A question of taste Q&A with Holly Walsh

Holly Walsh is a visual artist from in Waterfall, Co Cork. She graduated from CIT Crawford College of Art and Design in 2016 and was selected for the Student of the Year exhibition that is currently running at the Lavit Gallery at Fr Mathew Street, Cork.

Best recent book you’ve read: Neil Gaimen’s Smoke and Mirrors, an anthology of short stories dealing with the curiosities during seemingly ordinary lives on a both grand and mundane scale. The pacing of short stories is something I’ve always enjoyed, as I like to dive in and out of different stories when it suits.

Best recent film: Arrival (2016), Denis Villeneuve’s science fiction film offers an intriguing view of how an alien visitation to earth could take place, leaning more towards the cerebral than the violent.

Best recent exhibition you’ve seen: Lucien Freud Project, IMMA. Paintings are often best viewed in the flesh, and with a painter known for his depictions of flesh this is all the more evident.

Best piece of music you’ve been listening to lately: Abra, Sampha and Sevdaliza are all up and coming artists I’ve been enjoying recently, blending genres of RnB with other respective influences. When I’m in the mood for something more classical I tend towards piano pieces by Chopin.

First ever piece of art that really moved you: Thinking back on what first moved me in the art world, I am inclined to say the works of Leonardo Da Vinci. Admittedly no one piece sticks out in my memory, more a recollection of awe in these artworks that were both technically stunning but also moving in an emotional way.

Best exhibition you’ve ever seen: The collection in the Louvre Paris would have to be my favourites, simply for it’s scope. From ancient marble statues to immaculate Vermeer’s, the gallery is a delight for any art history lover. To get lost and wander its vast galleries is a beautiful way to spend a day.

TV viewing: Travel/cooking shows are often my go to for informative but enjoyable shows, as I have a good interest in cooking. Shameless and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia are currently my go for lighthearted, irreverent humour.

You’re curating your dream exhibition — what three artists are on the bill, living or dead? JMW Turner for sublime and tumultuous landscapes, Albrecht Dürer for meticulous and beautiful etching and paintings of nature, and Harry Clarke for iridescent and luminous scenes painted on stained glass. Perhaps it wouldn’t be the most cohesive of shows, but for my own pleasure these artists would be what I would enjoy the most for their own unique beauty that they captured in their work.

You can portal back to any period of human cultural history or artistic event — where, when, and why? Romanticism holds a strange fascination for me; for the emotions instilled by the artists for their surroundings and the dynamism in much of the artworks created in that period. Although it straddles the line between the sublime and the pastiche at times (and is sometimes ridiculed as over sentimental/ idealised), I long for my own ‘Grand Tour’ of European vistas.

Unsung hero — individual, organisation or group you think don’t get the profile/praise they deserve: ISPCA has always been a cause I’ve felt strongly for. Animals are often our most loving, non-judgmental companions, and they deserve all the love and care we can afford.

You are queen for a day — what’s your first decree? That my day as queen is decreed a day of rest; spent on enjoying the simpler things.... To be spent in the outdoors with no focus other than on the beautiful things we take for granted. No phones, no work, no social media, just taking a moment to take it all in and nothing more.


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