Contemporary Irish Abstract and Landscape Artist Martina Furlong

In 2013, having spent 16 years in London, Martina moved back to Ireland with her Derry born partner and newborn daughter. In 2015 they moved to Martina’s home county of Wexford. And it’s here in the countryside you’ll find Martina, her family, and her art studio.

The Life of Stuff Irish Art - Questions and Answers with Artist Martina Furlong - Internal World 3 - mixed media on paper (H30xW30cm) by Martina Furlong
Internal World 3 – mixed media on paper

If you ask Martina to describe her art she’ll tell you that ‘she paints textured abstracts and landscapes in oil, acrylic and mixed media.’ And when you see it, you’ll appreciate ‘her love of colour, shape, line and movement’.

We all have a voice inside us that wants to be unlocked.’

Marina Furlong

For Martina, painting is a way to unlock that voice and ‘share the beautiful strangeness that comes from her internal world.’ She describes her method of painting as painting ‘from the inside out.’

The Life of Stuff Irish Art - Questions and Answers with Artist Martina Furlong - All The Fragments Assembled (Internal World 18) - oil on canvas (H30xW30cm) by Martina Furlong
All The Fragments Assembled (Internal World 18) – oil on canvas

And when Martina isn’t painting, often until three in the morning, you’ll find her spending time with her family. She loves listening to music, reading, walking and meditating. ‘I had an interest in meditation for many years. But decided to dedicate more time to it last year. And just recently I completed a year long course in Embodied Mindfulness. Anything I do outside of painting does eventually end up weaving it’s way into my work in some way.’

The Life of Stuff Irish Art - Questions and Answers with Artist Martina Furlong - Internal World 7 - oil on canvas (H60xW50cm) £600 by Martina Furlong
Internal World 7 – oil on canvas

Martina also has a range of mixed media constructions, limited edition prints and hand painted jewellery. All her work can be viewed on her website martinafurlong.com. You can also connect with Martina on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

But for now, I’m delighted to have the opportunity to feature Martina in our Irish Artist Series. We adore her work her at The Life of Stuff HQ.

Irish Art - Questions and Answers with Artist Martina Furlong - Portrait

Q&A’s with Irish Artist Martina Furlong

1. What was your inspiration to become an Artist?

As far back as I can remember I had a desire to draw and paint even though I knew nothing about art. I enjoyed it far more than any other childhood activity and always felt that art was the only thing I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

The Life of Stuff Irish Art - Questions and Answers with Artist Martina Furlong - Landscape With Black, Pink And Blue - oil on canvas (H76xW101cm)
Landscape With Black, Pink And Blue – oil on canvas

2. How did you officially become an artist?

After my leaving cert I went to Scoil Stiofáin Naofa in Cork to do a portfolio course and then went to Limerick School of Art and Design to do a degree in fine art painting. Looking back I feel that starting the portfolio course and working on my art full time is when I officially became an artist.

The Life of Stuff Irish Art - Questions and Answers with Artist Martina Furlong - The Present Moment In Pink And Grey - oil on canvas (H76xW101cm)
The Present Moment In Pink And Grey – oil on canvas

3. Where do you take creative inspiration from for your work?

My greatest source of inspiration at the moment is the Irish landscape but I also take inspiration from books, songs, buildings, my mediation practise and people I meet. Seeing the work of other artists I admire always inspires me and encourages me to try new things.

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4. What’s the wackiest request you’ve had to date for commission work?

Some years ago I was asked to paint a vast landscape of the view from someone’s back garden on a piece of wood measuring 2.5cm diameter so it could be worn as a necklace. My most interesting and enjoyable commission to date was creating a 12x8ft painting for the PoPA wall at Electric Picnic in 2019.

The Life of Stuff Irish Art - Questions and Answers with Artist Martina Furlong - Ancient Earth (Internal World 14) - oil on wood (H50xW50cm)
Ancient Earth (Internal World 14) – oil on wood

5. Where would you love to exhibit your work – the dream?

I would be delighted to have my work shown in some of the well established galleries in Ireland and worldwide to bring my work to a wider audience. However, if we are talking dreams I would love to exhibit in yearly Pop Up Galleries with other artists to run alongside festivals and events in Ireland and around the world. The white cube gallery space is not for everyone. But art is which is why Pop Up Gallery spaces work so well.

The Life of Stuff Irish Art - Questions and Answers with Artist Martina Furlong - Heritage Series #8 by Martina Furlong - oil on canvas (H70xW90cm)
Heritage Series #8 – oil on canvas

6. What are you working on now? Any exhibitions coming up?

I am working on my Internal World Series of paintings which I started in 2019. This series is my response to research into spiritual hunger, looking internally and connecting to nature. I am also taking inspiration from the writings of John O’Donohue, especially his book Anam Cara.

Alongside this I am working on a series of mixed media constructions, using recycled materials. And making a new range of wearable art in the form of pendants and brooches.

If, by some miracle the Wexford Opera Festival goes ahead this year, from 20th October to 1st then I will exhibit a selection of my new work in the Fringe Festival which runs alongside it.

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The Life of Stuff - Irish Art - Questions and Answers with Artist Martina Furlong

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Edwina O'Connor
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