Carlow Institute of Further Education and Training 2020

Carlow Institute of Further Education and Training, in association with the NAPD Creative Engagement Programme, were delighted to engage with Artist: Karen Hickey through Portrait painting. Part one of the Creative Engagement 2020 project encompassed the theme of “identity” through a study of portraiture analysis. As ‘Portraiture’ is a suitable methodology for capturing the essence of the human experience, Artist Hickey’s personal approach is driven by a mixture of instinct and subject matter—particularly people, their expressions, mood and movement.  She is inspired from many artists, including Amedeo Modigliani, Kees van Dongen, Klimt, Egon Schiele and Mary Swanzy. 

She was chosen, as she had started a creative challenge for the month of February, to make a piece of Art for every day of the month! The theme was “Familiar Faces” painted in her usual crooked and colourful style interpreting characters that she found interesting, such as; musicians, actors, artists, people from history, well known women and men. The challenge was to improve her skills at capturing the likeness of the person but not changing her style in any way. 

Through a series of dialogues and visiting workshops students promoted their creative responses, seeking to record and interpret the perspectives of the people they were studying. Thus, her aim was to facilitate a workshop, which produced creative responses, which were alive, colourful, fun, expressive and one that told a story, one in which she illustrated, turned walls into interesting colourful, storytelling landmarks! 

Using many different media including; charcoal, pencil, markers, chalk and oil pastels, watercolours and acrylics, she worked with students to produce a minimum of two portraits each, with some creating four and six creative pieces! This in turn, enabled students to study, record and analyse the methodology of portraiture, contextualizing it, whilst learning to place the stance of the researcher and artist in context through the role of the Artist, researcher and practitioner. Students then followed with digital portraits in their Graphic Design Skills module extending their creative skillsets even further!

The final pieces of work are selections from one of the Creative Arts Faculty group: Graphic Design & Visual Communication. Having such a diverse range of students resulted in a wide range of work produced. 

Teacher: Susan Murphy

Artist: Karen Hickey