“There are many issues facing Dublin and Ireland that we feel strongly about, but the current housing crisis plaguing our country was something that stood out. We unanimously wanted to have our say and help out in some way, and forming the collective has allowed us to do so.”
Epoch Dublin is a newly formed collective of visual artists. Their debut exhibition is entitled Riso City and is looking to raise funds for Inner City Helping Homeless (ICHH), it’s “a visual response to Dublin’s housing crisis”.
Ahead of the launch on November 29 in Lucky’s we caught up with the crew for a quickfire chat.
There are five founding members of Epoch. How did you all come together?
We actually came together through the power of social media. None of the artists really knew each other before the group formed. We had been admiring and following each other’s work on Instagram and Robyn thought it would be interesting to organise a meet-up. It was from From the first meeting we decided to form an artist collective.
You mention, “In founding the group, I wanted to create a strong female artist voice/platform to respond to a range of social issues”. Was there a particulate catalyst that moved you to create Epoch?
We felt there was a lack of representation of female artists in the Dublin art scene. Establishing a platform to showcase and curate female-made art was our main goal in founding the collective. We feel it’s important to have a female group producing work and contributing to Dublin visual culture, and the city itself.
There are many issues facing Dublin and Ireland that we feel strongly about, but the current housing crisis plaguing our country was something that stood out. We unanimously wanted to have our say and help out in some way, and forming the collective has allowed us to do so.
Can you give me a little breakdown of the artists involved and what they bring to the table?
Robyn Carey (Ireland) is a print maker, Claire Prouvost (France) is an illustrator and graphic designer, Sophia Vigne (Ireland) is a painter, Rachel Clarke (Ireland) is a painter and graphic designer and Lauren Smyth (USA) is an illustrator and graphic designer.
Every epoch Dublin member has their own distinct style and process and there is a mixture of abstract and figurative art being created by the group. Each artist is incredibly hardworking and constantly experimenting and producing to keep their work fresh and distinct. The group is dynamic in that we all come from different cities, so every one of us has their own cultural flair as well as art education and practices to bring to the table.
You’re focusing your attention on feminism, mental health, climate change, but for Riso City it’s homelessness that your confronting. What moved you to go in this direction for Epoch’s first outing?
We wanted our first show to reflect whats going on in the city we live in. The housing crisis Ireland is undoubtedly experiencing is out of control in Dublin, and its everywhere you look. It’s something we all related to, as if affects everyone, from all backgrounds and areas of the city. There are so many different elements that comprise the complex housing problem Dublin is entangled in (rising rent, TD landlords, increasing homelessness, over crowding, vacant dwellings and the lack of social housing being built in recent years) we wanted to explore all of these and use our creativity to visually reflect the current state of the crisis, and in doing thy raise money for the worst affected.
Who are the artists involved and were they given much direction in terms of the theme?
Each of the five artists mentioned above is exhibiting two limited edition risograph prints at the show. Our theme of the show was in fact the housing crisis, various harrowing statistics formed the inspiration for our prints. The only direction was to interpret that in whatever way we wanted.
By keeping the medium and theme uniform, it has allowed each artist’s style to stand out. The challenge, and indeed the core idea of the show was to turn some of those saddening truths into something beautiful that people would want to own, so we could donate sales to charity. The limited edition prints were created especially for this event, and sales will only go to ICHH which makes them unique.
Lucky’s, Teeling, DJs, there’s support from various parts of Dublin culture coming together for this. Was it easy to garner support from the wider creative community?
It’s an incredibly nice feeling, bringing those various parts of Dublin together for an event with a difference. We feel Dublin is amazing as it is a small city, and there is such a strong network of hardworking, enthusiastic creatives that want to be involved with interesting projects. Also, Riso City is for such a good cause too so it definitely was easy to gain support from our fellow Dublin residents.
You also mention Riso City is just the beginning. What else have you got planned?
Exciting times lie ahead in 2019 for us at Epoch Dublin. We will definitely be curating more exhibitions in, responding to different themes, along with some more interactive work, and collaborations.
Riso City launches in Lucky’s, Meath Street on November 29. Click here for more.