It’s a simple enough concept, and one that is very evident when you walk through the corridors of the former Good Shepherd Convent on Limerick’s Clare Street.
On a site that was a place of public executions in the 16th century and then served as home to the Magdalene Laundry, it’s somewhat disconcerting to find brightness, illumination and transformation at every turn.
Creative minds either hard at work or deep in thought at the epicentre of the Limerick School of Art and Design (LSAD).
One graduate cuts blocks of aeroboard with a saw, another sits sketching on the college steps while another peels pink latex paint from a wall.
This is the creative community in full flow.
It’s graduation week and for the students, it’s the pinnacle of a four-year journey.
Sculpture – Alex Holzinger, Germany
IT WAS once discarded junk. Pieces of a puzzle that fit together to give balance, substance and new artistic life.
Funny how a car tyre, a piece of a wooden pallet and a chair leg could combine to make a work of art that people stop and stare at in wonderment.
But that’s the feeling you get from Alex Holzinger’s sculptures.
“It’s probably where the whole jargon bit comes in but it is about repurposing discarded objects”, says the tall blonde German as he rises from the floor where he has been working on his notes.
“They all had an original function and I totally ignore that function and strip it back and I transform the objects but not beyond the form of identifiable. The question now is have I made the objects better by giving them a new sense of value or have I made them worse by stripping their function and using just their form. That ‘not being sure’ bit creates the debate”, he suggests.
With each piece and its link to the next, Alex’s creations balance perfectly with one another. If one piece of the sculpture is removed, the whole lot is rendered useless again.
It’s probably also a reflection of the “rollercoaster journey” he has been on during his four years at LSAD.
“I wake up everyday with a smile on my face because of here, but the end of that journey is both “terrifying and daunting. This part of it is over now, but what next, I’don’t know, MOMA (Museum of Modern Art) The Tate Modern we will see – give it ten years and I will be there.”
Sculpture making for the festival circuit in Ireland and the UK and maybe broaden that to other horizons is his immediate ambition and for now, his goal is simple.
“I just want to make art, man”.
“It’s all I ever wanted to do and after my time here now I know it even more.”
Fashion -Liadán Scott Keogh, Dublin
“When I was at school, I knew I didn’t want to stay in Dublin and then I came to love looking at the Limerick School of Art and Design and through the degree shows and even when I was younger I always thought that they were really interesting.
While many of her contemporaries may have questioned her decision to go against the tide, Liadán Scott Keogh only ever had one destination in mind.
“I wanted to get to Limerick and so happy that I moved here as it was the best choice I made in my life”
“There is a really lovely atmosphere here and even though there are different disciplines within the college, we are all involved with each other in some way. You could say we are all multi-disciplinary and you can jump between aspects while people are always very helpful.
“In essence, it is a nice community to be in and that makes this experience so worthwhile.
“Would I recommend it, in a heart beat. This is so unique and we are all very much together as there is no difference between first or fourth years.”
Speaking of “the pretty special award”, she won at the 2106 LSAD graduate fashion show, Liadán says she is now ready to move to London to explore “the most exciting phase yet”.
“In July, I will be moving to work with Richard Malone, which is absolutely brilliant and the bursary will go towards me living over there for three months. I will get to do Paris Fashion Week and that is absolutely amazing.”
Travel, exploring both herself and life, as well as working in a collective of designers and artists, is the plan for this award-winning creative talent.
Print and Combined practice – Liam Lewis, Galway
“I’m not very technically minded”.
But looking at the work submitted by Liam Lewis for the 2016 LSAD graduate show, you would think the polar opposite.
Liam, who was a chef before he returned to art school, created a sheet metal illuminated tower. The 16 metal plates were fused together after being etched in acid with the patterns of a mobile phone circuit boards to allow little chinks of light out from the structure.
“I’m not very good with the internet, smartphones and all that kind of stuff, so I came up with a vocabulary that makes sense to me. It may sound vague, but if you look at the actual pattern on the tower, they are actually made up of thousands of circuit boards from a mobile phone.”
“It is my interpretation of communications technology without getting technical about it. There are no sensors so it doesn’t follow you around the room like some surveillance piece. It’s just a statement on it
Of his time at LSAD, Liam said that the “primary experience has been learning different techniques with printing and that has been great.
His own prospects of continuing in academia will be determined by his children who themselves will be entering third level in two years time.
“I may just have to withdraw somewhat as I don’t know if I will get a job associated with what I am doing here.”
The Galway native who now lives in Clare endured a daily two-hour round trip during his four years at LSAD.
“I used to be a chef and did a VEC course to gather a portfolio and I got in. The relaxed feel and the fact that it is not rigid is something that is unique and when you are dealing with the visual arts that’s essential.
Asked how he thinks people will interpret his work, Liam said he couldn’t say because “I’ve been looking at this for the last year and it will be interesting to see the reaction. I don’t mind of they don’t get it, it’s just what I am trying to say.”
Visual Communications – Mark Lynch, Tipperary
Japan, a land of high-rise cities, mountainous forest parks and a culture that is moving as fast as their speeding trains.
It’s a far cry from Nenagh, but for Mark Lynch it was enough to inspire his final year project piece in a travelog of his time spent visiting the land of the rising sun.
“I wanted it to be a marry between a travel guide and a personal account – something that I would have liked to have when I was travelling.
“I found that other publications were very technical whereas I took the approach of linking the travelog with what made Japan special.
“Personal accounts are more relevant now more than ever. Platforms like Vimeo and youtube are attracting mainstream attention because people are searching for videos about their proposed destinations.”
“People tend to value real accounts over the corporate branded message”.
And is something he hopes to tap in to in the not too distant future.
“I will bring this to the Japanese embassy once I am finished and I think they will show an interest in it, given that I took such an interest in their country.”
London is another option as he wants to secure employment in his preferred field of editorial design.
And while he traverses the world of magazines and publishing, he will remember the “amazing experience of learning so much” at LSAD.
“That’s what this place gives you. It was my Japan”.
The LSAD 2016 graduate collection opens on this Saturday, June 11 from 11am to 3pm to Sunday, June 19 from 9.30am to 4.30 daily.