Irish Art: Questions and Answers with Contemporary Artist James Earley

Irish Contemporary Artist – James Earley

James Earley is an internationally renowned Contemporary Artist, mostly known for his large-scale street art creations, and if you live or have visited Dublin you’re most likely a fan, even if you didn’t realise it – because he is the man behind Ireland’s largest piece of public art to date, the full building hand-painted mural of Dublin’s Bloom Hotel.

Irish Art, Questions and Answers with Contemporary Artist James Earley - Blooms Hotel Dublin 2014

James Earley’s 2014 hand-painted mural of Blooms Hotel, Dublin

And on that note did you know that in 1903 James’s ancestors Earley & Company of Camden Street in Dublin created and installed the stained glass window in St. Kevin’s Church, on Harrington Street? – and that this same window remains the largest of its kind in Ireland today!

James has travelled the world with his art and his work sits in private collections in Ireland, the UK, Europe and the U.S., as well as the Irish Embassy in Paris.

But if you keep your eyes open to the beauty of the street art and graffiti that frame and brighten the streets of Dublin and beyond, you might be lucky enough to photograph a James Earley piece for your own private collection.

Been a while since I painted one of these! Really enjoyed it. Good motley crew out on the day @phats_mso @mynemso @achesdub and @rasktdaklann #jamesearley #scie #sciemso #bernardshaw #graffiti #dublingraffiti #rapsprays

A post shared by James Earley (@james_earley) on

On home soil James has created commissioned works of art for the likes of the Junction Arts Festival in Tipperary, Waterford Walls, Metropolis Festival Dublin and Culture Night Belfast.

He has worked with international brands such as Facebook and with Jameson; where he designed a limited edition bottle, as well as with internationally home-grown brands such  An Post; where he featured in their 2017 Urban Street Art Collection and Izzy Wheels; where he designed a wheel cover for their Spring 2018 Collection.

Irish Art, Questions and Answers with Contemporary Artist James Earley - An Post Urban Street Art Celebration Stamps
An Post Urban Street Art Celebration Stamps featuring James Earley

James has featured in numerous group shows over the years, from the NCAD Gallery Dublin to Christie’s Auction House in London, however his next exhibition ‘Things Fall Apart which launches this Thursday May 24th and then is open from Friday May 25th to Sunday June 3rd at Dollard House, 5 Wellington Quay in Dublin 2, will be his first solo exhibition – an amazingly exciting time for the Artist but also for Irish Art. Returning to his ancestral roots of stained glass but bringing his own unique creativeness and modern materials James’s exhibition will show the results of his creative process, which grows from pen sketches to computerised fine tuning – to machining and hand crafting. As a James Earley fan I’m really looking forward to seeing it!

Q&A’s with Irish Contemporary Artist James Earley

Irish Art, Questions and Answers with Contemporary Artist James Earley - Artist Portrait

1. What was your inspiration to be come an Artist?

My father and my father’s parents were my initial inspiration to become an artist. Art was always encouraged in our house and to work within a creative field and live a life as an artist was never seen as any less valid a profession in comparison to others. To do and work at what you love was always hammered into me from day dot and to live my life as an artist has been my goal since I was 12 years old, I never thought I’d be anything else.

2. How did you officially become an Artist?

I started painting graffiti and involving myself with other like-minded artists when I was 15/16, I feel this is when it all really clicked for me. Painting and creating for the love of it and experiencing that with others is a very special experience in self exploration, creating life long bonds and feeling a sense of purpose.

Outside of that, I studied in the National College of Art and Design for 4 years and got a BA Hons in visual communication. The combination of structure, attention to detail, strong emphasis on concepts within graphic design coupled with the free, expressive nature and strong community within graffiti has helped me get to where I am today.
Irish Art, Questions and Answers with Contemporary Artist James Earley - Things Fall Apart - LASERED BLACK
James Earley – Things Fall Apart – LASERED BLACK

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

I seek creative inspiration from lots of different sources, Instagram, art exhibitions, art blogs, podcasts, architecture within the city, people… there are so many different things that inspire me. I have a very open mind and love to constantly learn. I think that the minute you think you know it all or close your mind to other people and ideas is when you’ll become stale and lose touch with yourself and others.
Irish Art, Questions and Answers with Contemporary Artist James Earley - Things Fall Apart - TERESAS DONORE
James Earley – Things Fall Apart – TERESA’S, DONORE

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

Haha, hard to say. I used to practice graphic design, I nearly designed a sex toy brand and another one was a weed company in California! Within the realm of fine art, its been fairly straight forward. Although, when the owner of Blooms Hotel asked me to consider painting the entirety of the exterior of his hotel I nearly choked to be honest. It took me a while to come back to him about that. There were so many working parts to that project -three months planning it, nine months painting it. It nearly broke me.

Irish Art, Questions and Answers with Contemporary Artist James Earley - Things Fall Apart, STAINED RED

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

The dream would be a few art galleries and museums in New York. As well as that, I’d love to be given a chapel similar to Mark Rothko’s Chapel in Texas or Henri Matisse’s Chapelle du Rosaire de Vence to create in the future. I think every artist wants to be remembered for a few key works, a project of this nature would certainly be one of those! One can always dream.
Irish Art, Questions and Answers with Contemporary Artist James Earley - Things Fall Apart, LASERED YELLOW
6. What are you working on now? Any exhibitions coming up?
I’m currently putting the last touches on my first solo show. A culmination of eight months work, I’m really proud and excited about showing everyone this new body of work. I’ve put my all into this and feel I’ve achieved everything I set out to accomplish. Hopefully people will connect with the pieces and feel the love, passion and consideration I’ve given to this selection of works.

All artwork images and portraits featured are courtesy of James Earley.


For more of James’s works of art, to purchase, enquire about commissioning a piece, or for exhibition news – visit – you’ll also find him on  Twitter | Instagram


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