Chatting with Three of the Leading Lights in Contemporary Celtic Art

The following is a transcript taken from the LIVE Community Chat chat hosted here at TheWildGeese.com on Monday, November 15, 2013 with three of the "leading lights" in contemporary Celtic Art and fellow Wild Geese members, Jim Fitzpatrick, Hamish Burgess, and Courtney Davis.  Some editing has been applied for clarity.  

The Wild Geese:  Céad míle fáilte, a chairde! So glad to see each one of you who have stopped by for this evening’s LIVE community chat with Jim Fitzpatrick, Courtney Davis and Hamish Burgess. Our focus this evening is on Celtic Art.  My name is Belinda Evangelista, and I’ll be the moderator for this evening’s chat.  We’ll now turn it over for the next 30-40 minutes to them. Welcome, Jim, Courtney and Hamish!

Hamish Douglas Burgess:  Aloha from Maui!

Courtney Davis:  Hi, Belinda and everyone.  Hi, Hamish.

Belinda Evangelista:  Were any of you inspired by ancient works such as The Book of Kells?

Gerry Regan:  Hi Courtney, Hamish! What a pleasure to have a chance to 'talk' to you about your work!

Courtney Davis:  Thanks, Gerry.

Belinda Evangelista:  Hi, Hamish and Courtney.

Hamish Douglas Burgess:  Aloha Gerry and Belinda. We ʻmeetʻ again Courtney - although in Celtic cyber land.

Courtney Davis:  I guess I was inspired by George Bain.  The rest followed.

Hamish Douglas Burgess:  I was inspired by Book of Kells, Lindisfarne and others, and George Bain, Courtney Davis, Jim Fitzpatrick and Aidan Meehan.

Gerry Regan:  Is there a fascination with Celtic history that comes with this artistic exploration, fellows?

Courtney Davis:  Hamish printed my t-shirts many moons ago when we lived in Cornwall, so go back a long way.

Belinda Evangelista:  All the 'greats' you included Hamish.

Hamish Douglas Burgess:  Honoured to be in their company - pored over their books in my youth. Yes, many moons ago in Cornwall, Courtney.  Yes Gerry - always been fascinated with the history and mythology of my ancestral and previous homelands.

Courtney Davis:  I used to live on the corner of the British Museum though never ventured into the manuscripts part and only saw my first Gospel books when I exhibited ther years later

Belinda Evangelista:  Was the art hard to master or did you find it was a natural gift?

Courtney Davis:  I think that if I had seen the intricacy of the work I wouldn’t have created my own.  The original pieces I started in 1974 were difficult and very slow.  It wasn’t until Merlin struck that the pictures took off and were created quickly.

Hamish Douglas Burgess:  Some come easy, and some I find very hard to even start … when started, though, they seem to flow. Studying the mythology and history helps me create.

Belinda Evangelista:  So it was as if you were inspired, Courtney?

Gerry Regan:  Courtney, here's a collection of your work gathered for a profile, in case members haven't seen examples yet: http://www.celtic-connection.com/features/feat2010_06_09.html

Courtney Davis:  I am the opposite and keep as clear as I can, and let the inspiration flow.  Somebody asked me to create a painting of Merlin for a friend who Merlin was in contact with.

Alannah Ryane:  Any of you have comments on the Tara Brooch and the Ardagh Chalice being part of the Arthur/Grail stories?

Courtney Davis:  The only idea he could give me was to look at the plough at night and ask for his guidance.

Gerry Regan:  Here are some pictures of Hamish's work assembled by Google Images: http://ning.it/1gUJhrU

Hamish Douglas Burgess:  Thanks Gerry - Belinda asked me to put a link up to my work - the best one is http://mauiceltic.com/gallery.htm

Courtney Davis:  A shooting star went through the plough and when i returned to the drawing board blue lights began to appear.

Hamish Douglas Burgess:  Not so epic for me.  I do get the odd sign that Iʻm on the right track though …

Belinda Evangelista:  Sounds like a wonderful experience, Courtney.

Gerry Regan:  Fascinating, Courtney, Hamish! Can one do this work without belief in the, mmm, intangible!

Courtney Davis:  He’s a hard taskmaster and worked 18-hour days.

Jim Fitzpatrick:  I'm here … what’s happening, Belinda?

Courtney Davis:  Hi, Jim.

Belinda Evangelista:  Welcome Jim. Join in!

Gerry Regan:  Jim, failte!

Hamish Douglas Burgess:  Aloha Jim!

Belinda Evangelista:  Are there names for the different types of knot work patterns?

Jim Fitzpatrick:  Hey Hamish, Courtney.

Gerry Regan:  Hey, Jim, Courtney, can you throw in URLs to showcase your work. Some members may not have yet experienced your artistry yet, at least not knowingly.  This might even better inform the conversation here! :-)

Belinda Evangelista:  You can explore their sites at these Links http://www.jimfitzpatrick.com/myhome/welcome-to-the-art-of-jim-fitz... http://www.courtneydavisart.com/ http://www.mauiceltic.com/the-artist.htm

Jim Fitzpatrick:  Hey Hamish howz the surfin? Bit bleak here and cold.

Hamish Douglas Burgess:  Huge surf this last week, warm but rainy!

Jim Fitzpatrick:  Where are you, Courtney?

Courtney Davis:  I live in Union Hall in Cork, but in sunny Somerset just now.

Jim Fitzpatrick:  Didn't know u were in Ireland.  Get up to Howth for a coffee, I'll but :)

Hamish Douglas Burgess:  Thanks Belinda - better link me my art is http://mauiceltic.com/gallery.htm

Courtney Davis:  You will have to come to my book signing on the winter solstice at the Hill of Tara.  Would be great to meet you finally.

Jim Fitzpatrick:  Hamish, Love the Celtic dragon pickup truck.  Will do, Courtney.

Belinda Evangelista:  Tell us about your work with Irish Rovers, Hamish. Love the truck, too.

Hamish Douglas Burgess:  Thanks Jim - sounds chilly, Courtney.

Courtney Davis:  Living in Ayurt.  Very chilly.

Gerry Regan:  Hey, Jim, when creating this poster of Kevin Barry -- what kind of research do you undertake? Photos, letters. http://www.jimfitzpatrick.com/wp-content/gallery/ewlcome-nationalis...

This image is a bit underwhelming in size, but quite striking all the same. Barry is such an iconic figure, as is Che, BTW.

Jim Fitzpatrick:  That was for the Republican Clubs, an anti-Provo org. I had a photo and took it from there.

Gerry Regan:  Did you ever find yourself humming the song as you drew, or even pondering Barry's fateful last months?

Jim Fitzpatrick:  I admire and I hope am a friend now of Gerry Adams but I hated the sectarian war

Hamish Douglas Burgess:  Belinda - George Millar from Irish Rovers became a friend after an interview for my weekly Maui Celtic Radio Show on Manaʻo radio, and saw my work, and asked me to do a CD cover … now I seem to do a lot of their work … great band - very tight musicians after 50 years! Two of the original members.

Belinda Evangelista:  Can you put a link to the Truck Hamish?

Gerry Regan:  The band's publicist or marketer just joined WG today, BTW. Hey, do you guys draw in silence or do you find music or talk radio helpful or even chat? Do you draw in solitude? Or in the case of Hamish, co you draw listening to The Irish Rovers?

Jim Fitzpatrick:  I love that song but my own favourite is 'The Wild Colonial Boy' written about Jack Duggan a relative from way back on my mother’s side.

Gerry Regan:  ;-)

Hamish Douglas Burgess:  Dragon truck - https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=551725174902135&set=a.2...

Belinda Evangelista:  Cool Hamish. I want.

Jim Fitzpatrick:  The Wild Rovers - same as the old band of the name, Hamish?

Hamish Douglas Burgess:  I always play Celtic music while I work - normally to review CDs for my radio show.  The Irish Rovers - same band since 1963!

Gerry Regan:  Hamish, can we get you to review albums for us?

Hamish Douglas Burgess:  Sure.  If folks send me hard copies … donʻt have much time for downloads.

Jennifer Fahrni:  Here's the Irish Rovers website http://theirishroversmusic.com/page/index

Jim Fitzpatrick:  Play Mike Scott over there Hamish, a real genius. Just performed a play in the Abbey he wrote about Yeats.

Belinda Evangelista:  Thanks, Jennifer

Gerry Regan:  I'll bring them to you, if you can put me up. J

Hamish Douglas Burgess:  Played him for years - brilliant!

Jim Fitzpatrick:  Check out 'Whole of the World'. Amazing song.  Great, you are a man of great taste :)

Belinda Evangelista:  Courtney, tell us about your books.

Hamish Douglas Burgess:  Mike Scottʻs version of ʻRaggle Taggle Gypsyʻ with Galician piper Carlos Nunez and Irish piper Paddy Keenan is amazing.

Jim Fitzpatrick:  Love it!

Courtney Davis:  I have an Irish publisher now who is going to republish many of my old books.  I also have four new ones I am working on just now. All at different stages.

Hamish Douglas Burgess:  Been collecting both of your old works recently, gents - a big fan …

Jennifer Fahrni:  Hamish's show tomorrow at 8 a.m. Hawaii time - it can be heard worldwide on the internet. Get info on the FB page https://www.facebook.com/pages/Maui-Celtic-Radio-Show-Manao-Radio/2... 

Belinda Evangelista:  Can you give us some teasers about them, Courtney?

Jim Fitzpatrick:  Cool. Have to listen. Courtney, who is publishing?

Courtney Davis:  I have been fascinated by the Irish holy wells and combining photos and artwork of stories attributed to the wells.

Jim Fitzpatrick:  Love to get hold of 'em.

Courtney Davis:  Have two on the spiritual work I do, and another on Irish myths.

Jennifer Fahrni:  Hamish's next art piece for the Rovers is based on Book of Kells - but all intricacies are from Irish Rovers 50 year history.

Jim Fitzpatrick:  With the paedophilia stuff turning everyone off here, there has been a huge resurgence of old beliefs.

Belinda Evangelista:  Have you read Gary Brannigan's book 'Ancient wells of Dublin,' Courtney?

Jim Fitzpatrick:  No, sounds interesting..

Courtney Davis:  No, not yet, but will check them out.  Thanks.

Gerry Regan:  Hey gang … What about the Celts versus the Anglo-Saxon attitudinal divide? Much seems to be made of it, as informing the parallel but divergent nations occupying the British Isle (and Ireland). The Celts did the fighting, while the Anglo-Saxons were counting the exchequer. Fair play?

Belinda Evangelista:  Your books will definitely be on my reading list, Courtney.

Courtney Davis:  Thanks, Belinda.  At 67, I seem to be on a new wave of inspiration.

Gerry Regan:  If you put credence into it, or not, one would have to agree the nations' artistic sensibilities are different, no?

Jim Fitzpatrick:  There is a massive Celtic Revival in the UK too, Gerry.  Europe, too. Interesting times we live in.

Belinda Evangelista:  You are right about that, Jim

Jim Fitzpatrick:  Anyone know Aiden Meehan? I corresponded with him last year but not heard since. A real genius.

Jennifer Fahrni:  Aidan is living in Vancouver.

Hamish Douglas Burgess:  Much as my focus is on Celtic art, I also like the ancient Anglo-Saxon works, and some of the Viking work too … too complicated to get into the politics.

Courtney Davis:  Hi, Jim. Do you hear from Rudi?

Hamish Douglas Burgess:  I regularly talk to Rudi, and sometimes Aidan.  Indeed, a genius.

Courtney Davis:  Please send him my regards.  We kind of lost touch.

Hamish Douglas Burgess:  Aidan was fine last time we spoke … a year or so since we met face-to-face … moved houses, but still producing mind-blowing traditional art.

Hamish Douglas Burgess:  Just visited the Viking settlement form 1000 A.D. in Newfoundland … amazing.

Jim Fitzpatrick:  Hamish Love to visit that site in Newfie … sounds cool.  We should seek war reparations from the Scandinavians, or they could have let us beat Sweden in the Euro Cup.

Gerry Regan:  Where will we build the Celtic Artists Hall of Fame, BTW? Honululu, Skellig Michael? Dublin?  Cast your votes!

Jim Fitzpatrick:  I'm rooting for Honolulu, too effin cold here.

Dennis:  Australia gets my vote.

Jennifer Fahrni:  We'll have a big luau.

Jim Fitzpatrick:  I want to ride in a Hamish's truck

Jennifer Fahrni:  Surf?

Belinda Evangelista:  We will have to have this chat again in a Google hangout.

Hamish Douglas Burgess:  They held a tattoo art show and seminar here on Maui – Iʻd like to see a Celtic one.  You lads up for it?

Courtney Davis:  Will get my shorts out.

Jim Fitzpatrick:  Surf yes ... if there's a Baywatch wahini to rescue me.

Jennifer Fahrni:  That would be fabulous - at the Hui Nu'au?

Jim Fitzpatrick:  Sounds like a plan.

Oisín Mac Suibhne:  Aidan's a pretty amazing guy. Was sent a nice set of prints from him last year, and he's always one to give advice if he's sees you're working on a project ;)

Jennifer Fahrni:  Hui No'eau, Maui

Belinda Evangelista:  Winding it down for this evening with thanks to Jim, Courtney and Hamish. Feel free to hang around and banter.

Hamish Douglas Burgess:  Aloha, Oisin - he is indeed!

JIM FITZPATRICK:  Oisín, be sure to give him my best.  Nite to all, catch up soon. It's late here.

Gerry Regan:  And Oisin, welcome to The Wild Geese!

Belinda Evangelista:  Goodnight, and thanks folks.

Jim Fitzpatrick:  Slán :)

Oisín Mac Suibhne:  Night, y'all.

Courtney Davis:  Thanks, everyone.

Hamish Douglas Burgess:  Cheers, one and all - Aloha!

 

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Tags: Arts, Chat, Faith, Folklore, Members, Mythology, Traditional Music, Visual Arts

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