so, daily.

Which artwork of yours are you most proud of?

None. They are each a disappointing compromise.

What are your future plans?

Beyond getting up in the morning, none. Plans get frustrated. Time, health, other people, weather, changes in mood, any number of random issues, all plonk themselves unexpectedly in the way and I end up irritated. Pointless having plans. I've plenty of hopes and wishes. Alas, without a wand, they are left to chance. In reality, isn't that the excitement of life, not knowing?

Do you have an idea of what you might show at Art Fair East 2016?

Yes. Some are done and waiting. Below is a small selection, showing a random detail from each. Others works have yet to surface, they depend on what bubbles up in my life and mind meantime.

I look forward to the exhibition. If we meet, please spare me polite conversation by resist asking me anything. I'm unlikely to know, or offer any sort of meaningful answer. I don't do small talk and it won't be the right time or place for 'sorting out the world'.

I hope you get a stimulating inner reaction from all exhibitions and works, where and whenever they present themselves. You won't see anything the same as anyone else, that's OK. The wonder of art can makes us think. All actions begin there and maybe, just maybe, through art, energies are aroused and change happens.

Soon there will be snowdrops. If you spot me crouched in a hedgerow, don't stop. I'll be marvelling at the micro wonder of life, along with sunrises, sunsets and the night sky. Little wonder, I remain bewildered at it all, clinging to my art.

contact: +44 (0)7768 755 340 / contact@damianoconnor.com