Seán Cotter

Seán Cotter lives in Ardee, Co. Louth. He was educated at The National College of Art and Design. His work in the collections of Louth Local Authorities’ is based on observations of birds; their movements and patterns. He has exhibited his pieces widely and his work is held in various collections throughout the world.

Read an interview with this artist here:

What was your route to becoming an artist full time?
I was always very fond of drawing as a child and loved the chance to spend time at it. My father raised and trained race horses and as my other passion was riding out at the weekends and during the summer for my Dad, it was natural that horses were my favourite subject growing up. It was an aunt of mine that suggested Art College to me as a career option. I think I was about 13 and it had never occurred to me that it was an option. From that moment I decided what I was going to do, except for a brief period where I entertained the thought of riding professionally. The support of my parents was essential in the pursuit of my dream even though I’m sure they knew it wouldn’t be an easy life. There really wasn’t any other choice for me as far as I was concerned.

Do you have any words of advice for artists starting out?
At the beginning, join a co-operative of other artists. The shared knowledge and experience of others coupled with the emotional support and artistic criticism is a great boon to many a struggling artist.
How do you keep your profile up?
It’s always important for me to foresee larger prominent exhibitions every three to five years. These are what keep you on people’s radar and they are also what I look forward to most. It is a way to make the largest statements on your practise, expressing a vision of how your painted language is progressing.

Can you tell us about the work in our collections?

These are all based around the image of the rook, crow and raven. All members of the Corvidae family of birds. I did a lot of travelling around Ireland and I loved watching the aerial manoeuvres of these birds. It got to the point where I imagined their flights, either during the day or returning to the roost at night, as drawings in the sky. There black forms against the white clouds or blue of the sky. The eerie noise of them returning to the rookery at dusk, it was so powerful but somehow at the same time I felt a comforting by it. They are a very family orientated creature who mate for life and family is important to me. They became a symbol for this on one level but they were also an inspiration and genesis for mark making on paper. These drawings are as much about aesthetic balance and beauty as they are symbols for something deeper in the psyche. You can almost hear the noise of charcoal on paper as much as the cawing and crowing of the rooks
These pieces were created in 2005/6 and still have a significant impact on some of the work I create today. I do still like them, which can’t be said for all of my work. A constant refrain in me is “I can do better”, how else do you grow as an artist if you don’t challenge yourself. You must be your own harshest critic

What are you working on at the moment?
Currently I’m studying at DKIT ‘Web Site Development for Business’ two days a week. I feel I need a greater understanding of the web and social media. My website is four years out of date and I need to know how to rectify this myself.
Currently I have a studio in Ardee where I work when I can. I exhibit with Gormley’s Gallery in Dublin and Belfast and have work with other galleries around Ireland. Having just completed a project that included three other artists and toured to three venues in two countries I feel the need to focus on one larger solo exhibition within the next three years.

Find out more about this artist here:
Watch a short film of Seán talking about his practice here: