AN IRISH artist is to set up residency in London over the festive period to display his works.
John Sheehy, who was born in south west Ireland but moved to Britain in the 1950s, was a relative latecomer to the world of art.
After his arrival in London, he took up a variety of jobs to make ends meet.
His work ranged from being a builder to a roofer and he also experienced periods of homelessness and mental health issues.
Art came along in the late 1990s.
“Art helps me – it’s crucial, necessary; gets me through the day, gets me through the night. It’s a friend to me – a big friend,” John said.
His paintings are executed with a sense of passionate urgency and he works with a variety of materials.
Oils, acrylics and pastels all flow from John’s brush and he also advocates the use of pens and chalk for added effect.
The result is a unique vision of the tale of John’s life, from his formative years in Ireland to his current life in London.
“I’m not aware of any influences. It just happens very sudden,” John said. “Comes through my hand. The colours choose me, mix themselves. It starts from nothing and it finishes with something”.
His natural gift for art was encouraged by The Big Issue arts group in the early days and his work has since flourished.
Following exhibitions in prestigious venues such as The British Museum and further afield, in the likes of Germany and Norway, John’s latest display is something of a homecoming for him.
John operates out of his Islington home and remains heavily involved with the issues that affected him; regularly taking painting groups with vulnerable members of society with the likes of the 240 Project.
John’s “Through My Hand” exhibition remains in the Peter Bedford Housing Association until January 25. All proceeds go to the artist himself as well as the Peter Bedford Housing Association.