Jar Joe -Sunday.23.04

My muse today is Jar Joe.

I will delicately layer colours upon  the existing portrait, its a slow process. I will use paper, inks, paints, chalk and pencil. The portrait was passed on to me by a dear friend who has given me permission to put my magic stamp onto it.

My work at the moment is a collaboration of images/paintings that have been passed onto me. I really enjoy working from an image that is already there for me, like a story that has already been written and  I am the story teller, re-telling the story. But using my own interpretation, using colour, textures and shape.




Public Made Personal

In 2013 I received a grant from the Welsh Arts Council to pursue my interest in to Arts and Health. I travelled to Manchester and completed a foundation course in Art Therapy organised by the British Association Of Art Therapy.

I learnt a lot from the course and how art can be used in a powerful way that can literally change lives. We heard from a variety of different art therapists each working in different fields; palliative care, young people with eating disorders, drug and alcohol misuse, children and young people and the elderly.  Each art therapist used the medium of art to empower their clients/patients to communicate their feelings and experience of which were to difficult to put into words.

At the time I was running art classes at a Psychiatric Hospital in Swansea on an all secure male ward. My time there was an eye opener to mental health and how people can become easily  institutionalised. Most patients looked lost often stuck in a rut. Missing basic support of community and human interaction. The art classes I ran were very rewarding it brought patients together developing a sense of belonging with a shared experience and interest in art.

With all this experience I gained around art therapy and working with people who suffered mental health issues. My own personal art practice changed from photography to painting. I wanted to fill my paintings with colour and movement. I began buying cheap wall art from superstores. And started painting, my technique unfolded by using a variety of paints, inks, pastel oils and layering over the image already on the canvas. I like to see it has putting the sole back into the picture.

photo 4 (2)

The home is a manifestation of human touch with an investment of time and accumulation of life stories.

Nurtured In Concrete Form 2007-   began with the initial idea of recording my family homes. However as the project developed it took on its own direction; unveiling family secrets,  the onset of mental health illness, religion, immigration, Irish heritage and the impact of historical events upon my family and my very existence; such as the Second World War and Irish Potato Famine.

My grandmother who suffered from Alzheimers at the time took the photographs taken in her home at Lon Olchfa, Sketty Park, in Wales.The photographs my grandmother took were places where she claimed that ghosts visited her every night when she was in bed.

The compositional elements in my images uses doorways and windows as an allergory representing  traces of my deceased relatives and their a passage way in to the next world.The resonance of each image portrays  a collection of lives lived  and living that may still remain through the haunting of the home and atmosphere that remains.

Nurtured In Concrete Form is a record of my family’s past and present history of human existence within the domestic environment. I began by placing myself  in the image, setting the camera on self timer to represent my family member and the stories they told. The garments worn are taken from a family  collection of clothes which were once worn to special occasions and events; weddings, christenings, births etc.

My photograph is about the mystery of reality and its depiction to convey truth. Why I photograph these places of my history is only relative to my family and life but to share the concept of home is relative to every one.

The home is a manifestation of human touch with an investment of time and accumulation of life stories. The space inside a home becomes a place paved with memories and belongings. Each room a trace of human existence. As for the representation of home this is unique to each individual.

All photographs were taken using 35mm or Medium Format black and white Film and processed in the darkroom onto Fibre Based Paper.

Being A Girl 2002 – 2003

Being A Girl was a body of work I produced in the final year of my degree.This piece of work only now makes sense to me, sixteen years later. At the time my art peers and tutors would quiz me on what each image meant, what was my sexuality? or worse they would dismiss it because I had know clear written concept backing my idea. What I could say at the time was my drive and passion to produce images and absorb what photographers and film makers were producing at the time. Cindy Sherman, francesca Woodman, Richard Billingham,  Pulp Fiction, Blue Velvet and American Beautynjsut to name a few. All played there role in my understanding of what it meant to compose and capture your ideas. Now looking back it was definitely a coming of age project. Exploring the power of the female form and identify. Plus the environments that I photographed in the domestic scene with its familiarities and memories embedded in to its walls. The person in my photographs is my youngest sister, she was 14 years old at the time. The following is a written account by her who describes what it felt like to be my model. She had written it five years after the work had been created.


when I was asked to write my thoughts and feelings about how it felt when I was the subject of such a huge project, for some reason the same word keeps reoccurring and that is embarrassment, most people would probably love to have the attention on them and be the one who a photographer was so intrigued by but not me. Looking back I am glad I did it because it was important to help a certain person in my life and also I suppose it contains a lot of memories which I can look back at when ever I choose. Something else I remember vividly was why were the photo’s so dark and sorry to say this but seedy? I remember thinking at that age is this what photography was about or was it just my sisters weird taste? but what I think about it now I cant help but think how amazing and interesting they were, maybe when we mature, I taste changes or is it just me?  When I look back and remember what photo’s were taken and in what situations the one that sticks out the most was lying in the bath, I cant exactly remember what I was wearing or what I was not wearing, but anyway, I remember laying in a bath freezing cold, mascara running down my cheeks and thinking what am I doing? but as different and as ‘seedy’ as the pictures were it was almost refreshing to see just how polar opposite they were from what most people would see as mainstream, they were completely different, out of the ordinary, daring and controversial.

Nicole Murphy  2008

I, in my intricate image – Dylan Thomas


My inspiration at the moment is taken from Dylan Thomas – I, in my intricate image. And was the title for my final year degree show exhibition which was at Brick Lane London in 2003. I have been spending a lot of time at the moment visiting the Dylan Thomas centre, along with my two year old son who loves  listening too his poems.

The images above are my experimentation of his portraiture and a layering of colour, shape and line.


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