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Tommy Barr
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Tommy Barr – Northern Ireland

Visual Artist

Hello, I’m Tommy Barr. I’m a Northern Ireland artist I’m based half-way between the capitol city Belfast and the border with the Republic of Ireland. I’m a painter. I’m not quite sure what kind of a painter. In France in an exhibition there the president of the Society of the museum described me as a post-Celtic symbolist, and whilst we found it amusing at the time, I suppose it’s as good as a description as I’ve heard.

For me the early prehistoric type work in Ireland is a foundation for the art that has followed. I consider it the beginning of the art that is my heritage, and I try to work within that tradition. However, I do paint about what is happening today and which is happening in my world, which I believe to be incumbent upon every artist. So this tradition appears in the symbolism, the techniques, and motifs, which I hope makes the work that I produce true to me, to my art, and to my being, I suppose, for lack of a better word.

The subject matter tends to be what is happening in front of me at the time. So as I travel, I’m quite often influenced by what I find, the people I meet, the world they live in, the stories they tell me. This is also a significant and important part of my practice. Travel I find inspirational. I find things and motifs there that I absorb and they become part of who I am and part of how I paint and part of what I paint.

The works I tend to produce as I see and as I feel. And they are then exhibited where they are suitable. I don’t worry about too much about where they will end up or how they will be shown. I create in my own little cocoon almost, and the work goes off, takes a life of its own, goes where it goes, and I hope enjoyed by some of those who see it—perhaps, all, who knows...


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