A Cork artist who counts Hollywood actress Gal Gadot and singer Joe Jonas as fans and patrons, said that reaching out to your idols can help spark professional success.
Mr Everybody, aka Shane O’Donovan, 34, from Cork City, now exhibits at major shows in London, New York, Melbourne and Bordeaux, but just two years ago he was working full-time in a coffee shop in Cork, diligently practising his art on the side.
Nowstar Gal Gadot contacts him on Instagram requesting to attend his exhibition and pop star Joe Jonas bought one of his pictures in recent weeks.
Galleries which once ignored his emails are now contacting him asking to host his shows.
Shane said: “I never went to college to study art, but I was lucky, I was surrounded by people doing a lot of art, one of them was very successful.
Over the last five years things have started to snowball — in the last two years things have got really serious.
“My big advice is to reach out to people you admire, ask questions. You never know when you’ll get positive information. I still reach out to people I really admire — some respond and we end up building a friendship.
“People say you need a lucky break. But you don’t, you need plenty of them.
“The ladder is never ending.”
While climbing that ladder, his work has attracted a large global following and a celebrity clientele.
“Gal Gadot started following me which was cool. She said she’d like to come to my show in London and asked if someone could meet her. I called the gallery but they never answered the phone. It was one of the most surreal messages telling her that no one could meet her. But she said it wasn’t a problem. I’m hoping she might come to my next Melbourne show.
It’s a great thing when people of such high profile support your work, it helps you to grow faster.
Despite his celebrity clientele, Shane said that he treats famous fans like any other person.
“The disruptive comedian and actor Michael Rapaport followed my work. I chat with him every now and again.
“I treat celebrities as normal people. Supermodels in Brazil and random celebrities I don’t know have followed me.
“This stuff (celebrity followers) doesn’t faze me. The internet is just a big illusion until things start happening. Maybe I’d be star-struck if I met them in real life.”
Some of the artists Shane now exhibits with are people he has idolised professionally.
“Sometimes I ask myself, ‘do I deserve this?’ But it’s good. It makes you up your game.
And it makes you believe in your art and that things like this are possible.
Shane has a show in the Krause Gallery in Manhattan, New York, in July, followed by a solo show in Melbourne. He’s currently creating more than 20 pieces for those shows.
And when he’s not elbow-deep in paint at his home studio, Shane is pulling together an exchange project in collaboration with The Kabin, a creative workshop space for youth in Cork. The project aims to bring young artists in Cork and Sao Paolo, Brazil, together to express environmental concerns through art and music.
“There are really talented artists coming out of the favelas in Brazil but art is generally not seen there. Involving young artists in a programme like this might encourage them to pursue art.”
Shane paints under the name Mr Everybody. When asked if he would allow his real name to be published, he said: “Sure, I’m not Banksy. I’m not doing anything illegal and I’d like to help art in Cork.”