A gifted and talented artist who won the Eilis Dillon award for the illustration of her first children’s book derives inspiration from the sea and landscape but her greatest inspiration of all comes from her father’s magical words.
As a child, multimedia artist Kim Sharkey used to dress her dolls up in costumes she made herself from toilet roll.
“I was always into art in a way that I didn’t realise. When I was very young I had all my dolls and I dressed them up in toilet roll and made my own costumes for them. That was my creative outlet finding its way,” she said.
Growing up alongside five siblings, their father nourished their creative side by saying poetry and telling stories of folklore.
“If dad was along with us he would always be telling me poetry and old tales. I loved it. It was like he could create magic in the room,” she recalls.
It is these stories that weave their way through her art and make it as spectacular as it is.
Her father gave her his only school book - a book of well-known Irish poetry and Kim appreciates all it represents.
“There’s a lot of really well- known old Irish poetry in here so between this and the folklore it’s amazing how it’s woven in through all my work,” she said.
One of the most special moments in her career came when she won the Eilis Dillon award for her illustrative work on Mór agus Muilc.
She has contributed artwork to seven book publications to date.
Her most artwork for the new poetry collection of writer Dairena Ní Chinnéide,
‘Tairseach’ published by Éabhlóid, will be launched in the coming month online as part of the Dingle Literary Festival.
Kim has been working in the arts for twenty years and always finds new and varied projects and collaborations fulfilling.
Kim worked with Eoin Mc Laughlin on Littlewood's book in 2020.
The book was aimed at easing children’s concern that Santa may not make it to their homes due to the pandemic.
She also works has also worked with Children’s Books Ireland.
“This year, I am working for the Ark, the Arts Council, the National Museum, the Design and Crafts Council and books festivals, along side working on artwork for new books with publisher Éabhlóid and animation projects, one with a Belfast musician and one with an amazing German animator. Already too planning has begun for an artistic collaboration with a Cork- based composer for next year, so never a dull moment,” she said.
She is currently working on a personal porcelain and oxide project relating to cave painting.
“I received Ealain na Gaeltacht funding towards my developing porcelain project,” she said.
Recent articles informed Kim that our earliest alphabets were developed from cave paintings combined with sound being made in the small or large cavities.
“I imagine it as the earliest form of animation watching the images with sound.
“It is really about the modality, bringing together images and sound and creating our language, as humans, and I find that so exciting that our sharing of expression began through art.”
Alongside developing her own work the Ark cultural centre for children in Dublin asked Kim to format sessions to share this idea with children.
“Arts education is parallel to my own practice and always inspiring,” she said.
Kim lives with her husband Jimmy and dog Rosie by the sea in Carrickfinn. The surrounding changing sea landscape is a constant inspiration for Kim.
It is there where many of her ideas and borne, loosened and forged in thought, photo or drawing.
Later she uses them to create art in whichever form she finds most suits.
Her art flows from pencil to paper to computer, to ceramics, to books to create a world of magic through her art.
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