Cork artist: "My earliest childhood memory is winning my first art competition when I was four years old"

Cork born artist Róisín O’Sullivan is currently showing her work at Triskel Gallery Space, until March. She will give an artist’s talk there on Saturday, January 28
Cork artist: "My earliest childhood memory is winning my first art competition when I was four years old"

Roisin O’Sullivan in the studio while she was at the Tony O'Malley Residency in Kilkenny from April 2021-August 2022. The photograph was taken in August 2022 just before she left the residency. 

TELL us about yourself;

I am a Visual Artist based between Kilkenny and Cork City. I achieved an MA in Fine Art at Central Saint Martins, London (2015) and a BA in Fine Art at CCAM, GMIT in Galway, Ireland (2011). My work stems from my own experience of nature but slips into abstraction through intuition and mark-making within the studio process.

Within my practice I collect a range of shop bought wood, reclaimed wood, found wood, and various types of papers. Looking to the landscape as a source of inspiration, I paint and experiment with wood-burning, woodturning and wood-carving techniques to create works that sit between abstraction and representation.

I am currently exhibiting a solo exhibition titled I See Skies at Triskel Arts Centre in Cork City. The exhibition is curated by Miguel Amado and is open to the public until March 26.

Where were you born?

I was born in St. Finbarrs Hospital in Cork City and raised in Blackrock Village, in the city suburbs.

Where do you live?

I am currently based between Kilkenny and Cork. I moved to Kilkenny in 2021 as I was awarded the Tony O’Malley Residency Award by the Royal Hibernian Academy (RHA Dublin). This is a twelve-month residency to live in the house and studio that Tony O’Malley grew up in. Artist Jane O’Malley (Tony’s wife) bought and renovated Tony’s family home after his passing and developed it into a residency for painters.


I have my parents and two sisters who live in Cork.

Best friend?

I am lucky to have a wide group of friends from my school days, college in Galway and my time living in London. I try to stay in touch with my friends whenever I can.

Cork born artist Róisín O’Sullivan is currently showcasing her work at the Triskel Gallery Space. O’Sullivan’s artist talk will run Saturday January 28 - it will be the first in the Gallery Space in almost three years.
Cork born artist Róisín O’Sullivan is currently showcasing her work at the Triskel Gallery Space. O’Sullivan’s artist talk will run Saturday January 28 - it will be the first in the Gallery Space in almost three years.

Earliest childhood memory?

My earliest childhood memory is winning my first art competition when I was four years old. I was awarded a trophy for my painting by the Lord Mayor of Cork. 

I believe the painting may be somewhere in my parents’ attic.

Person you most admire?

I admire many people for many different reasons.

Where was your most memorable holiday?

Many memorable holidays to choose from. When I was 21 years old, I travelled to China for three months to teach art and English to children during their summer holidays. It was amazing to travel around China. I also travelled around India in 2016 and that was also an amazing experience. I also love travelling around Europe. Japan is on my list as somewhere I would love to go.

Favourite TV programme?

I don’t watch tv, I use Netflix or stream. I don’t have a favourite, but I tend to watch a lot of psychological thriller tv series. I am also currently watching Taskmaster as something more lighthearted.

Favourite radio show?

I listen to podcasts more at the moment rather than the radio. I have been listening to Off Menu (podcast) hosted by comedians Ed Gamble and James Acaster where they invite special guests to discuss what their ideal menu would be. I also listen to My Therapist Ghosted Me (podcast) hosted by Vogue Williams and comedian Joanne McNally. 

I listen to art podcasts too such as The Great Women Artists or Talk Art.

Your signature dish if cooking?

Hmm I love potatoes, so any potato based dish. I also love curries and often attempt to make different types. I often make coconut chicken and sweet potato curry, which is so good.

Favourite restaurant?

I can’t say I have a favourite, I do, however, love eating out and love food in general so I’m very happy when in any restaurant. I do love Asian cuisine so that would be my top preference when going for dinner, especially if sushi is on the menu.

Last book you read?

Wrongful Death by Lynda La Plante on audio. I listened to all the books from this series over Christmas. 

I have really gotten into audiobooks as I can paint at the same time and do other studio work or housework.

Best book you read?

I don’t have a favourite book but similar to the favourite tv programme question I would probably suggest a psychological thriller. I listened (via audiobook) to Troubled Blood by Robert Galbraith last summer, and that was a great book. I also might re-read a Maeve Binchy book as a comfort read from time to time.

Last album/CD/download you bought?

I use Spotify and the last album I listened to was suggested by Artist Lynette Yiadom- Boakye at her exhibition Fly In the League with the Night at Tate Britain in London. The songs are an eclectic mix of music to accompany the exhibition.

Favourite song?

I don’t have a favourite. I have a very eclectic interest in music so it depends on my mood.

One person you would like to see in concert?

I would love to see Fleetwood Mac in Concert (band rather than a person). I would also love to see Lana Del Rey, but many other singers come to mind too.

Do you have a pet?

Yes! I have a cat named Molly, also known as Whitesocks in the town where I live. She lived with another artist before me at the Tony O’Malley residency and is in many of his paintings. His name is Atsushi Kaga and he is an Irish based Japanese artist.

Molly is a bit of a character and many people know her in the town where I live. 

She often comes home smelling like cows or bread from the local bakery. Last year she used to come to most of my children’s art classes that I was teaching and she would often be seen following me up and down the main street.

Morning person or night owl?

A bit of both, but if I am not up early, I feel the day is wasted.

Your proudest moment?

I have a good few in relation to my art practice. Being awarded the Tony O’Malley Residency was certainly a big goal I wanted to achieve. Also being selected for my masters course in Fine Art at Central Saint Martins in London or being awarded funding by the Arts Council of Ireland for my art practice.

Spendthrift or saver?

I spend but I like to make sure what I buy is good quality and is for a good reason. I mainly spend on good food. I believe I am also a good saver but could always improve.

What makes you happy?

Making art and spending time with animals.

How would you like to be remembered?

As a good artist.

What else are you up to at the moment?

I am currently working towards my next solo exhibition which will be at Rathfarnham Castle OPW in Dublin, opening on February 16.

I will also be having an Artist Talk with Curator Miguel Amado for my current exhibition I See Skies at Triskel Arts Centre in Cork City on Saturday January 28 at 12 noon, all welcome! The exhibition continues until March 26.


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