independent

Wednesday 24 September 2014

Barry puts blood, sweat and tears into his artwork

Margaret Roddy

Published 22/01/2014 | 05:20

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Barry Jazz Finnegan meets Conor McGregor after completing a portrait of the wrestler.

Suffering for his art is not just a figure of speech for Barry Jazz Finnegan.

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The Dublin-based artist, who grew up in Dundalk, literally bleeds when he is creating his larger than life charcoal drawings.

During his tour to New York last autumn, when his 'Raging Bull' piece was bought by Robert De Niro's son, he bled so much that he had to apply superglue to the tips of his fingers.

'I had no fingertips on some of my fingers after a few days from all the drawing', he recalled.

'The skin, wears down, fingerprints disappear, then they crack and then bleed which isn't something you want to see on paper, although some other forms of fine art would find that acceptable. I had to layer superglue to be able to keep drawing, but it was totally worth it. I was there to make a name and make the most of every day.'

Since returning home, Barry has quit his job as a bartender and is now working full time as an artist. 'It's a big leap but if I don't do it now, I will regret it and not forgive myself,' he said.

Unlike many artists who work in the seclusion of a studio, Barry creates many of his large scale charcoal portraits before a live audience.

His drawing of Robert De Niro was done before a live audience at Madison Square Garden during a charity boxing contest between the NYPD and the FDNY.

He recently completed a portrait of Irish UFC superstar, Conor McGregor at the launch of the new SBG mixed martial arts gym in Dublin. It is one of the biggest MMA gyms in Europe.

'I started drawing about 10 a.m. or so and finished around 5 p.m. just in time for a chat and photo opportunity with McGregor, who is an absolute gent!, said Barry.

He has a number of projects coming up, many private but the next public one is at F.L.A.M.E. festival in the Grand Social, Dublin on Friday, January 24.

'It's an evening of food, fashion, art and music! Can't wait for this one,' said Barry, adding 'as for down the road plans, I'm working on more live performances inside and out of Ireland and approaching larger companies with bigger ideas to see where it can take me.'

The Argus

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