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Thursday 21 August 2014

Kerry artist captures 'The Boss' on canvas

Marian O'Flaherty

Published 31/07/2013 | 10:11

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West Kerry artist Liam O’Neill’s portrait of Bruce Springsteen
West Kerry artist Liam O’Neill’s portrait of Bruce Springsteen

LEGENDARY rocker Bruce Springsteen is bringing a piece of West Kerry back to the States with him after his Irish tour in the form of a portrait painted by renowned Dingle based artist Liam O'Neill.

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Liam - whose instantly recognisable work has earned him a reputation as one of Ireland's most respected contemporary artists - was commissioned by the management of the Mount Juliet Hotel, where Springsteen was staying, to create the piece.

He gladly accepted the high profile commission and has spent the past three months working on the portrait of 'The Boss' in his studio in West Kerry.

A long time Springsteen fan, Liam said he didn't have to think twice when he was first asked to portray the New Jersey born singer-songwriter earlier this year.

"There is an earthy quality about Springsteen and his music that strongly appeals to me. I am a huge fan and have been to many of his concerts, so it wasn't hard to accept," he said.

Liam said he was inspired by Springsteen's classic album 'Born in the USA' and the primary colours of the American flag to depict his subject in red, white and blue.

He was also very much influenced by the lyrics of the classic Springsteen song 'Local Hero'.

"One of Bruce's qualities that has always appealed to me is the way he connects with the ordinary working man and I've tried to show that in the painting," said Liam. "I presented the portrait to the management of the Mount Juliet Hotel and they in turned presented it to Mr Springsteen last Sunday."

"I had been due to meet him and present it myself on Saturday but it didn't work out that way in the end."

Bruce Springsteen (63) and the E Street Band concluded their five date sold-out tour of Ireland last Sunday having played to 150,000 fans in 12 days at venues in Limerick, Cork, Belfast and Kilkenny.

Liam O'Neill is considered to be one of Ireland`s most talented contemporary artists and his work is collected nationally and internationally.

He is well-known for his paintings of seascapes, horse fairs, landscapes and fishermen and he also draws inspiration from local race meetings such as the Dingle Races and Ráiseanna Bheál Bán.

Liam has also been lauded for his portrait work and has created unique depictions of John Wayne, Richard Harris, Samuel Beckett... and the other 'Boss', former Taoiseach Charles J. Haughey.

Kerryman

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