My Weekend: Painting murals... I can't think of anything more enjoyable

Artist and art teacher, Peter Martin, is among seven of Ireland’s most respected and renowned street artists taking part in a new mural initiative called Ardú
My Weekend: Painting murals... I can't think of anything more enjoyable

Artist Peter Martin who is involved in the Ardú Street Art Initiative. Credit: Clare Keogh

Artist and art teacher, Peter Martin is among seven of Ireland’s most respected and renowned street artists, taking part in a new mural initiative, called Ardú


Tell us a little bit about yourself 

I have lived in Cork all my life and went to school in the city centre. I loved school, loved Art and Maths and just generally loved being surrounded by my friends in the middle of the city.

When I graduated from secondary school, I went straight to UCC but after a few months of studying for an Arts degree, I quickly realised that I wanted to follow my passion in art. So I finished up after one term to focus on getting into art college. I got accepted into the Crawford College of Art and Design the next year (by the skin of my teeth!) and spent the next 4 years there, completing a degree in Contemporary Applied Art.

While I was at CCAD I studied glass art with Debbie Dawson and I got hooked on stained glass and specialised in the medium for my final year. I spent a term in Shanghai and also travelled to Germany the year after I graduated to do a traineeship in Derix Glass studios.

Since graduating, I have run a full time studio in the city centre and now teach art back in my old school, CBC.

What is your ideal way to spend a Friday night? 

In the current climate, my Friday nights are fairly chilled - I enjoy unwinding after a busy week. But I am looking forward to a return to normality, whenever that happens, and heading for a few drinks with friends.

Lie ins or up with the lark.. which is it for you?

Up like a lark at 7am regardless what day of the week it is.

Does work creep into your weekend at all?

Work has always really crept into my weekend. Since I finished college, jobs always seemed to land on weekends and deadlines often lead to working through full weekends but I really don’t mind it. Because I’m teaching Monday to Friday over the last few years, weekends have become the only real opportunity to get murals in particular painted. I literally couldn’t think of anything more enjoyable than painting for a weekend so I suppose in ways I can’t really call it work.

Artists Peter Martin, Shane O’Driscoll, Paul Gleeson and Deirdre Breen launching Ardú Street Art Initiative.
Artists Peter Martin, Shane O’Driscoll, Paul Gleeson and Deirdre Breen launching Ardú Street Art Initiative.

If money was no object where would you head to on a weekend city break? And who would you bring with you?

London with my girlfriend - to go to some exhibitions, eat in one of my favourite Vietnamese restaurants in Shoreditch and go to a gig in Camden Roundhouse.

Closer to home, is there some place you like to head to recharge the batteries?

Ardmore is definitely a place I find myself going to when I need to recharge the batteries. A walk on the Curragh Beach or along the Cliff Walk usually does the job.

Do you like to catch up with family/friends at the weekend?

I’m currently living with my entire family and girlfriend (including my new baby goddaughter!) since the start of Lockdown in March so catching up with family is never an issue. I definitely try to meet up with my friends as much as I can. That usually involves a few pints in the Oval, Coughlans or the Abbey, going to a gig or the occasional music festival during the summer.

Do you get to indulge any hobbies? Even as a spectator?

I love watching sport - rugby, soccer, horse racing. I also enjoy going to Point to Points in Cork and Waterford.

Live gigs would be my biggest passion, I think. They are definitely one of the things I’m missing the most with current restrictions. Although I have managed to see Anna Mieke in Connolly’s of Leap and Gemma Dunleavy in the Kino over the last few months so I got my fix!

If going to art galleries and museums is considered a hobby then that is definitely high on the list too.

Entertain or be entertained? If it's the latter do you have a signature dish?

I prefer to do the cooking and Chinese food is my speciality.

We have so many places to eat out in Cork - where are your go to spots for coffee/ lunch/ special meal?

Cork City is bursting with food and drink options but if I had to pick my absolute go-to, it’s Miyazaki’s takeaway at the end of Barracks Street. I love nothing more than sitting in the window seat with their signature Katsu Don, watching the city go by.

Sunday night comes around too fast.. how do you normally spend it?

I’m not a great man for routine when it comes to a Sunday. On a good Sunday I might find myself strolling the cliff walk in Ardmore or at a Point to Point in County Cork, followed by cooking a nice dinner.

On a less energetic Sunday you would probably find me on the couch watching the a match, contemplating what the queue in Lennox’s is like.

Regardless, I love getting into the studio on a Sunday evening and getting a few hours done, with John Creedon playing in the background, it gets me into the zone for the week ahead.

What time does your alarm clock go off on Monday morning?

06.45….with a 15 minute snooze button.

About the mural project

Cork City Council Arts Office and Creative Ireland are delighted to support a new art initiative, Ardú, which takes to the streets and alleyways of Cork city. 

The programme welcomes seven of Ireland’s most respected and renowned street artists: MASER, Shane O’Driscoll, Deirdre Breen, Peter Martin, James Earley, ACHES, and Garreth Joyce, to create works at key city-centre locations, in response to a theme inspired by the 1920 Burning of Cork.

Ardú - the Irish for ‘Rise’ - bases itself on a theme of nostalgia and celebration. Cork City rose from the ashes 100 years ago, and now faces the challenge to rise again, and this theme of rising will be reflected through some of these artworks.

This is a celebration of Cork city’s traditions, history, and resolution.

See www.corkcity.ie/ardu

Twitter: @ArduStreetArt / https://twitter.com/ArduStreetArt

Instagram: @ArduStreetArt

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