A California based artist who spent much of his youth in Ireland has taken up residency in Creative Spark,
Riley Waite, was born in California and moved to Dundalk with his Irish mother at the age of seven, before going back to California to pursue his passion for art when he was 18.
'I went to Dundalk Grammar School for several years and then to the De La Salle College,' he says. 'I didn't finish secondary school because it wasn't really for me.' I just wanted to study art, so I went to college in California for fine art and got a degree in drawing and painting.
Riley graduated with a BFA for drawing and painting from California State University, Long Beach, and holds a studio arts degree and narrative illustration certificate from Orange Coast College
'I've been travelling back and forth continuously ever since I was eight,' he explains, 'So I'm currently exploring that aspect of my life in my paintings, using both cultures as source of inspiration.'
'I heard of the Creative Spark residency program and because of its location and its goal of promoting creative growth, I believed it would make an ideal environment to further my art practice. It would allow me to engage with the local artists as well as utilize the facilities of creative spark to create work specific to the area.'
Back in California Riley attends art workshops, owns his own portrait painting business and is currently taking portrait commissions.
He has been exhibited in numerous fine art galleries and museums in California such as the University Art Museum (UAM) in Long Beach, Frank M. Doyle Arts Pavilion, The Orange County Center for Contemporary Art (OCCCA) and the Irvine Fine Arts Center.
He is hoping that his residency in Creative Spark will give him the opportunity to create more work that is personal to me. Since graduating I feel like I haven't had an extended period dedicated to producing my own work. If time permits, I would want to create a whole new series of paintings, enough to exhibit a solo show here in Ireland.'
'Right now, I'm inspired by the physicality and process of painting itself, as well as visual storytelling through paint,' he says. 'When I see a painting by a contemporary and study the way it's painted; the way a brush stroke is placed, or the subtle temperature shift in colour, it motivates me to get in the studio and explore paint more.'