Words: Ciarán Howley
Image: Jan Walsh
Town’s not dead yet.
For some of history’s finest writers, artists, photographers and more, look no further than the Emerald Isles. For decades, Irish people have been finding ways to connect through culture and creativity, throughout highs and lows in the nation’s history.
And while it’s often said that living in Ireland can often feel like a one-sided relationship. At a time when its cities are being remodeled into unlivable hotel dustbowls, the country and its culture are fighting for survival. Creatives attempting to make a living in Ireland regularly face precarity, and emigration feels like the only way forward.
As troubling as the situation is, it’s important to acknowledge it if there is to be any effort to fix it. That’s exactly what the next generation of Irish creatives are doing. Through their work as artists, these creatives are stoking the flames of Irish culture with a newfound emphasis on inclusivity, equality and creating a better future for young Irish people.
Without further ado, here are some emerging Irish creatives to get excited about.
Choy Creates (Seán Choy O’Byrne) is a multimedia artist based in Dublin using street art as a form of protest. Street art holds an integral place in the Dublin cityscape of Dublin, with artists like Maser, Fink and Subset giving new life to disused buildings by using them as canvases.
However Dublin City Council, in their infinite wisdom, have ordered the removal of numerous works, continuing their crusade against Dublin having a creative soul. O’Byrne uses their bold graphic visual style to protest Dublin’s lack of public spaces.
‘Point to Ponder’ reads, “Being happy in public areas is prohibited…Destruction of art and culture.”
Choy’s Instagram is a literal gallery of work with slogans, banners and visual messaging commenting on the cost of living crisis in Ireland.
Hailing from Belfast, Ghouls on Film are a “feminist film club for Scream Queens of all genders.” The film club examine iconic horror movies like Carrie or cult favourite The Love Witch through a queer and feminist lens.
The group host regular screenings and talks from authors, screenwriters and other notable horror peeps.
2022 marks a new venture for the club, launching the first issue of the ‘Ghouls on Film Zine.’ The new zine seeks to elevate the creative works of women and non-binary folk and offers new angles on an often conservative genre and male-dominated genre.
Issue 1 features a re-examination of Brian De Palma’s Carrie, an interview with local drag queen King Phisher, original art and more. For Irish fans of the horror genre, look no further than a dynamic new mag, exclusively for the ghouls and the gays.
Joe Fahy wants to make art fun again. Fahy is a multidisciplinary artist making a name for himself creating art with an emphasis on humour and sustainability.
2022 saw the designer take their work outside Ireland for the project Kitty Cam. The project saw Fahy photographing unusual scenes in New York city on a kids’ toy camera.
Fahy took home trophies from the Institute of Designers in Ireland Awards two years running, and has held artist residencies at the former Science Gallery in Trinity College and the Regional Cultural Center.
Part of a new wave of young artists navigating digital and physical spaces, Fahy is tearing up traditional conventions in the art world through his sincere and playful work.
Split Milk is a collaboration with Emma Ralph, deconstructing everything from the female gaze, cultural identity and even dancing alone in a crowd.
Bia is an upcoming food magazine created with the aim to “celebrate food through the words and images of migrant and diasporic communities.”
The brainchild of editor Victory, from County Louth, the magazine is currently taking submissions for stories, art and photographs that explore food in some way, with an emphasis on Black cultural identity. Victory is set to bring some much-needed new perspectives to food journalism in Ireland.
Conor Diggin is a photographer and videographer creating images fit for the pages of Dazed & Confused or I-D. Diggin’s neon-drenched portraits of young Dublin and its nightlife are haunting, otherworldly and incredibly poignant.
Diggin began directing videos for Dublin rock band Bullet Train, before directing the documentary short ‘Poetry in Motion’ about Dublin’s surging housing crisis.
In 2022, Diggin provided snaps for hip-hop artist Nonzus Magnus, producer XXX in Stereo and for creative collective Grupa. Diggin is an up and coming talent in Irish photography who we think we’ll definitely be seeing more of.
Check out their incredible portfolio below.
Ben Harte is an artist, stylist and creative director of Thrust Collective. Thrust are known for their clever direction referencing Irish pop culture, queer visual sensibilities and brilliantly themed bashes – “The Boom is Back”, “Braywatch”, etc.
What marks Thrust as a standout in Dublin’s nightlife scene, aside from one of the few independents, is the incredible editorial-worthy shoots, directed by Harte. From the styling and photography to the campy, Gen-Z sense of humour, Thrust are elevating Dublin nightlife with an artful touch.
Harte has built up for an impressive resumé, styling for Greg Tisdall’s new single artwork for ‘Goodbye’, a photoshoot for GCN and an appearance in cult Berlin magazine Kaltblut!
Founded by Kerry Mahony (kerrywho) and Emma Murphy (Rhyzine), Honeypot are an Irish collective providing safe clubbing spaces for “the girls, the gays, queer people and everyone in between.”
The first night had its launch earlier this summer, entitled Honeypot 001: Spread Your Wings with headliners DJs Mercorn and Rhyzine. Honeypot are dedicated to inclusivity, and not exclusivity, an ethos it maintains firmly.
“We’re not here to question your identity or check gay cards at the door (but bonus points if you have one.) We operate on an ethos of inclusivity, so if you’re sound, support us and down to party, you’re welcome to party with us.”
The group have teased on Instagram that they’re cooking up plans for Honeypot 002, for anyone who missed the first night.
Honeypot are a breath of fresh air in Ireland’s creative scene, answering the much-needed call for a progressive nightlife in Ireland.