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Atelier OPEN: Meet the Artist Ian O'Halloran



Firle Tower
by Ian O'Halloran
Linocut print
Dimensions: 44 x 37 cm
Limited edition of 15

Our Atelier OPEN exhibition continues at our contemporary art gallery on Brighton Beach, and we've invited some our exhibiting artists to tell us a bit more about themselves and their work. With 150 exhibitors, we might not get to hear from them all, but we'll do our best!

Today we hear from a printmaker steeped in the Sussex countryside, Ian O'Halloran.

I am an artist – a painter and printmaker – living and working near Herstmonceux. In another life I had a career as a Civil Engineer but eventually decided that there were enough roads and bridges in the world and left to study art in 1989. I have not had a ‘real’ job since! 

The artwork on show in the Atelier OPEN is a new multi-block linocut entitled Firle Tower. The image was made by carving 4 blocks of lino in such a way as to leave behind different parts of the design, that when separately inked and printed, formed the finished print. 

The print is inspired by the tower on Firle estate (built in 1819 as a watch tower) as seen from the old coach road from Alfriston to Lewes. 

Nowadays, my practice revolves around printmaking, chiefly multi-block linocut and drypoint engraving. I am drawn to the shapes, rhythms and patterns of the landscape and the stories that they tell and printmaking gives me the freedom to express my emotional connection with the places that inspire me. I’m also inspired by many artists but particularly the work of Paul Nash and Eric Ravilious. 

I attended Eastbourne College of Arts and Technology in 1989/90 and studied painting and had several successful one man shows in the late 90’s and early 00’s but, when children arrived on the scene, I needed to find a more flexible way of working and sort of drifted into printmaking. I call myself ‘The Accidental Printmaker’! 

I would consider myself to be a Professional Artist, but I do have to fit it around working on our Garden Smallholding (which my wife and I have been creating over the last 30 years to provide food and a haven for wildlife). 

I’m lucky enough to have a good-sized studio at home, so I don’t have far to commute! 

I’ve taken part in more exhibitions, shows and art festivals than I can remember, but I have to say getting work selected for this show has given me a real boost as was getting a commission to create a linocut for the book Hidden Histories by Mary-Ann Ochota. Nothing like seeing your work in Stonehenge Bookshop to give you a lift! 

Asking me for my Desert Island Artwork is probably one of the most unfair questions – a bit like ‘what’s your favourite piece of music’? or ‘what’s your favourite cheese’? But if I was forced to only choose one, then I guess I’d plump for ‘Winter on the Downs’ by Eric Ravilious because I think no one captured the essence of the Sussex Downs quite like Ravilious. 

If you'd like to see more of my work, I am part of the Sussex Arts Collective and show regularly with them at Gallery UNO in Seaford. I also have work in the Avocet Gallery at Rye Harbour. I’m also opening my studio as part of this years Lewes Artwave Festival and you can see lots of my work on my website.


Come and visit the Atelier OPEN for yourself. We've extended the closing date, so you can vote for favourite piece in our People's Choice Prize until 17th September. 

Atelier Beside the Sea is on Brighton Beach, 165 Kings Road Arches BN1 1NB, and open every day from 11am - 5pm. If you can't make it to the gallery yourself, you can view the whole exhibition online