10 May 2017

Interview: Steve Wickham

(Photography by Paul Mc Manus)

Steve Wickham is a true Sligo treasure. As a long-serving member of The Waterboys, the Dublin born violinist has travelled the globe collaborating and performing live with the likes of Bob Dylan, U2, REM, Elvis Costello, The Hothouse Flowers and Sinead O’ Conner. Wickham is a resident studio artist at The Model. It isn’t an all too uncommon occurrence to hear the sound Wickham’s soaring violin spilling from the window of his studio whilst passing below. It’s a bit like having Madonna in the attic, really.

Safe to say, we consider ourselves very lucky to have him. Having had such a prolific career, it is no surprise that Wickham is gearing up to release his second solo album, Beekeeper. In preparations for the launch of the album (taking place at 8pm, Fri. 12 May in The Model) Steve Wickham sat down with our marketing assistant, Rebecca Kennedy to discuss Beekeeper, inspiration, and Sligo.

Can you tell a bit about how Beekeeper came about?

I was sitting for a painting for Nick Miller in his studio up in Rathcormac for about a week. I asked Nick was it okay for me to bring my violin because it’s kind of boring to just sit there. He was into it. I brought the fiddle and improvised while he painted me. I brought a recorder to tape all the tunes and in the end I had hours and hours of improvised music. As I was collating the music, I realized I wasn’t ready just yet to make that album yet but it sparked the creative juices to put out a solo album so I did. I recorded some of it in my studio. The creative process was spurred on by being in The Model. I wrote ‘Song of Lost Things’ in The Model and ‘The Hare.’

Your music is such an eclectic mixture of sound. What goes through your head while your writing?

It’s one song at a time. I never think, ‘Oh, I have an album here.’ I had a lot of pieces that were saying to me ‘what are you going to do with me?’ I kind of answer them by saying; ‘I’m going to put you all in an album.’ I had a great producer working with me, a guy called, Joe Chester. He’s actually an old friend of mine. He was in The Waterboys. He’s an Irish producer who worked with Hozier. He has a great aesthetic. When you’re working on things yourself, you’re too close to them. Like a curator in an art gallery, a producer can step back from an artists’ work to actually look at it. So, I’d a lot of help from Joe and some of the guys in The Waterboys. I also had help from Brian Mc Donagh with whom I began the recording process.

How does your experience as a solo artist compare to your experience of being in a band?

When you find yourself in any sort of group, there’s a group dynamic to be aware of. When you are part of a band of musicians, you must find the dynamic. Find your own place within it. That place, where you can give most of your musical self. The lead singer or songwriter is generally the leader of the band. I am primarily a violinist and most of my career has been spent supporting the song and the singer and for the most part this has been completely fulfilling for me. With this record I’ve had to stand up more to the fore which is a bit more daunting but fun too, especially with a great band behind me.

If you could describe Beekeeper in three words, what would they be?

A hive of songs…or a deadly buzz!

Posted By

Rebecca Kennedy

3 May 2017

Interview: New Irish Directors

New Irish Directors is a short series of film at the Model curated by Edel Doherty. To get under the skin of New Irish Directors, Rebecca Kennedy sat down with Edel to discuss the series and what it has to offer Sligo audiences.

Why the focus on Irish director’s?

It’s an exciting juncture. A new wave directors have been are being recognised in at Toronto, Cannes & the Berlinale. The directors in the series are quite contemporary. Some of the classic themes of Irish cinema are still there but they are being teased out in a more nuanced way. The way the film industry has moved in the past in that Irish film relied on outsider funding from Britain in the form of co-productions. Now, more and more co-production with Irish cinema is happening with other European countries. This is having an impact on how Irish directors are telling their stories; they becoming far more international and far less parochial. It’s an exciting time in the history of Irish cinema.

Is there anything regarding visuals or storytelling that separates Irish directors from their international counterparts?

Lenny Abrahamson for example is on his way to having a very distinct body of work. We don’t have a distinct visual director. We haven’t got a David Lynch or a Jean-Luc Godard in amongst our directors but we are terrific storytellers. Irish directors are catching up with their international counterparts in that sense. You know, a lot of stories have come out recently about our collective past. Stories of the Catholic Church and government corruption that we see continue even past reports and tribunals. Our filmmakers are not afraid to touch on that, even directly at times. It’s something you can really say about Irish film. We are fearless storytellers.

What film from the series would you most recommend and why?

Our last film Mammal is a complicated film on grief and loss. The Young Offenders is a sophisticated, pure comedy with some really beautiful, natural scenes. Each one shows something different. When it came to curating the series, we wanted the films to compliment each other and we wanted a balance overall.

If I had to choose one I would pick Further Beyond. There are a few reasons I would choose that. It’s our only documentary in the series. Dramas and fictions tend to get a bigger audience but so much creativity is happening with documentaries at the moment. The word “hybrid” is thrown around a lot with films like this. I think that Further Beyond is more of a film essay. And it has a Sligo connection.

It charts the journey of Ambrosio O’ Higgins who’s family were forced to leave their lands in Sligo and eventually travelled to what is now modern Chile. His son, Bernardo O’ Higgins was one of the first leaders of Chile after they gained independence from Spain. The film charts his journey by taking you to key locations that let you grasp some clues as to who this individual was. Further Beyond explores immigration and identity; themes that are at the core of any Irish film. We are looking at our past, our politics and our identity, at times very humorously.

Posted By

Rebecca Kennedy

2 May 2017

Guest Blog - Nicola Evans on ‘The Art of Drawing with Michael Wann'

Nicola Evans has been volunteering at The Model for over a year. As a marketing professional, Nicola lends her expertise one morning a week to The Model. As well as a passion of PR & marketing, Nicola harbors a fine talent for drawing. To improve upon her skills and make the most of The Model’s phenomenal education programme, Nicola recently took part in Michael Wann’s class ‘The Art of Drawing’. Michael Wann is a celebrated artist famous for his wonderful charcoal work that artfully weave technical skill with nuanced emotion. He has been the recipient of countless prizes and awards such as the AXA Insurance Drawing Prize & the Tom Caldwell Drawing Prize. In this short guest blog, Nicola tells us about her experience in The Art of Drawing and why you should consider taking the class.

“I always dreamed of the day when I could take an afternoon off from work weekly to pursue a hobby and so it was with great anticipation that I signed up for Michael Wann’s drawing class.

I had not drawn for a while – so it was quite nerve wracking walking in – especially knowing what Michael could achieve with charcoal. However, the class couldn’t have been more relaxed. All the artists in attendance varied in levels of experience. Michael is a patient, encouraging instructor that gave us direction when we needed it.

Us newcomers started off by learning the fundamentals of art like perspective and how to create dimension & tone. Michael really encouraged us to experiment and take drawing at our ease. ‘Loosen up’ and ‘make a mess’, he would often say, ‘accidental marks are often the ones that make a drawing come alive’.
After our crash course on the essentials, we moved onto landscapes. It’s so easy to lose yourself when drawing big open skies; time just seems to disappear.

By the time the final class rolled around, my technical drawing skills had definitely improved. I was becoming braver using charcoal, less precious about creating a masterpiece and just having fun experimenting and exploring the millions of different effects you can get from a burnt piece of willow.

The class was a very relaxing experience. It felt like yoga for the mind & thanks to Michael, I am very inspired to continue drawing in the future.”

Posted By

Rebecca Kennedy

2 May 2017

Café Manager - Job Advertisment

The Model is looking for a dynamic manager to take over the day to day operation of our successful cafe at The Model.

This is a full-time position and our ideal candidate will have:

Previous experience in a similar venture at supervisor/management level

A can-do attitude with a strong ability to work under their own supervision to achieve the goals set out by the management at The Model

A good working knowledge of Food and Beverage service

An ability to work with and train other coffee shop staff and to work as part of the overall team at The Model

Please apply with CV, and a cover letter to frontofhouse@themodel.ie by Friday 12 May.

Job Duties include:

• Operating the till, and balancing it on a daily basis

• Keeping accurate time sheets daily

• Assisting with ordering supplies, locally where possible

• Checking that orders have been correctly delivered and charged for

• Serving customers in a pleasant and courteous manner

• Cleaning the kitchen, café area and café toilets in accordance with Health and Safety Regulations and Guidance

• Keeping cleaning and temperature records

• Undertaking the preparation of the food and beverages served in the café

• Clearing tables

• Washing up

• Reporting maintenance issues to the Specific Manager

• Ensuring that any risk assessments are complied with

• Working as part of the team at The Model to create an overall great experience

Posted By

The Model

2 May 2017

Café Assistant - Job Advertisment

We are looking for a Part-time Café Assistant to assist the Manager in the overall running of the Café at the Model.

The ideal candidate will be friendly, enthusiastic and enjoy working in a varied work environment.

Please apply with CV, and a cover letter to frontofhouse@themodel.ie by Thursday 4 May.

Duties Include

• Operating the till

• Keeping accurate time sheets daily

• Serving customers in a pleasant and courteous manner

• Cleaning the kitchen, café area and café toilets in accordance with Health and Safety Regulations and Guidance

• Keeping cleaning and temperature records

• Undertaking the preparation of the food and beverages served in the café
• Clearing tables

• Washing up

• Reporting maintenance issues to the specific Manager

• Working as part of the overall team at The Model to create an overall great experience

Posted By

The Model

16 Apr. 2017

Sean Larkin - New Studio Artist Profile

What is your practice?

Fine Art Painting.

How did you come to rent a studio at The Model?

The Model is recognized as one of Ireland’s leading contemporary arts centers, and as such presents itself as a stimulating cultural site which offers a range of supports and opportunities for collaboration with fellow artists as well as potential projects with high artistic and educational merit. The Artist Studios at the Model makes it a site of artistic production and an opportunity to present work to interested audiences, which I see as vitally important. Networking opportunities with other arts professionals is equally important to artists so when a Studio became available in early 2016, I couldn’t resist the opportunity.

How does it feel to have the space to work?

What excites me most about the space when I walk over the threshold into the studio is the feeling yes, this is where I want to be – this is the space I want to be in, which is very empowering. I can see my residency in the Model as a catalyst for continuing creative inquiry, creative practice and related research loosely based on cultural signposts.

What are you plans for the future?

What challenges me most about contemporary practice in painting is that it is about change itself, never still, and its capacity for reinventing itself as cultural sign posts is both exciting and surprising given to enormous impact of new media and technologies.

My immediate plan is to sift through the material I have been collecting over the past year and produce a body of work – which will result in an exhibition in the not too distant future while also looking at networking opportunities with other arts professionals.

Could you tell us a little of your background?

I live and work in Sligo. I was educated at the National College of Art and Design (NCAD) Dublin & graduated in 1973. I was the former Head of School of Creative Arts at the Institute of Art, Design and Technology (IADT) in Dun Laoghaire from 2005 to 2012. I worked at senior management level in the Institutes of Technology sector from 1978 until I retired in 2012. I represented the Institutes of Technology sector, Ireland (IOTI) as Chair of the Working Group on Practice – based Research in the Arts, an advisory group established by the Higher Education and Training Awards Council (HETAC) with support from the Irish Universities Quality Board (IUQB). I was HETAC external examiner /assessor in Fine Art on a variety of assessment and programme validation panels for the Sector.

I was Head of Department of Art and Design at IADT from 1998 to 2004 and previous to this post was Head of the Department of Humanities at IT Sligo. During this period I was the HETAC nominee on the Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) on the senior cycle Curriculum in Schools Committee. I maintained a link with professional art practice with work represented in public and private and public collections including the Arts Council Collection, Ireland. 

Posted By

Rebecca Kennedy

3 Apr. 2017

Arts and Health Check Up, Check In 2017

This day-long programme, featuring presentations by some of the leading figures working in arts and health in Ireland and the UK, is for healthcare professionals, arts practitioners and anyone interested in learning more about this exciting field. Check Up Check In 2017 is organised by www.artsandhealth.ie (Waterford Healing Arts Trust) and Create, the national development agency for collaborative arts, with local partner the Arts Initiative in Mental Health – a programme of the Mental Health Services Sligo Leitrim. The event is supported by the Arts Council, Sligo County Council Arts Service, HSE North West Health Promotion and The Model. Further details and booking information from www.artsandhealth.ie / 051 842664. The fee for the full day, including lunch, is €20.

Check Up Check In 2017 provides an opportunity for those working and interested in arts and health to share their experiences, exchange ideas and support and inspire each other in their practice. The exciting line-up of guest speakers from the arts sector and healthcare in Ireland and the UK includes Patrick Fox, director of the UK agency Heart of Glass, award-winning artist and theatre maker Mark Storor, Dr Regina McQuillan, palliative medicine consultant at St Francis Hospice in Dublin and artist and filmmaker Marie Brett. Arts and health projects to be showcased on the day will include a 12-year inter-generational project in the UK, a photographic project in a nursing home in County Galway, a community based arts and wellbeing programme and open studio in County Kildare and a theatre project in a palliative care setting in Dublin.

Arts and health programmes comprise a range of arts experiences, presented in healthcare settings, for the benefit of health service users, healthcare staff and artists. This expanding field of work fosters creativity, wellbeing and access to the arts and is based on partnership between the artists, arts organisations and those working in healthcare and/or the wider community. Further information about all aspects of arts and health work, including case studies, is available on www.artsandhealth.ie

Additional info:
Waterford Healing Arts Trust (WHAT) brings arts experiences to the bedsides of patients at University Hospital Waterford and other healthcare settings. WHAT supports the development of arts and health in Ireland and manages the national website www.artsandhealth.ie
Create is the national development agency for collaborative arts and provides advice and support services to artists and arts organisations working collaboratively with communities in social and community contexts. www.create-ireland.ie
The Arts Initiative in Mental Health (AIMH) is a programme of the Mental Health Services Sligo-Leitrim . AIMH aims to engage artists and service users in interesting and meaningful art-making, make visible arts and health work both within the mental health setting and publicly, where appropriate, and increase access to the arts by service users and healthcare professionals.

Posted By

Zoe Dunne

30 Mar. 2017

My Pick - Alexandra Hopf

This painting, ‘Singing the Minstrel Boy’ by Jack. B Yeats has triggered my ongoing fascination with the stage. I have been fascinated with it since I was a child. My mother was a trained circus performer and I can remember very vividly my first theatre performance. Ever since then, the stage has been is a magical place for me. Everything on stage is born out of the darkness; daytime, nighttime, sounds, changing settings, action, still stand, smoke in the backlight, smells from the dusty curtain, a bang from a revolver, false hair, forgotten texts and the ghosts of the past that become visible.

The stage is an interesting subject for a painting. A framed fiction itself, the stage is framed once again by the painting, therefore it is an image contained within an image. Yeats’ depiction in this painting of that moment within a staged performance is uncanny. The uncanniness of the moment is echoed in the actresses pale face. Maybe the light conditions were not perfect, maybe the make up was over dramatic, and so she comes across as a ghost… the ghost of an actress that has to perform over and over again, caught in the moment and doomed to perform forever. At the same time the audience were also doomed to watch that performance over again and again, pretending to see it anew.

For me, what Yeats has captured in ‘Singing the Minstrel Boy’ is the essence of both those who perform and those who consume. In the scenario of this painting, we as viewers are also integrated into the image, with those who watch us, watching others watch.

“The Night” – An exhibition by Alexandra Hopf is on display at the Model until the 16. Apr. 2017

“Singing the Minstrel Boy”(1923) by Jack B. Yeats is currently featured in “Lives” a Model exhibition in The Niland Gallery. “Lives” will be on display until 01. Oct. 2017.

Posted By

Rebecca Kennedy

15 Mar. 2017

Daniel Bannon talks volunteering with Rebecca Kennedy

To highlight volunteerism in Sligo during it’s year as The European Volunteer Capital for 2017, Rebecca Kennedy talks to Daniel Bannon, a volunteer at The Model.

“I choose to volunteer in The Model because I had finished a degree in Music technology in Tralee, Kerry and I was looking to help out in an arts center where I could make use of the theatre. What I enjoy about volunteering at The Model is that the team here is made up of really good people.“

Mr. Bannon tells us about the fast-paced work environment at The Model.

“You learn something new everyday so I get a lot out of it. I meet new people and it’s an opportunity to network.”

“My favorite memory of working in The Model was doing the sound engineering for ‘Beneath the Air’, last October. That was the first gig I worked on at The Model and after it finished I had a great buzz. It was really exciting. I knew a lot of theory about sound engineering from my degree but having the opportunity to practically apply that meant that I gained some really great experience.“

“I will continue to volunteer in The Model and I would recommend volunteering here to anyone remotely interested in the Arts. Spending your time at The Model presents the opportunity to learn new skills, get practical experience and meet like-minded people.“

If you are interested in joining the volunteer team at The Model please contact getininvolved@themodel.ie

Posted By

Rebecca Kennedy

8 Mar. 2017

Noel Corr talks volunteering with Rebecca Kennedy

Noel Corr is undeniably one of the longest serving and dedicated members of The Model’s Volunteer team. Every Wednesday Noel rises early to take the bus from his hometown in Bundoran, Co. Donegal to Sligo Town to donate his time as a Gallery invigilator.

Noel tells us why he volunteers and why he thinks others should too!

“I started volunteering at The Model about seven and a half years ago on the 25th of May, 2010. I’ve always been interested in art, now and again I would go to Dublin, to the National Gallery. I used to come here to The Model every Wednesday anyway. I came for the art and the café! For me, it’s a day out.”

“I volunteer from 10am – 2pm. There’s a nice atmosphere in the galleries. What I really like is that I meet a lot of different people. Later in the year, during the summer season, you meet Europeans, Americans & Australians… I’ve met so many over the years and I’ve made friends with a couple of them. I picked The Model because it is a peaceful place to come to, you know you can relax.”

“I will probably stay here. I come to Sligo every Wednesday anyway, 12 months of the year. So I’m going to keep volunteering as long as I’m still alive!”

“Volunteering would be good for anyone at college who may want to do something during the summer months. But anyone who’s interested in art could volunteer here. Coming to the Model, there’s a lot that you learn about the arts and the art world… and it’s a great place to be, I get on with everyone. They’re just a nice bunch of staff here and that’s important. You can come here and have a laugh and a joke & that’s just as important as anything else!”

If you are interested in joining the Volunteer team at The Model please contact getinvolved@themodel.ie

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Posted By

Rebecca Kennedy