Interview with Street Artist James Early

Photo: Eoin Holland -

We had the chance to interview James Earley in connection with his work as a Street Artist and also his recent work with Jameson, with a limited edition bottle. You can see the results below…

“Ahead of their St. Patrick’s Day 2016 celebrations, Jameson has unveiled an exclusive limited edition bottle created by Dublin street artist, James Earley. The bottle is designed to mark the launch of Jameson’s #BeOriginal campaign in Dublin and around the world this March. Earley’s design is inspired by the bridges crossing the River Liffey, the backbone of Dublin.”

Where and how did you start working as a street artist?

I started painting in public spaces from the age of 15/16. It was in and around Dun Laoghaire, where I grew up, as well as Windmill Lane and the Project Arts Centre hoardings, when it was a building site.

Have any of your works been painted over/ lost? Is this something you worry about?

I would say that 95% if not more of all of my work has been painted over. A lot of the time it’s all about getting a decent photo of your piece in a certain environment. How the work is framed etc. That is what concerns me more so these days. Do a few large scale works or quality, well thought out pieces over the year instead of lots of quick small pieces. The larger works don’t get painted over tbh, or its rare they do. I think the age old rule in graffiti circles of if you’re going to take a wall out/ cover an existing piece, make sure you paint over the whole thing. That becomes an issue when an artist has painted over an entire building. Haha!


What was is like to work with Jameson for this job?

Working with Jameson on this project was a really inspiring and creatively fulfilling experience. They had a few parameters to work within for the design side of things and then it was pretty much free reign after that, which I really respected. They have a history for supporting arts and culture that dates back many years, including working with the famous stained glass artist Harry Clarke, which I was very interested to hear about.

The inspiration for this piece was the bridges of Dublin, specifically the Grattan (Capel street) bridge’s Hippocampi. When was the first time you noticed them?

I noticed the detail on Grattan bridge when I was about 16. I used to buy my spray paint in a car shop on Capel Street called Mitchells when I first started out. Very few places stocked spray paint at the time. So I’d always be passing over the bridge from the Project Arts Centre to the shop. The Hippocampi always stuck within my memory as they’re quite visually unique.


You normally work on a large scale, what have you learned from working with a smaller canvas? Does it alter the way you design/ draw?

A great deal of my walls are planned using the computer, more specifically, Adobe Illustrator, a mouse and a tablet. I love the immediacy and accuracy it gives. I’m a semi-impatient person when I’m planning work. I like it to happen at a fairly quick pace. I usually sketch a few different ideas in my book on loose sheets and then work directly onto the computer. I think that the computer may inform some elements of my work but ultimately, its just a tool. It’s really the accumulative effect of the mix between my awareness of what visually interests me, past walls I’ve painted, my family’s past works and my future painting goals that feed into how I design/ draw/ create.


You have a family history of working in stained glass, is it something you’d like to do yourself?

Absolutely. This is my main goal for 2016. To create some stained glass art works. I’m currently working with two fabricators to realise this. It wasn’t possible until now. It should be a very exciting 2016. Ultimately, if I could live off painting walls, creating stained glass pieces and other smaller painted works for the rest of my days I’d be a very content and happy man.

Find out more about James on his website here.

For more information and a full schedule of Be Original events, check out their website.


Categories: Art, Festivals, Header, interview

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