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3, 3 and 3: Patrick Corcoran, mixed-media artist

Patrick CorcoranIt’s been a very long while since I’ve posted in the 3, 3 and 3 series, which turns the spotlight on creative people I know, but I’m pleased to break the drought now by introducing Patrick Corcoran.

Patrick is a mixed-media artist from Limerick, Ireland, whose practice includes sculpture,​ installation, photography, print, drawing, film and the written word. He has exhibited work throughout Ireland, and also in Northern Ireland, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Hungary, China and Brazil.

We met at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in County Monaghan, where we were both residents, and became friends over many cups of tea, far too many scones, and a mutual interest in film and photography. Patrick’s wide knowledge of both artforms cast mine well and truly in the shade, but I can assure you that I held my own with the scones!

Since then, I’ve seen his interests range widely in many directions—the art to be found in ordinary objects, the traces of themselves that people leave behind in lost and discarded items, haunted places…You’ll catch a hint of this in his answers below.

Patrick’s current exhibition, Phobos & Deimos, runs until 24 March at the Linenhall Arts Centre, Castlebar. The following two images are from the exhibition:


Psychophobia-full & cropped


Over to Patrick…

3 things I love about what I do

1 My work allows me to delve into and explore topics which I normally would not.

2 It gives me the choice (and excuse) to work in on a variety of projects simultaneously.

3 My art allows me to experiment with different media to get the desired results and to learn new techniques, software packages and equipment.

3 places I’d like to visit

1 Gobekli Tepe, south-western Turkey
First discovered in 1995, it has been dated to 9,600 BC. I love researching archaeological sites of any age, especially ones like this. More than 11,000 years ago, people were choosing particular rocks to cut and what sculptural reliefs to carve and how to assemble them into structures and places of worship.

2 Puma Punku, Bolivia
The stone carving at this site is some of the most impressive I have come across. It  almost looks like it was machine made, or came off an industrial assembly line, especially the interlocking ‘H’ shaped blocks. The stone workers were so talented to have created and carved these blocks. Thousands of years later, we can still admire their skill and design. I would love to visit this site and do work based on it, and I plan to apply for a travel award in the near future.

3 Baalbek, Beqaa Valley, Lebanon
This ancient site comprises the two-thousand-year-old Roman temple to Jupiter. In the base of these ruins lie three hewn stones known together as the ‘trilithon’, each estimated to weigh more than 750 tons. In a nearby a quarry lies one of the largest stones ever carved, the Stone of the Pregnant Woman, weighing an estimated 1,200 tons. Again, I am amazed at the level of skill and ingenuity these ancient builders and masons had.

3 favourite artists

1 Max Ernst
I have a huge interest in dreams, dream diaries and the unconscious. I didn’t really discover Ernst until after I left college, and over the years I have grown to greatly admire his variety of styles, techniques and materials.

2 Ansflem Kiefer
I did my fine art degree in sculpture, and Kiefer’s paintings and use of materials for his sculptural and installation pieces had a strong influence on my own work.  I find his work very earthy, and I keep an eye on his art and exhibitions. I would like to return to my roots, as it were, at some stage in the future and get back into making 3-D and sculptural work.

3 David Lynch
I am currently watching the new Twin Peaks series and am thoroughly enjoying it. I watched the first two seasons when I was in secondary school and have been a huge fan of Lynch’s work since then, whether it be his films, art or music.


Contact Patrick via his website

Other links:
Publications: The roads have got deadly; Nocturnes; Phobos & Deimos
Short film: 4DTI

Dsiplay c.u

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3, 3 and 3: Tony Durant, musician

542235_690145301014683_97668222_nIt’s been a while since I’ve posted in the 3, 3 and 3 series, which features creative people talking about the things they love. I’m delighted to break that drought by introducing Tony Durant, who I first met in the late 1970s when he came to Perth from the UK to produce an album for ‘suburban boy’ rocker Dave Warner—and ended up staying. Ric, my husband, recorded and mixed that album, Correct Weight, and we have been friends with Tony and his wife, Pauline, ever since.

Tony had a fascinating career in London before arriving in Australia. He describes how he abandoned the expectations that his upper middle-class family had for their privately educated boy, and instead plunged into the psychedelic London music scene of the late 1960s. His art psych bank Louise played alongside Fleetwood Mac and Pink Floyd. ‘They went on to greatness. We missed it by that much, as Max Smart would say!’

1. Tony. Psychedelia verite 1968 !

In the early 1970s he recorded an album, Fuchsia (Pegasus/B&C Records), which he describes as ‘a weird art rock thing with string quartet’. At the time, he says, ‘it did nothing’.

Fuchsia face orig. Album cover

After a decade or so of making music in Perth and touring with Dave Warner, Tony moved to Sydney with his family in 1990, drawn there by a publishing deal with Polygram. He spent a number of years as a hands-on parent—something he describes as a ‘great privilege’—and made documentaries about vintage speedway motorcycle racing and the legends of the 1930s who had raced alongside his father, a top West Ham rider.

And it’s around this point in Tony’s career that we have to backtrack to that 1970s album, Fuchsia. It’s a story best told in his own words:

Life can present some surprises. About 10 years ago, Fuchsia became a cult album on the net, totally unknown to me. Mojo magazine ran a story, and an Italian label contacted me about a re-issue. A Melbourne film company did a short doco on the story. I tried writing in the same vein, and soon a new album was written, which received great reviews. A young Swedish band, Me and My Kites (a song title from Fuchsia I), contacted me. They’d grown up on Fuchsia music and had recorded one of my old songs. They asked me to sing on it, released it through a European label, and last July I toured UK, Holland and Scandinavia with them. Between gigs with the Australian Fuchsia band, I went back to Europe in July this year, having been invited to play at a couple of festivals in Denmark and Sweden. And I continue to work regularly with Dave Warner from the Suburbs. Life just could not be better!

Fuchsia II: From Psychedelia to a Distant Place (2013)

Fuchsia II: From Psychedelia to a Distant Place (2013)

And now, over to Tony again for his 3, 3 and 3 responses…

3 things I love about what I do

1. The satisfaction of taking a blank sheet of paper and creating something you, and hopefully others, see artistic value in. Fascination with the creative process, in both personal and universal terms, and in my case, with ideas which appear meaningless, coming from the subconscious, and are then forged into some meaning through the conscious thought process. Meaningless lyrics slowly metamorphosing into a song with purpose. And it’s interesting, going back on half-finished works from years ago, and finding all those years of experience have given you skills you never realised you had, to complete these abandoned works, sometimes with surprisingly good results.

2. Meeting and working with wonderful people who become part of your music world. As we grow older we have less baggage, less to prove, and music takes on a really fun aspect, as well as a quality to it (I like to think!). I get contacted by people from all over the world, telling me how much those idiosyncratic little songs I wrote all those years ago mean to them. Some of these people I have a drink with when they visit Sydney.

3. I love that unexpected things/coincidences continually happen. The unexpected seems to follow me. Finding myself in positions that scare me; challenges and situations that a few years back I would not believe I could have attempted. On stage, talking to an audience and leading a band again. I could never have imagined this would happen.

3 places you’d like to visit, or revisit

I have many beautiful memories of places such as Greece, Bali and South Africa, where I grew up. But I feel it’s probably best not to return, as many times places you love change for the worse, and those beautiful memories are jaded.

1. I loved the USA, which I visited for the first time about five ago. We had an amazing road trip: LA to Austin (Texas) to New Orleans and back. The history that I had read so much about came to life. There is so much there to see, and so yes, several return visits could be on the cards.

At the Grand Canyon with ‘the girls’

At the Grand Canyon with ‘the girls’

2. And of course Sweden, where a group of young people have made me feel so welcome, and have been instrumental (excuse the pun!) in the continuation of the amazing Fuchsia journey. Louis, my son, joined me on bass this trip, which has been a beautiful experience I will always treasure. Fano Island Festival, Denmark, was special, as I met and played with local musicians there for the first time.

Fano Island Festival, Denmark, 2015

Fano Island Festival, Denmark, 2015

3. We plan to visit Cuba and Alaska, which I’ve heard a lot about.

3 favourite things in life

1. Top of the list is family. My wife is a very special person, and I’ve loved being part of the process of our children’s growing up to be such different and loving individuals. And, with them, their cohort of friends has kept me in touch with my youth, an experience where I feel I can re-live every precious minute. We only grow old on the outside! Yes, to me, family is the basis of everything.

2. Playing songs I wrote and arranged 40 years ago—and that still work.

3. Coming home with full anticipation to see what Pompey the dog has destroyed in our absence this time!


More at the Fuchsia website and Facebook page


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3, 3 and 3: Patricia Kennan, artist

pat3, 3 and 3 is an occasional series featuring creative people and the things that inspire them. My first guest of 2015 is artist Patricia Kennan. I met Pat in 2011, when we were both in residence at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Ireland. She is well known among her many friends there—not only for her exquisite work but for her habit of plunging into the lake early every morning come rain, shine, sleet or snow! Alas, she could not convince me to join her. Pat was born in Dublin but has lived for much of her adult life in the United States, and her accent is a delightful melding of both ‘homes’. While she loves her adopted country, she says she feels ‘mostly Irish’, and this is evident in her work as an artist. When I visited her studio at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, she was working on a series of paintings drawn from her memories of Donegal, and I was deeply moved by the sense of longing and belonging I sensed in them. Pat has Masters degrees (Fine Arts and Art) from the University of Iowa, and has taught in a private school in Spain. She has been exhibiting solo and in group shows at galleries in the US and Ireland since 1979, and her many residencies have included Cill Rialaigh (Ireland), the Julia and David White Colony for Artists (Costa Rica), Pouch Cove (Canada), and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts (US). Over to Pat…

3 things I love about what I do

1. When I was four, I stumbled across the colour green by overlapping blue and yellow. It seemed like magic to me, surprising, exciting. Colour and the power of paint to get me back to that place of wonder are what I love about being a painter.

I would be nowhere else

I would be nowhere else

2. I love having the time to look at and feel landscape before I try to put it down on paper, which is freeing. I work from memory on any image until I recognise it.

The road

The road

3. I love reading poetry and fiction and listening to music, and using these as vehicles to take me to that place where process and image come together suddenly in the work. And I love the solitude of working in the studio, not having to deal with people, just the image and the quiet.

3 places I’d like to visit or revisit

1. Donegal, Ireland—wild, wonderful, full of childhood memories. When I’m there, I’m haunted by its history, the weight and beauty of the sea and sky and the ancient land.

Sunset, Donegal

Sunset, Donegal

2. Annaghmakerrig in Newbliss, Ireland—a place that gives me the time and solitude and affirmation and protection to create. 3. Vinalhaven, Maine, an island in Penobscot Bay—the place I have lived longest anywhere in North America, an island where people take care of each other. It has a great library run by two women who love books, and the New Era Gallery, run by Elaine Crossman, where I show work.

3 favourite things

1. Arriving in Maine, seeing the sea come right up to the house in a 10-feet high tide—and jumping in.


Vinalhaven, my jumping off point

2. Spending the day at the Art Institute in Chicago alone and feeling I’m among friends. 3. Finding a book that will take me to a different land, culture or time and filling my heart with images.

Manly beach

Manly beach

You can view more of Patricia’s work at the New Era Gallery’s website


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3, 3 and 3: Miles Lowry, visual and sound artist, writer, director

UnknownThis month’s 3, 3 and 3 guest is one of the most abundantly creative people I know. Miles Lowry lives and works in Victoria BC, Canada, but I met him in Ireland, where we were both in residence at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre. I vividly remember the day I had the privilege of visiting his studio. Swallows flew around the walls from painting to painting, or so it seemed to me, so beautifully had Miles captured their mercurial essence.

Miles has been exhibiting paintings and sculptures since 1981. His exhibitions Two Tribes and Rites and Passages and his series of cast fibre figures, Crucial Fragments, have established him as one of Western Canada’s most versatile contemporary artists. After receiving the People’s Choice Award at Artropolis in Vancouver, his work received national television coverage on CBC Artspots. He has been creating a collection of paintings based on travel and sanctuary and specifically his residencies at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre at Annaghmakerrig.

He wrote and co-directed Opium, for Bravo! CHUM Television, inspired by French poet Jean Cocteau, and in 2007 introduced the film at the Lincoln Centre, New York. His Bravo!FACT dance film Aisling: We Saw A Vision is based on an award-winning poem by Irish poet Liam Mac Uistin, and he is currently preparing Saint Cloud, a multimedia collection of his works on Cocteau.

A founding Artistic Co-Director for Suddenly Dance Theatre, Miles works in digital arts, sound design and new media. His second Bravo!FACT short, Guthrie Swims the Lake, based on famed theatre director Tyrone Guthrie, premiered on Canadian Television in 2010, and he is currently creating sound and visual design for Suddenly Dance Theatre’s Art of War.

As a painter, Miles recently presented Marks of Devotion, a collaboration of painting and text with calligrapher Georgia Angelopolous, and Saints of Circumstance, an ongoing collection of cryptic portraits.

DSCN5430Miles’s book Blood Orange (2008), based on the life of writer Paul Bowles, sits on my desk with a clutch of poetry collections that I love and dip in to from time time.

And now, over to Miles…

3 things you love about your work

1. I love how my artworks travel over time into people’s lives and hold meanings that I will never know. Occasionally I receive messages from people who have acquired my work. I also get emails with photos of my paintings over fireplaces, sculptures in specially built niches, and sometimes in isolation as the sole artwork in a room. These photos sent from afar connect me to the new world my pieces now inhabit. I imagine how the light may travel over their surfaces. I am reminded by these messages of how some works come back after a long absence and I have to get to know them again.



2. I love to experience the process of transforming materials into something surprising. My new series of painted sculptural figures are covered in tiny optical beads highly sensitive to variant angles of light. This allows for both a reflective and transparent surface, where the painting beneath becomes illuminated. The effect is transformational and suggests to me an alternative dream-body. There is no subject more significant for me because we have no other way to exist than through our bodies. We embody ourselves. I learned that we average about 2000 dreams a year. In dreams we rarely see ourselves but we recognise the presence of ourselves in others. Sometimes we experience  the dream-body as ourselves. We are free to become both object and idea. With this new work I am considering the human body as a vehicle for dreams and as a potent symbol of our times, reminding us that our bodies are the vulnerable housing we are given.



3. I love to challenge the idea that an artist must be exclusive to a particular medium. I once thought I wanted to be a stone sculptor. I experienced the satisfaction the sculptor has of picking away at something until it is revealed. However, I have made only a half a dozen stone sculptures. Upon calculating the time, energy and risk of working in such a way, I then expanded into the world of clay—the giving and receiving medium that helps shape our functional lives and lends itself so well to the sculptor’s hand. Later I found the simple versatility of casting paper as both a painting and a sculptural medium. Now I am creating three-dimensional paintings. I change licence. I create in new ways. I feel free to create in any medium including ones yet to be discovered.

3 journeys you would like to make

1. I have always wanted to journey to Skellig Michael in Ireland because it sounds terrifying and beautiful—an island of stone rising straight out of the Atlantic, 630 rough-hewn steps climbing from the sea, a cluster of ancient dwellings at the top. It is terrifying because I fear heights but I long for the beauty of its isolation.
2. I hope to visit Morocco to experience now the world I wrote about in Blood Orange, my book about writer Paul Bowles. I wrote about Morocco as I experienced it through the lens of his writings and not my own experiences. Now I would like to experience the reverse. I want to walk where I imagined.
3. I would like to visit Rome, as I have only been there in the movies.

Above and below

Above and below

3 favourite places

1. Gustave Moreau Museum Paris, France
2. Dali’s house at Port Lligat on the Costa Brava, Catalonia
3. Annaghmakerrig at Newbliss, County Monaghan, Ireland

To see more of Miles’s work, go to his website


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3, 3 and 3: Michael McCall, director/actor/writer/teaching artist

photo3, 3 and 3 features creative people doing creative things, and my June guest, Michael McCall, has done—and continues to do—many.

Is the face familiar? You may have seen Michael in theatre productions (What the Butler Saw, Macbeth, Ghost Train, A Midsummer Night’s Dream), or a short film (he was nominated for Best Actor at the 2013 WA Screen Awards for One Night Only), or on television (Three Acts of Murder, Roll, The Shark Net). And he will soon be on screen in the feature film These Final Hours, which has just premiered at Cannes.

Behind the scenes, he has a long list of theatre directing credits, including two nominations for Best Director in the Equity Awards (The Deep Blue Sea and Missing), and has recently directed several short films (Tartan, a short film he also produced, was recently screened on ABC2).

Michael is also a writer and an educator in theatre and film, and is in the final stages of a PhD in Performing Arts at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA).

In other words, he’s a busy man, and I’m delighted that he has found time to talk about some of the things he loves.

3 things you love about what you do

1. Working in the arts has glamorous moments, but it’s still a tough old business, not for the faint-hearted. What keeps me hanging in there isn’t the tantalising idea of fame and fortune but the colleagues I am surrounded by every day. Film and theatre involve a high level of collaboration in what is oftentimes a Sisyphean journey, and this ensures that life is much less solitary. Maybe I’m just a sucker for a good stories and witty anecdotes.

Being surrounded by individuals with broad talent and eclectic lived experiences has to be one of the major upsides to this bizarre and tumultuous artistic existence. So many of the people involved have depth; perhaps it’s their ability to share and imperative to communicate thoughts and ideas that create the space for this to happen. I love being around these people whenever I can.

2. Anyone who understands teaching will know that teachers are often born, not made, and I’ve been, according to my now thousands of students in Australia and America, fortunate enough to be one of the former. Of course, they could be lying. They are storytellers, after all.

My teaching came about because of the need to earn a living in some other fashion than barwork—an artistic cliché and my stock in trade, along with labouring, during the lean years of my early career. But over the years it has developed into a craft, and then into something more important. It has forced me to articulate what I believe I know about my craft and has demanded of me the continual elaboration and dedication and discipline needed to be relevant as a tutor. It is a natural part of the artistic experience, to pass on what you know. It’s provided me so much pleasure. It’s kept me warm on cold nights. It’s an incredible honour.

3. I love storytelling. I suspect it’s inherent in me—I’m a Scotsman of Southern Irish descent. My greatest creative pleasure is the imaginative exploration that occurs early in the process. The problem solving. The new life that is being produced. Imaginative exploration—yes, that’s the key for me. That’s not to say that my own life is boring. I jumped out of a plane last year, so I’m not lacking stimulation—some might say hyperstimulation. But the chance to watch the formation of a story taking place gives me utter delight. It’s particularly the case with work where I follow the process through from conception to presentation. We’re very lucky in Australia that we have such a long tradition of storytelling, reinventing and innovating over tens of thousands of years. Storytelling, then, could be said to be evolutionary—I think that’s as important as landing on a far-flung planet.

Skydiving reminded me of going on stage—the build-up, the door opening, the exit from the plane and then just being in the moment because you can’t go back, you can only go forward.

Skydiving reminds me of going on stage—the build-up, the door opening, the exit from the plane and then just being in the moment because you can’t go back, you can only go forward.

3 places you’d like to visit, or revisit

1. I love New York. I suppose that’s where the T-shirt comes from. New York captures the best and worst of the modern world—it’s an artist’s conundrum and paradise. It offers dreams and nightmares, but it is what it is and refuses to be defined. The energy is palpable. It actually takes a while to walk around Manhattan, not because it’s a big city—it’s really not—but because there is so much to take in. And every borough offers so much diversity.

I took this picture from a New York cab on the way to Brooklyn to see Steve Buscemi reading the poetry of William S. Burroughs, which one of my students got for me. It is an image of New York City you don’t often see.

I took this picture from a New York cab on the way to Brooklyn to see Steve Buscemi reading the poetry of William S. Burroughs, which one of my students got for me. It’s an image of New York City you don’t often see.

However, I also love to drive around upstate New York. Twenty minutes out of the city you hit the most wondrous mountain country along the two-lane blacktop. Immense rivers, wild deer, dense forest embrace you, and you would never believe that NYC was sitting on the edge of it all. New York State offers a feast for the senses.

2. I grew up in a rough working-class suburb of Glasgow during the darker years of Tory social engineering, which indelibly marked me. Perhaps this is the main reason I’m attracted to stories and projects that deal with social inclusiveness and injustice. With Thatcher’s devolutionary cry of ‘There’s no such thing as society’, my father, a fitter in the Glasgow shipyards, would take me with his workmates on the Yarrow Social Club minibus out to the beautiful lochs and deserted pale white beaches of Western Scotland to fish. These men embodied society for me. A close-knit and stoic bunch who wanted their sons and daughters to have an opportunity to take in the natural beauty of Alba each weekend and wanted to show us something special. Memories of fires on stony beaches, of wild deer startled in the undergrowth, of wading in cold dark water, of waves breaking over boats in the Irish Sea—all of these I hold dear to my heart. It was truly a special time, as childhood should be. It would be nice to go back there one day…

3. There’s a lot of the isolated world that I still want to see. Forests down south, savannahs, wastelands, frozen tundra… What concerns me is how much is being destroyed by what we are doing. I just hope that if I ever have kids, there will be some semblance of the world I love to show them. We’re at a crossroads and it can go one of two ways… Let’s hope we come together as a people to work it out. I think there’s a place for art in this task.

3 favourite moments on stage/screen

1. Working on What the Butler Saw at Belvoir Street Theatre as an actor. It was directed by Jim Sharman and starred Max Gillies, a very dear friend. It was probably the pinnacle of my acting career to date, and to be in a dressing room with a living legend like Max was something special. He represents to me the greatness of Australian storytelling. They don’t make them like Max anymore.

2. Working as a teaching artist in Leonora over a year and a half back in 2002–03. I was employed along with several others by Barking Gecko Theatre Company to work closely in an artistic capacity with the youth of the town. It was a pivotal experience where I realised that a successful career was about more than just me; it was also about the people I reached out to along the way. We made a difference through storytelling in all our different ways, and we were gifted with many stories, too. I got more from that opportunity than any other. Part of it was timing; part of it was realising what I wanted to do with my life. The audience, in whatever way they manifest, is always the priority for me.

3. Stories that matter are really important to me. Of course, this will always be subjective, but when I finish a book, or writing something, or watching a film, I feel that whatever it is that I’ve been engaged with should have changed me. Hopefully, that’s what happens when someone engages with my own artistic endeavours.

Sometimes I wonder what I’m doing working in the arts. Then I see pictures of myself like this and I chuckle—it’s so not me. When all’s said and done, my life is just a collage of images and words. And long may it continue.

Sometimes I wonder what I’m doing working in the arts. Then I see pictures of myself like this and I chuckle—it’s so not me. When all’s said and done, my life is just a collage of images and words. And long may it continue.

For more about Michael McCall, see Actors Now and IMDB.


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