I couldn’t live

An exhibition by Sandra Hickey runs at the Triskel and includes some of her work on an Oscar-nominated movie. Here she talks about her work, family and what makes her happy
I couldn’t live
Artist Sandra Hickey at the opening of her exhibition 'Where Two Styles Meet- Loving Vincent Inspired' at Triskel, Cork until March 1.

Tell us about yourself:

My name is Sandra Hickey. I am an Irish artist. I have painted and drawn for as long as I can remember.

Painting has a hold on me like no other, it possesses the ability to both calm and torment a soul in equal measures and I wouldn’t want to be without it!

I perfected my practice at the Limerick School of Art and Design where I studied Fine Art-Painting and I obtained my Masters at the National College of Art and Design, also specialising in painting. I had the extreme fortune of joining the Loving Vincent painting animation team and working in beautiful Gdansk. To work alongside such talented and interesting artists from all around the world was a true honour.

My experience working on Loving Vincent was life-changing, I got to meet and work with so many exceptional people, learn from different cultures, and develop my skills while exploring Poland’s beautiful landscape.

The subject matter I’m drawn towards is figurative and portraits, some quite abstract, though since working on Loving Vincent and painting in the Van Gogh style my eye is developing a love for landscape too. I have always been a fan of Vincent Van Gogh so to get to be a part of this labour of love that is Loving Vincent is something incredible.

Where were you born?

I was born in Cork and grew up near the Cork and Kerry border in Knocknaloman.

Where do you live now?

I now live in Cork city.


I have three older brothers, Derek, Kevin and Brendan. My mother is Norah Hickey and my late father was Brendan Hickey.

What was your earliest childhood memory?

My earliest childhood memory is playing with my brothers outside my family home.

Person you most admire?

The people I admire the most would be Frida Kahlo and Vincent Van Gogh. Both showed such determination and focus through difficult times in their lives and rebuilt themselves when life dealt them a poor hand. I find that inspirational.

Person who most irritates you?

Donald Trump, for so many reasons.

Who would you like to see as Minister of Finance and why?

That wouldn’t be my field of expertise, if I’m honest, but it would be someone who can listen to the needs of the country and act accordingly.

Cork born artist Sandra Hickey working on Loving Vincent.
Cork born artist Sandra Hickey working on Loving Vincent.

Where was your most memorable holiday?

I was recently in Paris and I finally got to see Claude Monet’s Water Lilies in person and that was a memorable moment for me. Incredible.

Favourite TV Programme?

I would say I’m a fan of Game Of Thrones and I’m looking forward to the next series when it comes out.

Favourite Radio Show?

Red FM.

Your signature dish if cooking?

I can make a pretty decent Thai Red Curry but my culinary skills don’t match my painting ones, I have to say.

Favourite Restaurant?

Uncle Pete’s on Paul Street.

Last book you read?

Roderic O’Conor, 1860-1940 by Paula Murphy.

Best book you read?

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold.

Last album/cd/download you bought?

I’ve been listing to Michael Kiwanuka recently.

Favourite song?

I couldn’t choose just one, it all depends what mood I’m in.

One person you would like to see in concert?

It would have to be Radiohead or Massive Attack.

Do you have a pet?

I don’t, sadly, because I wouldn’t have the space for one, but I love animals.

Morning person or night owl?

I’m more of a night owl myself but I try to be a morning person when it’s needed.

Spendthrift or saver?

I’m a bit of a spendthrift on other people but on myself I’m a bit of a saver.

Your proudest moment?

It would have to be getting to work on a project as unique as Loving Vincent and getting to work alongside so many incredible artists from all over the world.

Name one thing you would improve in your area in which you live?

More galleries.

What makes you happy?

Painting, it’s the only thing I’ve been sure of. It has the power to calm my spirit and challenge me in the same moment and I couldn’t live without it in my life.

How would you like to be remembered?

I would like to be remembered for my paintings, I hope that people can take something from them, even when I’m long gone.

What else are you up to at the moment?

I am having a solo exhibition Where Two Styles Meet — Loving Vincent Inspired, which opened in the Triskel Arts Centre on January 3, followed by a screening of Loving Vincent. It will run until March 1. I will also have a solo show in December, 2019 in St Peter’s, Cork.



Sandra Hickey — Where Two Styles Meet — Loving Vincent Inspired, contains two bodies of work by Cork-based artist Sandra Hickey.

The first style of work is inspired by her time working on Oscar nominated Loving Vincent.

The second is figurative, abstract work showing the human body, distorted in ways that portray that the aesthetic isn’t always perfect but that the beauty is in the imperfections.

For more on the events and programme for Triskel for 2019 see https://triskelartscentre.ie/

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