The writing’s on the wall – graffiti in Ireland

The Drogheda Graffiti Jam of 2012

The Drogheda Graffiti Jam of 2012

Hopping a fence and scrambling down the overgrown banks of the river Boyne by the side of a bridge in Drogheda is an unusual activity for a hazy Sunday afternoon. A cloying smell of spray paint hits about half-way down, as three young be-hoodied pups, taking it in turns to cover a side wall with colour, look up and then carry on with the task at hand.

Under the Bridge of Peace, groups of older lads are having a smoke as they contemplate their work. On both sides of the river, the gigantic internal supports of the bridge are covered in half-completed large-scale graffiti work. At the foot of the walls are dozens of cans of spraypaint; ladders and pulleys rest against the stone-work.

It’s the annual Bridge Jam in Drogheda, the biggest event in the Irish graffiti calendar. It is a highlight of the year for the Co Louth town and one of the longest-running and most reputable events in the world of international graffiti. The Jam is organised by RASK, the ‘godfather of Irish graffiti’. He had chuckled at the description a few days earlier, saying that, having recently turned 40, he was more like the grandfather of Irish graffiti.

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The Hot Press Interview with Conor Harrington

Conor Harrington Underbelly (Martha Cooper)

Conor Harrington Underbelly (Martha Cooper)

This fortnight’s edition of Hot Press magazine hit the stands on Wednesday, with a big interview  conducted by my good self with Irish-born and London-residing street and fine artist Conor Harrington.

It kicks off a mini-series I’m working on for the magazine about different aspects of street art, where I’ll touch base with some of the key players in the various outdoor art scenes linked to Ireland.

Sometimes dismissed as vandalism, the scene of recent years has not only produced fascinating work in its own right but also launched some remarkably successful careers.

In this issue, Conor spoke to me at length about what drives artists to brave the wrath of the law and paint illegally and how his work took him on a dark excursion into the bowels of the Paris Metro as a participant in the very rare Underbelly project.

Grab a copy of Hot Press to find out more.

Video Interview with Texas Frontwoman Sharleen Spiteri

I was thrilled to interview Sharleen Spiteri of Texas for Irish music and culture magazine Hot Press this week – a big day for me as I loved her as a teenager – and they caught it on video.

The lovely Ms Spiteri was in Dublin for the launch of this year’s Arthur’s Day celebrations, which feature Texas as a headline act.

This is what Sharleen Spiteri of Texas had to say to Monica Heck for Hot Press.

The interesting bit about this year’s line-up is that a) they’ve ditched the ticketing system and b) any artist could appear in any pub in Ireland, as people across the country vote for their local pub to be the host of one of the big names on the bill including Tinie Tempah, Ellie Goulding, Amy Macdonald, Fatboy Slim and Mika.

The winning names will be a secret until the night so nobody knows who’s about to walk through the door. And all the events are free. Voting is online until September 16.

Hot Press also interviewed Amy Macdonald at the launch.

 

This is my personal link to Texas, that song was so big when I was a teen it always brings me back:

Bigwigs, Madonna and building walls: my chat with Mick Flannery

This is an interview I did with the incredibly talented yet incredibly modest Mick Flannery – which appeared in the latest issue of Hot Press. I caught up with him ahead of his appearance at the Liss Ard festival in Cork this weekend.

We chatted about Madonna, stones and finding a bigwig sponsor.

Here’s a scan of the article as it appeared in Vol 36 issue 15 (August 8 2012) of Hot Press

Mick Flannery interview by Monica Heck

Mick Flannery interview by Monica Heck

Check out the video for Only Gettin On:

Inside the Devil’s Den – the world of heavy metal tattooing in Dublin

I spent an afternoon at the Devil’s Den Tattoo shop in Dublin to find out who is behind the tattoo on both sides of the gun. I found a world of subtle precision, dedication and friendship.