Arts Interview Jacob Stack Sept 28

Born in Donegal, I grew up in Letterbarrow, in the countryside.

Born in Donegal, I grew up in Letterbarrow, in the countryside.

It’s very small, with just one church, a pub, and a football pitch nearby. I went first to St. Peters National School, Mountcharles, then the Abbey Vocational School, Donegal town. Galway Technical Institute was the next port of call, to do a Portfolio course, and figure out if I wanted to do Art. I had not done a whole lot of research into colleges before that, but Limerick School of Art and Design (LSAD) had a great reputation, and there were a few friends of mine planning on going there. Limerick is a really creative community with LSAD, a large number of galleries, studios, and a great music scene around the city. That is great inspiration, right there! In Limerick, you get to meet a diverse range of creative people, willing to help out, and bounce ideas off.

Limerick has been a great place for me.

I studied Printmaking, at LSAD, graduating in 2012. Four years just flew by and I just loved the city. Meeting some amazing folk was a huge part of it, these included students, tutors, librarians, and caretakers. Apart from the essays, I did not feel like it was work at all. Getting to draw, and make stuff all of the time, was just perfect, so, drawing and making stuff is what I have tried to keep doing ever since. In college, you get to know the studios, galleries, and the artists around the city. This helps with making the transition from college to work a lot easier. I was in Raggle Taggle Studios for six months, and have recently finished a residency with Occupy Space, working on commissions, personal work, and a couple of exhibitions in both places.

My mother and father were great for encouraging us to do Art.

They used to cover the table in newspaper when we were small, and just let us paint, draw, and make things. I would usually draw on school books as a pleasant distraction from subjects like Maths. Indeed, my homework diary soon turned into a sketchbook. It was not until half-way through secondary school that I chose Art as a subject. Since finishing my residency, however, seeking a studio or gallery has been my main priority.

Today, I work in an illustrative style, and have been working that way since the end of my second year in college.

It is a technique that I feel comfortable working with, and yet have so much fun with it. I, also, like working with everyday materials, like cardboard, timber, and recycled paper. I like the idea that something, that could just so easily have been thrown away, can instead be used to make something else. These materials regularly inform, and influence my work directly. In terms of content, there tends to be a sense of narrative, recurring characters, and an element of humour.

My most recent exhibition, was my first solo show, and came together relatively quickly.

Indeed, the majority of this work was produced during my three week residency at Occupy Space. I did not plan what the governing idea was going to be but I just started making the work, and it grew from there. This is just the way I prefer to work at the moment. I tend to get lost at times and think about things a little too much. This was a similar approach to my previous show, in that I just started making the work, and waited to see what direction it would take. That was a two person show, with Freddie Leyden, so there was an element of collaboration there too.

Drawing is what I love to do.

I could not imagine not drawing, so trying to be an artist makes perfect sense. A lot of people who might like the idea of being an artist, often just write it off as an unfeasible career. Art is something that you should do if you enjoy it, and have a passion for it. I have only been out of college for a year, so I am really just trying to figure it all out for myself. However, if you like making Art and are happiest doing that, then just do it.

There is only a certain amount funding available for artists. Talking to others though, it also sounds quite difficult to get. The best help I have received was from through my residency with Occupy Space, where the space and materials were provided, and a show was accommodated. There was a huge time commitment, given voluntarily, by Noelle Collins and Orlaith Treacy, in order to get the show together. That was amazing of them, and a big thanks to them, for doing it.

My inspiration comes from everyday life.

A simple rip on a piece of cardboard, might look like a wave, and I might draw a surfer on it. I like to find humour in things, so illustration lends itself, perfectly, to that. It can be the simplest drawing, used to get an idea across. I do not think that far ahead, but when a show finishes, I like to make further work, and take it from there. I do not get too concerned about inventing a new theme, or a concept. I just hope that, whatever shows there will be, in future, that they make a few people laugh. After the last show, someone said, that they were in a better mood having seen it, than they were beforehand. If I can figure out a show that can have that sort of effect again, then, I would be delighted with that!

To learn more about the work of Jacob Stack please see the websites: and

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