Interview with the Artist : Orla Doyle

Interview with the artist

How do you define your artistic style, how has it evolved ?

I discovered my artistic style during the pandemic, a period that offered me the time and space to explore and experiment with new mediums. Resin, a substance typically used on surfboards, caught my attention for its versatility and unique properties like its glass like finish and vibrant colours. As I began experimenting with it, adding pigments and playing with its fluid nature, I found a medium that truly resonated with my vision and allowed me to express the captivating allure of the ocean in a new and dynamic way.

My style has evolved from these initial experiments, growing more refined and sophisticated as I've learned to manipulate the resin to capture the essence of the sea's ever-changing moods and colors. This journey with resin has been a process of discovery, pushing the boundaries of traditional art forms to create something that is deeply personal yet universally resonant.

Can you walk us through your creative process?

Resin, resembling a clear liquid glass, is poured in its liquid state and gradually hardens over a 24-48 hour period. Infusing the resin with pigments and acrylic inks during its liquid phase, I meticulously hand-pours it onto boards, crafting unique abstract pieces.

The creation process spans 3-5 weeks, involving 5-7 layers of diverse media, including inks, pigments, spray paint, resin, acrylics, sand, and other mixed media.

What steps do you take from the initial concept to the final product?

My process begins with inspiration, often drawn from the natural beauty of the sea—its textures, colors, and movements. Once I have a vision in mind, I prepare my workspace and materials, focusing on the resin, pigments, and the board that will serve as my canvas.

Conceptualisation: I sketch my ideas and consider the color palette that will best convey the mood and atmosphere I want to capture. This stage is about mapping out the flow and main elements of the piece.

Preparation: I ensure the workspace is clean and dust-free, as resin is highly sensitive to particles. The board is secured, and I mix the resin with hardener, following precise ratios to ensure optimal curing.

Color Mixing: Pigments are added to separate resin batches. I select colors that echo the sea’s depth and vibrancy, carefully blending them to achieve the desired hues.

Application: The resin is poured onto the board in layers. This step is where the magic happens—using various tools, I manipulate the resin, guiding its flow to create organic patterns and textures reminiscent of water. Depending on the piece, this may involve tilting the board, using a heat gun to move the resin or to create cells and lacing effects, or incorporating different materials like gold leaf or sand for texture.

Curing: Once the piece is complete, it needs to cure. This stage is crucial and requires patience; the resin must harden and become solid, a process that can take up to 72 hours depending on the thickness and environmental conditions.

Finishing Touches: After curing, I assess the piece for any imperfections that need to be sanded or touched up. Finally, a top coat of resin might be applied to enhance the depth and clarity of the artwork.

Reflection: The last step is stepping back and reflecting on the completed work, considering its journey and the story it tells.

Each piece is a journey through the unpredictable yet beautiful nature of resin, much like navigating the vast and ever-changing sea.

Are there specific environments, moods, or moments that spark your creativity most?

Certainly, the process of creating art is deeply intertwined with the moods, moments, and environments that surround us. As an artist, I find that the quietude of early morning, when the world is just beginning to stir, often awakens a sense of clarity and potential that translates into my work. Nature is a perpetual source of inspiration, especially the ever-changing sea with its myriad hues and moods—calm and serene at times, powerful and tumultuous at others. The sea itself is never the same, each day captures a completely new mood and colour pallette and atmosphere that can ignite the creative spark for a new resin piece.

Many artists have a particular theme or subject matter that they explore in their work. Is there a recurring theme in your art?

The overarching theme of my art is the exploration and embodiment of nature's fluidity and dynamism, with a special focus on the elements. I am deeply inspired by the interplay between water and light, the organic patterns in the natural world, and the profound depth of seascapes.

My resin pieces aim to capture the ephemeral beauty of the ocean — its varying moods from tranquil to tempestuous, its myriad of colors from the palest aquamarine to the deepest indigo, and the mesmerizing dance of the waves. Each artwork is an invitation to pause and reflect, a tribute to the awe-inspiring power of our natural surroundings.

What artists, past or present, have inspired or influenced your work?

Resin is a relatively new medium in the vast timeline of artistic materials, which means that many of the influences on my work with resin are drawn from its intrinsic qualities rather than the legacy of past artists. The medium itself—with its fluidity, translucence, and capacity for depth—inspires me to push the boundaries of traditional art forms and explore new possibilities.

While I certainly admire many artists from various periods for their techniques and mastery of their chosen mediums, my resin art is more a dialogue with the material itself and the natural world that it allows me to encapsulate. It's an ongoing journey of discovery, where the medium is as much a teacher and guide as any artist might be.

In the evolving world of art, how do you stay current with new techniques or mediums, and have you recently experimented with any?

Staying current with new techniques is an essential part of my creative process. I'm constantly experimenting, playing, and essentially 'conversing' with the medium to discover its potential. By embracing a spirit of curiosity and innovation, I often find myself venturing into uncharted territories of resin art. This could mean integrating new materials, adapting methods from other art forms, or even embracing accidents and the unexpected outcomes they might lead to. It's this adventurous approach to art-making that keeps my work fresh and evolving.

Can you describe a moment in your career that you felt was a significant breakthrough or turning point for you?

A significant breakthrough in my career came when I was featured on RTÉ Nationwide as part of their coverage of the Waterford Crafts Christmas Craft Fair. This exposure was a moment of validation and excitement, showcasing my work to a wider audience across the country and highlighting the unique qualities of resin art.

Being part of such a prestigious event and having the opportunity to share my artistic journey on a national platform was both an honor and a pivotal point, opening doors to new opportunities, connections, and the chance to bring my ocean-inspired creations to more people who share a passion for the sea and art.

With so many diverse art forms and expressions, how do you decide which medium or method best conveys your vision for a particular piece?

Choosing the right medium for a piece is a blend of intuition and intention. My vision for a work often comes with a sense of the texture, depth, and movement I want to capture. Resin, with its luminous quality and versatility, often becomes the chosen medium when I'm looking to convey fluidity and create something that resonates with the vibrancy of nature. It allows for layering and depth that can mimic the natural world's complexity. Each medium speaks its own language, and I select the one that best articulates the story or emotion I aim to express through my art.

How do you hope viewers will interpret or respond to your work?

I hope my art serves as a portal to the ocean, transporting viewers to the serene and majestic realm of the sea. Through each piece, I aim to evoke the sense of tranquility, awe, and connection that one feels when standing at the shore, gazing into the horizon. My desire is for viewers to be enveloped in the ocean's embrace, to feel the rhythm of the waves and the salt in the air, even if they're miles away from the nearest coast or in urban settings. By capturing the essence of the sea's beauty and power, I wish to offer an escape, a momentary voyage to the vast, blue expanse that inspires so much of my work.

Do you have any upcoming exhibitions, projects, or collaborations that you can tell us about?

No immediate plans at this time.

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