Our Emerging Visual Artist in Residence Riley Waite has written a blog about the launch of his residency showcase exhibition at An Táin Arts Centre, read all about it below.

Month 3: Exploring, Connecting, and Creating Memories

September 30th, 2023

As my artist residency at An Táin Art Centre in Dundalk reached its third month, the rhythm of life took an exhilarating turn. With my exhibition behind me, my brushes saw slightly less action on the canvas, but my days were filled with newfound friendships, adventures across Europe and Ireland, and a host of exciting creative endeavors. This month, my focus shifted from the solitude of the studio to the vibrant tapestry of human connections. I found myself in the company of remarkable individuals, both local and international, all sharing a common love for art. I attended a couple of “Drink & Draw” sessions in the local pub, Mo Chara, which provided a refreshing change of pace. These gatherings were not only an opportunity to sketch and sip but also to exchange
stories and experiences with fellow artists, some of which I’ve grown especially fond of.

Speaking of stories, I embarked on a whirlwind solo journey across Europe, visiting Barcelona, Prague, and Berlin. Each city was a canvas of its own, with its unique colors, shapes, and energies. These trips were a wellspring of inspiration, fueling my creative spirit as I explored the art, culture, and architecture of these vibrant places. Barcelona’s Gaudi, Prague’s medieval charm, and Berlin’s avant-garde vibe left an indelible mark on my artistic palette. I was eager to get back in the studio to paint.

Back home in Ireland, I joined a newfound friend group for a weekend getaway to Donegal. This trip was a harmonious blend of nature and camaraderie, as we explored rugged coastlines, delicious food, and attended an art exhibition at the Regional cultural centre in Letterkenny. The landscapes of Donegal, with its wild beauty, found a special place in my heart and undoubtedly will make its way on my canvas in the future.

But it wasn’t all about leisure and exploration. I took the opportunity to give back to the community that had welcomed me with open arms. On Ireland’s Culture Night, I organized and hosted a still-life painting workshop for children and teens. I was admittedly very nervous about the event as I don’t have much experience teaching, but it was a joy to see young minds ignite with creativity and passion as they dipped their brushes into paint and brought their imaginations to life on canvas.

I was also able to give a portfolio review for students looking to go into college for art. The enthusiasm of these budding artists was infectious and served as a reminder of the profound impact art can have on individuals of all ages. Throughout this journey, I must mention the incredible team at An Táin Art Centre. Their support and encouragement have been instrumental in making this residency an enriching experience. Their dedication to fostering creativity and nurturing artists is truly commendable. The warmth and professionalism they’ve exhibited are qualities that I will
never forget.

Such has been the impact of this residency and the wonderful people I’ve met that I’ve decided to extend my stay by another month. Ireland and An Táin Art Centre have become a second home, a place where creativity and the artistic spirit thrives. To the team at An Táin Art Centre and the people of Dundalk, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for making this journey so extraordinary. Your support, hospitality, and unwavering belief in the power of art have made my time here unforgettable. I look forward to the days ahead, both in the studio and beyond, as we continue to create, explore, and connect.

With immense gratitude and a heart full of inspiration,
Riley Waite

Follow his progress at #antainartists and @rileywaiteart on Instagram.