A DAY in the life of Letterkenny ceramic artist and painter Christy Keeney will be premiered on eaf.ie on Friday next, July 10.
The short film Christy Keeney – A Space in Time, made by his nephew Charlie Joe Doherty, follows Keeney’s day, as he constructs his ceramic sculptures and contemplates the fundamental meaning for him, of the space he occupies.
A native of the Cathedral town, Keeney studied at Letterkenny Regional Technical College before moving to Limerick School of Art and Design to do his BA and then theRoyal College of Art in London.
After spending 17 years in London he returned home in 2001 where he now lives and works at Doonglebe.
Speaking to the Donegal News this week, Keeney said that he had planned to showcase his latest work at an exhibition in Peterborough before the virus cancelled those plans.
“Between shows and commission pieces I’ve never really had to look for work. It seems to come in without me trying too hard but it pays the bills,” he said.
As a ceramic sculptor working in clay, his pieces are fired in a gas kiln at temperatures of 1160 degrees.
“I would normally have three firings – the first to harden the clay to take colours. I then put the first wash on and fire and then another wash and fire again as it helps build up layers of colour onto the pieces,” he said.
His most recent piece, Guitar Man, demonstrate a wonderful sense of draughtsmanship as details are drawn into the wet clay surface.
“It’s very disciplined. I work every day. It has to be like that.
“Working with clay can be very slow. You have to be patient as the clay dries in its own way and you have to be ready to work with it. If you work too quickly the clay will fall apart if it’s not dry enough,” he explained.
The artists admits that, sometimes, he doesn’t even know what will happen next.
“What comes through the clay I read and take it from there and just go with it. Isurprise myself a lot of times when I come up with stuff that I never thought,” he said.
“I’ve built up a lot of contacts in England and sell a lot of my work over there. I do sell here too but the market is much bigger in England,” he added.
His work means that he spends a lot of time alone but it also allows him the opportunity to reflect on life and family.
“It was difficult to leave London at that time and plant myself back over here but over the years I’ve realised how much I’ve become part of the area. In the garden I planted all the trees and watched them grow. We’re getting older and we see how everything is moving on. Our daughter (Leila) has moved out of the house and is making her own path in life while we just carry on and move through time,” he says.
“I don’t know what to do if I’m not being creative, Most people are in their own world, a space that allows them to drift and play. A lot of play involves being creative. It’s going back to being a child again and trying to get into that space where time doesn’t exist and you are in a zone,” he added.
The short film Christy Keeney – A Space in Time will be premiered on eaf.ie on Friday, 10th July at 1pm as part of Earagail Arts Festival’s Srutháin Programme of online events which runs from 9th to 26th July.