Street artist Fin Dac wows Cork with stunning murals

Cork artist Fin Dac is building quite a reputation with his impressive murals, writes Marc O’Sullivan.

CORK artist Fin Dac is working on a mural of U2’s The Edge at the Gibson Hotel at the Point Village in Dublin. The mural completes his period as artist-in-residence at the Gibson, for which he occupied a suite for six weeks. Dac worked on his own projects as well as an elaborate mural in a site adjacent to the hotel.

Street artist Fin Dac wows Cork with stunning murals

Dac’s mural is a series of images of a young woman, whose eyes are masked by a band of bright colour. The mural, visible from the windows of the Gibson, has transformed a local eyesore in an area whose development had slowed to a standstill over the past five years.

Self-taught, Dac has quietly built a reputation, here and abroad, working and exhibiting alongside artists as diverse as Goldie, Nick Walker and Jef Aerosol, and completing commissions for the such people as Armani, Red Bull and the London 2012 Olympics.

Last week, is in his native Cork, Dac completed a mural of a young woman wearing a T-shirt of local band Frank and Walters. It has transformed the former Kino cinema on Washington St, which is now being run as a youth venue.

Dac’s mural at the Gibson has been a hit with guests, says the hotel’s general manager, Nicky Logue, as well as with workers in the area. “We have people who come in for lunch every day and they think it’s fantastic, that it’s given a real lift to the area,” he says. “Up to a couple of weeks ago, the site next to the hotel was very run-down, but we cleaned out all the rubbish, so Fin could get started on his mural.

“Fin was a pleasure to work with. He came in, initially, for a six-week period. We gave him a suite to stay in, and he used its living-room as a studio. It gave him the opportunity to do his own work and also to do some work for us. We had a webcam set up in the room, so people could watch him painting. He also did some work with Ringsend school, and the students came to the launch of his mural by Arts Minister Jimmy Deenihan.”

Dac is the second artist-in-residence at the Gibson. John Morris, a painter of seascapes, moved into the hotel for two months last year, and at Christmas exhibited paintings at the hotel. He also tutored students from Larkin Community College, in Dublin’s north inner city, while he was in residence at the hotel.

The Gibson is well-known for its art collection. Throughout the hotel, there hang works by notable Irish artists. Among them is a limited-edition print of Louis le Brocquy’s portrait of Bono, as well as pieces by Anne Madden, Patrick Scott and Richard Gorman.

Pattie Boyd, the photographer who famously left her husband George Harrison, for Eric Clapton, is also represented.

Street artist Fin Dac wows Cork with stunning murals

Street artist Fin Dac

Logue says the area around the Gibson, and the 02 next door, was hit hard by the recession, but is beginning to pick up again.

“We’re lucky here, in that the Luas runs right to our front door. The O2 is doing very well, and so is the convention centre down the road. Things are definitely starting to move again.

“What was supposed to be the Anglo building is now being developed by the Central Bank, and when it opens in 2016, it should have about 2,500 employees. Next door, in the building to our left, Yahoo is moving in their UK and Ireland operation in September, and that will bring in another 350 employees.”

Logue hopes that the Gibson will host another artist-in-residence in 2015. “A number of artists have been in touch in the last few weeks, to offer their services, so we may even get someone in later in the year.

“Hopefully, depending on space and availability, we can have another artist in then — maybe an Irish artist, or an artist living abroad, who’d like to come over for a few weeks. There are still a lot of internal walls that can be worked on, when Fin is done with his mural of the Edge.”


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