Friday 30 September 2016

Dublin artist Maser brings his US house party to Electric Picnic

Published 04/09/2015 | 14:23

The 3Penthouse under construction at Electric Picnic on the eve of the festival
The 3Penthouse under construction at Electric Picnic on the eve of the festival
Guerilla Aerial performing at the 3Penthouse Garden at the Electric Picnic Pres Day, 01_09_2015. Picture: Alf Harvey/HRPhoto.ie NO REPRODUCTION FEE
The main stage at Electric Picnic in Stradbally this weekend

Dublin artist Maser is putting his stamp on Electric Picnic this weekend with an art installation which will house one hell of a house party.

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The 3Penthouse is a three dimensional art installation featuring his signature yellow, blue, pink and orange chevrons, across five separate areas. 

"I was living in the States at the time [it was commissioned] and I thought of a house party, and bringing my house from America to Electric Picnic," he says on the eve of the festival.

"People walk through and experience it, take ownership of it, enjoy the space, take what they want from it," he adds.

Most of Maser's work, which has decorated cities across Ireland, Europe, the US and beyond, consists of painting outdoor spaces and the 3Penthouse is effectively a three dimensional painting.

Among its delights are a living room DJ, chill out garden, screen painting for budding artists in the kitchen, selfies in the bedroom (from a camera in the ceiling, no less), and a balcony with a viewing platform of the main stage.

Guerilla Aerial performing at the 3Penthouse Garden at the Electric Picnic Pres Day, 01_09_2015.
Picture: Alf Harvey/HRPhoto.ie NO REPRODUCTION FEE
Guerilla Aerial performing at the 3Penthouse Garden at the Electric Picnic Pres Day, 01_09_2015. Picture: Alf Harvey/HRPhoto.ie NO REPRODUCTION FEE

For Maser, recently returned from a series of projects across Europe, the opportunity to work on an Irish project was a no-brainer.

"I like to do anything  Ireland related because I’m abroad a good lot and I enjoy the opportunity to take on a good concept with the facilities there to do it," he says.  "And also because it's EP and I've been going there for years!"

Maser's career has exploded since he started out as a Dublin street artist 20 years ago. 

He has painted walls across the world and his mural work and collaborations with artists including Damien Dempsey, U2, TED prize winner JR, Conor Harrington and Fintan McGee have helped to establish him in the contemporary art world.

Right now he's flitting back and forth between Ireland and the US with pit stops across Europe.  He's planning to spend all of next year in New York.  However, despite the seemingly-relentless travel, he has learned how to avoid burning himself out.

"You get those days where you’re just like, ‘What are you doing?’  If I didn’t have the real love for what I do and passion for it you would burn out," he says.

"If you’re just doing it for money, chasing money, you’ll be destroyed.  You're emotionally attached to everything you do, you invest a llot of time and effort, but I manage things well and I don’t take on too much."

He adds, " I work to have free time.  I work really hard with a goal in mind and then it’s like, brilliant, November 1st I’m finished and in Milan for six weeks to paint in a studio - I’m like anyone working hard to have a holiday."

Before his artistic career went stellar, Maser spent several happy years working as a commis chef and "washing dishes", and he says it "really taught me discipline".

Despite the countless international projects that occupy his time these days, Maser is still very much connected to Dublin and Ireland.

He regularly explores Irish culture and history through his work.  A mural based on Dublin's Lockout and a cover design for a book about James Joyce are just two examples.  He plans to expand on this particular strand in his future artistic endeavours.

"This year I definitely want to address more of that in a contemporary fashion," he says.

"I want to draw in that young audience.  For me history at school was a f***ing pain in the ass.  I had no interest.  I found it boring.  But art brought me to history and gave me a love for that so I want to use that tool then to try to do that again for that younger audience."

Regarding that younger audience, Maser certainly has his fans, and his advice to anyone who would like to pursue a career trajectory like his is to "have a good work ethic".

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He adds, "Definitely society will try to pull you down.  People will try and tell you, 'Don't be wasting time at that.'  I thought for years I had to get a job but young artists are young entrepreneurs, they’re multidisciplinary, creative beings, not just painters or videographers, editors, poster designers.

"That idea of a full time carer is changing a lot now.  My mum always encouraged me to just do what you need to do to be happy at the end of the day.  And I’ve said it before, don’t be chasing money.  Follow your passion and the money will follow.  Otherwise you burn out."

No fear of burnout just yet for Maser.  He'll be floating about Electric Picnic this weekend catching up with good friends Jerry Fish, Ryan Skelton and Johnny Moy as festivalgoers enjoy the fruits of his labour at the 3Penthouse.

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