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The Visual Artists of Irish Music #4: Peggie McKeon

The Visual Artists of Irish Music #4: Peggie McKeon

Padraig Fleming

The Visual Artists of Irish Music series In Association with regular. Visual Art, talks to the Irish creatives behind the music, who make the artwork, the visuals, the videos and more.

“The sense of immortalising people, memories and moments through something tangible and permanent like an album or an artwork is something which resonates throughout my practice”

Peggie McKeon is a visual artist based in Dublin. She has a degree in Fine Art Print from NCAD, and has collaborated with recording artists such as Ev Carm, Brian Dillon of The Line and Meltybrains?, J Smith, qwasi, and banríon, as well as Bad Soup Records, and andfriends Records.

You created the artwork for Ev Carm’s album, Awake. What was the creative process behind that?

When I’m making artwork for someone I listen to their album/single on repeat for a number of weeks and I try to understand their creative process and influences. I then build my own relationship and interpretation of the narrative and then respond by painting and drawing until I find something which fits, then it’s all chopped down and edited on Photoshop. 

For Ev’s album we spent a lot of time together chatting about his work. We were spending a lot of time in my parents house around the time I was making the album artwork and hanging out, chatting and swimming in the river by our house contributed a lot to how I responded to the album. Ev worked closely with me in the making of it and I am very grateful to have had his input on the final piece.

[Cover of Ev Carm’s ‘Awake’ by Peggie]

What is a brilliant Irish album artwork you admire?

Girl Band’s  ‘The Talkies’ by Damien Tran, Gareth Quinn Redmond’s ‘Laistigh den Ghleo’ by Barry Lee Gibbons, and The Pogues’ ‘Rum Sodomy & The Lash.’

A lot of your work deals with the theme of “preserving the past before much of it is erased by time.” What techniques do you use to achieve this?

I use repetition in a lot of my work to lament the passing of time which acts as a capsule of sorts and tries to preserve the memory of people, spaces and moments. By carrying out banal and everyday tasks, looking at handwriting and evocative and personal objects I try to achieve this.

Which Irish Recording Artist would you like to collaborate with that you haven’t before now?

Aoife Nessa Frances, Maria Somerville, Radie Peat and Lisa O’Neill.

What tool within your creative process could you not live without?

My notebooks.

Which Irish Visual Artist deserves more credit for their work than they currently get?

All of these wonderful women:

Anna Heisterkamp’s film and music videos

Brenda Kearney’s ceramics

Cáit Fahy’s photography

Cara Farnhan’s drawings

Cara Donaghey’s prints

Elysia Tuohy’s waxy sculptures and digital works

Isadora Epstein’s performances and drawings

Jen Moore’s sound installations and performances

Julie Weber’s sculptures and performances

See Also
Gurriers. Photo: Grayce Leonard.

Kate O’Loughlin’s prints

Roisìn McGannon’s  performances, installations and prints

Apart from other visual artists, what sources do you take your creative cues from?

Music plays a large part in my creative process. Sitting, thinking, chatting to family members and listening to stories, looking at people’s faces and hands, their objects, handwriting, photographs, notes and personal spaces.

What piece of your own work are you most proud of?

I’m most proud of the artwork I made for Ev Carm’s album and the single Looking for You. I had been listening to the album for some time and following a profound loss, it shifted how I responded and listened to it. Making the pieces became extremely cathartic and meditative and I feel the results correlated mine and Ev’s practices and complimented the overall album. I’m very proud to see my work close at hand with Ev’s music, I have a very strong connection with the album and it is one of my all-time favourites.

[Cover of Ev Carm’s Looking For You by Peggie]

What is something creative you see yourself doing in the future that you haven’t tried before now?

There are a few things but a definite would be that I would love to facilitate art workshops and collaborate on creative projects with adults with intellectual disabilities.

Which Irish band or artist are you listening to the most right now?

I’m listening to For Those I Love’s self-titled album quite a lot recently. I first listened to David Balfe when he performed on Jools Holland last year. The sense of immortalising people, memories and moments through something tangible and permanent like an album or an artwork is something which resonates throughout my practice and I’m moved every time I listen to Balfe’s music.  

What’s the best way for people to reach you?

Instagram: peggiemckeon  

Email: peggie.mckeon @ gmail dot com

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