Cork Artists


As part of our ongoing, collaborative project #DRIFT, we are excited to launch our series of Artist Interviews with the creatives involved. We discuss practise, process and career advice.

We continue with John Flynn, a Cork based artist and designer. John is a Graduate of Crawford College of Art and Design, working on a variety of mediums such as hurleys, prints, paintings and stone. John discusses with us his methods and inspirations as well as the unique work he’s producing for DRIFT. 


Could you tell us about your background in the visual arts industry and how you developed your career?

I have a degree in Fine Arts from the Crawford College of Art and Design. I graduated in 2012 and from there on I based myself and my work in Cork City, with various solo/group exhibitions throughout the years.  

The networking, commissions and friendships while practicing my craft helped solidify Cork City as a base  for myself and a creative hub to allow my artistic career to develop.

Artist John Flynn in studio

How would you describe your artistic practice and process?

With my work I am always trying to tell a story to the viewer in some shape or form. A story through the visual, through colour and composition. I like to explore my own imagination and try not to limit myself in what I can do. I always want my work process to keep evolving in every aspect, from skills to styles, to look at every new avenue, to work with new artists and to broaden my range as far as possible so that I can understand what I really enjoy in my own artwork


Ink drawing Skellig Beag, 2019 © John Flynn


Could you tell us more about the artwork you are planning to exhibit as part of DRIFT?

The series I’m currently working on at the moment for DRIFT is titled ‘DRIFT’. Working with the title of the group exhibition itself ‘DRIFT’ suited perfectly what I wanted to illustrate. My own series, ‘DRIFT’, is features a series of digital drawings and paintings on slate of Irish marine wildlife, which we are at most risk of losing through extinction by our hands or as the title explains ‘they will drift away from us’. 

The digital drawings will feature a wide range of wildlife to show that all of theses animals common to us or not are all under shadow of humans when it comes to extinction. My chalk paintings on stone slate will be a performance piece depending on the public. 

The 5 paintings will be in the same style as the drawings but from the start of each hour they will be destroyed unless a member of the public would like to save them and if not the stone slate will be returned to the sea. Just a small way of showing how easily we are at risk of losing something. 


Chalk painting on Slate © John Flynn, DRIFT


What aspect of your career to date are you most proud of?

I consider the artwork that I do on hurley’s to be a significant achievement in my career. What started off a small idea has allowed me to work with hundreds of different people from all aspects of life. Sports clubs, come from these which makes it so special. Every hurley is unique, every hurley has a story, a meaning canvas is now one to them and the fact that people have my artwork in their homes in pride of place is quite a nice feeling.

Ancient Ireland Hurley series © John Flynn

Could you share with us the best career advice you received?

I haven’t been given much career advice really, it has always been learning from my own mistakes in the art world. 

One of the best things that keeps me going is thinking about how my mum always had belief in my artwork from when I was small and if you can have the belief around you either from a family member, friend, partner or even just yourself its amazing how far you can go with it!

Chalk painting on Slate © John Flynn, DRIFT

You can see more of John’s work on his website and Instagram feed, and once we’re back-up and running you’ll see his beautiful images as part of our DRIFT exhibition on show at Sea Fest 2021. Stay tuned to our news feed for more interviews with our artists and industry friends.

Posted by Kate in Artist Interviews, Journal