Art Clash - ADW stencil art session - photo karl martini courtesy of Art Clash

Art Clash - ADW stencil art session - photo karl martini courtesy of Art Clash

Creativity and art have resurrected in Ireland, with increasing amounts of art-related entertainment and activities emerging from the gloom.

Art Clash is one of the latest creative initiatives on the Dublin art scene, offering a series of night classes, covering topics as varied as burlesque performance, stencil art, video performance art and clothes customisation.

Curator and watercolour artist Áine Macken is behind the concept: 10 events running from March to June, designed to make art accessible to everyone, to “shake up the concept of what an average art class should be and turn each attendee into an exhibited artist.” 

Having been an artist for seven years with a sideline of burlesque performance and DJing, Áine was used to friends being curious about creativity but being put off about formal settings and the prospect of endless hours of oil painting still lifes involving fruit in a bowl.

“People put themselves down, saying they can’t draw a straight line and all those things,” she explains. “I’d been thinking about it for six months before throwing myself into it, I had experience in event organising and a great network of artistic friends which I could combine to make this happen.”

She selected a varied mix of artists for the ten sessions, to replicate some of the experiences she had in college which opened up her imagination to the potential of different art media.

“I wanted to give people an introduction to the variety of contemporary art outside the traditional setting. The majority of evening classes have a traditional angle, we wanted to approach it differently.”

The aim is to give people a night to give something different a try. “The next session is our fifth, it’s a session on performance art by artist Ciara Scanlan. Lots of people have no idea about performance art, so it’s nice to discover it without feeling the pressure of a gallery opening.”

Áine explains that some of the bigger names such as Irish street artist ADW or French graphic designer Gaetan Billault got the most attendance but that overall she’s been overwhelmed with the response.

Doll-making with Gaetan Billault (photo courtesy of Art Clash)

Doll-making with Gaetan Billault (photo courtesy of Art Clash)

“The level of interest is amazing, usually we get about 20 people per session and to be honest over that it starts to get crowded.”

One of the sessions in early April saw a packed room get to grips with stencil art. This involved cutting, glueing and more cutting, islands and bridges, all mixed with a little imagination and a lot of chatter.

The final project was completed outside the Little Green Street Gallery (which at the time was hosting a wonderful Tintin-inspired exhibition) as every participant spraypainted their stencil onto a T-shirt for posterity.

“People aren’t willing to pay ten euro into a club just to hear a DJ anymore they expect more for their money now,” says Áine, who feels people are trying to be a bit more careful with their money nowadays and a bit more creative with their time.

Her intuition is that Art Clash happened to fall at the right time, a time where people are more interesting in participating in something more enriching than a simple night out, in doing something creative and being sociable at the same time.

“For me it’s about sociability of working with artists, people who are curious about being creative, relaxed social environment,” she concludes.

Find out more about Art Clash and join one of the next sessions (street art, film, vintage fashion, cabaret/burlesque performance).

A final exhibition will take place on June 8th at the Little Green Street Gallery in Dublin.

Art clash with ADW - holding up stencil decorated  t-shirts (photo Karl Martini courtesy of Art Clash)

Art clash with ADW - holding up stencil decorated t-shirts (photo Karl Martini courtesy of Art Clash)


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