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My cultural life: John Short, artist

 

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John Short

John Short

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

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John Short

Before the lockdown, John Short travelled extensively around the word: he records people in everyday settings in watercolour and ink drawings. He is known for his watercolours and 3D sculptures of bathers, particularly at the Forty Foot. John is a represented by Solomon Fine Art Gallery in Dublin. When the 2km limit was introduced, he began a project of daily watercolour paintings, recording views of aspects of his native village of Dalkey. They can all be viewed on: www.solomonfineart.ie/viewing-room/5-john-short-dalkey-visual-record/

Film: Barry Lyndon

 

While I was a student at The Royal College of Art in London, I saw the Stanley Kubrick movie Barry Lyndon - a glorious adaptation of an 18th-century novel by Thackeray which begins in Ireland. I was to move to Dublin a year or two after that, so it must have had a big effect on me.

Design: Everyday fashion

With my preoccupation with observing and drawing people I am very interested - though you would be hard-pressed to think it - in fashion, everyday fashion, street fashion and how that constantly changes. Everyday fashion in other countries is different. It's so revealing and endlessly fascinating. I often set myself the task of looking through my drawings in sketchbooks at how and what people wear.

Book: Me Talk Pretty One Day

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Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

 

For a wickedly funny read, try American humourist David Sedaris, whom I often re-read. His observations are like little sketchbook drawings of people, often his family members, and his imaginary fantasies are unpredictable and incredibly funny. I'm re-reading his Me Talk Pretty One Day. Alternatively, Mary Beard's splendid book SPQR is a history of Ancient Rome. She sheds light on real people and their lives then. Touching glimpses from 2,000 years ago, she brings the Roman empire back to life.

Music: Women of Ireland

On the Barry Lyndon soundtrack there is a piece by the Chieftains, composed by Sean O Riada - Women of Ireland. Spike Milligan once said it was the most beautiful piece of music ever written and I'd have to agree. For a lighter touch in my studio playlists Chakka Khan and Robert Palmer are regulars. I just discovered a brilliant piece of music recently for two pianists - Libertango by Khatia + Gvantsa Buniatishvili.

Artist: John Singer Sargent

Watercolours and drawings don't come much better than my current favourite, whose vivid paintings made in Venice and of ships at anchor in Palma, Majorca are sublime. What I am seeing are things which took very little time, with this notoriously difficult medium, but represent years of practice and looking.

Sunday Independent