For the first in our Spring / Summer 2019 lecture series, we were delighted to welcome James Earley to talk about his work creating the iconic exterior wall art on Bloom’s Hotel in Temple Bar, Dublin. The project took one year to complete and is the largest public artwork in Ireland to date.
James Earley’s distinctive style celebrates and pays homage to his family’s rich artistic past within Irish stained glass art. Earley has been producing artworks in public spaces since 1997. He began painting letter-based graffiti and played an active role in the Irish graffiti movement. From 2010, he started to develop abstracted figurative works with an aesthetic rooted in stained glass. He has traveled extensively with his art throughout Europe, the States, Asia and has worked on a variety of large scale projects with a mixture of arts-based organisations as well as multi-nationals that support the arts.
In his fascinating talk, James Earley gave a short overview of his family’s lengthy tradition of stained-glass art and where it can still be found in Dublin. He then moved on to tell us how the Bloom’s Hotel project came about by meeting the hotel’s owner on the streets of Temple Bar while James was working on a different street art project. It was James who proposed the Ulysses theme. The process involved style and colour decisions and meticulous research of James Joyce’s text and characters. James decided on a nouveau art style inspired by artist Alphonse Mucha as it represents the period during which James Joyce wrote Ulysses. Earley entertained the audience with anecdotes of what he glimpsed through the hotel windows and the challenges he faced while spray-painting the facade. It was especially interesting to see that Earley’s research approach resembled Joyce’s in his extensive attention to detail.