On Wednesday, April 13, Galway artist Finbar McHugh’s latest artwork – ‘Unleash’ – was officially unveiled at the PorterShed’s Bowling Green location during the new building’s community launch.
The Wednesday evening launch saw members of the PorterShed community come together as Finbar’s latest piece was unveiled following a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Finbar is an established artist whose work has been seen nationally and internationally. Some of his most well-known work includes black-and-white paintings that explored the themes of time and mindfulness created for the Galway University Hospital’s main foyer, his ‘Floating’ work done for the Baboró Festival, and pieces commissioned by the Iconic Offices for their workspace, The Lennox, in 2021.
Finbar previously also spent time busking around Europe at the likes of the Centre Pompidou in Paris, but has long since created a name for himself on the national stage having begun at an early age.
His journey in the art world started as a teenager when he took up graffiti while at school, and he soon began teaching when he was only 16, touring the country to help school-age students learn. Ultimately, Finbar became something of a graffiti pioneer in Ireland for all of his eye-catching contributions to the scene.
Today, Finbar is a sought-after artist with over 20 years of experience. Finbar’s latest installation on display in the PorterShed is a cosmic, colourful piece that offers a window into his creative ethos.
“I would say what you’ve got [with the PorterShed piece] is almost a snapshot into the reality that I am playing in all the time; if you were to dive into the world that I create. My canvases might be one scene or one moment, and this is like a snapshot of a whole, almost like a landscape,” Finbar explained.
“There’s huge bleeds of paint. It’s all acrylic spray paint. I stab cans, I burst things – it’s all movement. And you feel that when you look at it, too. I couldn’t sit there and paint with a brush…so I want to move.
“When I was painting that, it’s just like letting it all out. A lot of people [in the PorterShed] are very innovative, and it is about that feeling of what potential there is, and if you’re given the space, what can you do with it?”
For Finbar, painting is something he likes to have fun with, and he sees it as “an opportunity to play”. This definitely comes through in his PorterShed piece.
“I do believe that paintings hold energy – or anything really – everything is made of energy, so I suppose that resonates with people,” he said.
What’s more, it was the functional artist and designer Dan Gardner who built the floating frame that holds Finbar’s art piece. Indeed, it was Dan who designed the communal kitchen table in PorterShed’s Bowling Green location, an important piece of furniture that provides somewhere for PorterShed members to congregate at lunchtime.
Finbar’s artwork is now installed in the PorterShed’s community kitchen on the ground floor of the Bowling Green building, adding an extra colourful, artistic touch to an already splendidly designed space. To find out more about Finbar’s works and to browse his shop, you can visit his website at https://www.finbarmchugh.com/ and you can follow him on Instagram (@finbar247).
By Trevor Murray