By Cameron Hourigan
I found my love for art when I was a child around 6 or 7 when I started spending most of my
weekends with my friend Irene and her family.
Irene and myself would usually spend our time dressing up and putting on shows or making up our own songs but together we also spent a lot of time with her mother Iole drawing and painting. The two of us took part in many workshops in the Ark, the cultural centre for children where Irene’s mum worked. One course I loved was creating a mosaic design for a column facing the square at the back of the Ark. This project always gave me great pride and confidence as a child and still does it as it is a public display of an art project I was involved in.
As I got older my love for art grew stronger, so when I started secondary school I chose Art, Craft and Design as my first choice subject. However by the end of the year my art teacher and myself were not getting along. I was expected to draw or paint what he wanted me to and because of that I could not draw or paint to the best of my abilities.
Unless you feel a passion behind the piece you are committed to, it is difficult to do art. Because of this difficulty with my art teacher I started to loose interest in the subject. One day just before my junior cert I was in art class and the art teacher insulted me about the piece I was working on. I was quite upset over this and lodged a complaint with my school’s Principal but as a consequence I lost a great deal of confidence in my work and decided to drop out of art class at the start of the next school year.
I continued to draw and sketch in my free time but never really built back up the confidence in my work in order to take it to the next level. Slowly over the next couple of years I would draw less and less and my creativity dried up.
I started working in a dead end job in a filling station in Athlone last year working up to 56 hrs a week on minimum wage, so I found myself with even less time to pursue any kind of art work. When I was offered the opportunity to do the Working with Children Through Arts course with Art to Heart last February I jumped at the opportunity to get back in touch with what I loved most. I had lost touch with my creative side in the daily grind of my life and was looking for a way to get my creativity flowing again. I reduced my working week down to 24 hrs and commuted from Athlone to Dublin weekly to participate in the course. At times I felt like I was plagued with creative block but gradually I began to feel the artist in me awaken again. By the third week of the course I had decided to hand in my notice in work and pursue my art full-time.
At the end of the course I travelled to lake Como in Italy to participate in another art course ran by Iole.
The setting was an artist’s dream, situated at the foot of the Alps and sitting on the side of the lake, the small town of Menaggio, with its quaint old-world feel and artistic touches to the architecture, was like a living canvas. We found ourselves submerged in art and our week was full of sketching, painting, with a lot of local history and sight seeing, we never found ourselves without inspiration.
I will be starting a full time art course in September so that I may gain a qualification in art and design and will hopefully be pursuing art as my career in the future, whether by selling my own art work or working with those who have lost their creativity and are looking to get back into art as I was. I hope some day to give others the opportunities I was given so that they may be able to leave a piece of their soul on canvas as I do.