Dan Flynn is a friend, a member of, Longford Writers Group, and an accomplished writer and artist. Dan, who is originally from Canada, moved to Ireland in 1992.
Tell me about yourself and how you got into art and writing.
Age is turning me into a bit of a Victor Meldrew which is enhanced by being a technomoron where computers are concerned. I practice live and let live, but am annoyed when people insist their subjective experience become part of my objective reality. I have always scribbled little pictures but about 30 years ago began trying formal pictures in watercolour as well as pen and ink but only for the pleasure of doing it. I played a clarinet the same way when I was in my 20s. Painting is less annoying to the neighbours. Writing was something I never found difficult, but being more focused than painting, self-direction was more difficult. It was only after my partner died in 2015 and I needed to do something to keep from becoming part of the wallpaper, that I joined the Longford Writers Group. It was a good choice.
You did the cover art for Longford Writers Group’s novella, ‘Let Him Lie’, and their anthology, ‘Home Made’, and my book, ‘A Posy of Wild Flowers’, due to come out this year; so can you explain what approach you took to doing these covers?
The first and third of those covers I like to think of as pointillism gone mad! It takes hours but I love the results. “Home Made was easier, a watercolour of a village around a hill with a hotel on it. A community, close, definable and, as you see from the children, safe. In “Let Him Lie”, my idea was that these people possessed a simple religious faith. You can imagine a rosary at the bottom of Patricia’s hand bag. So, Earth and Heaven are joined by the spire of the church, but the coffin, shrouded in a fog of mystery.
How would you describe your artistic styIe?
I try to think of it as abstract, but letting the viewer know “abstracted from what?” Art is communication, it need not be a test of how esoteric the viewer might be. We can all nod and grunt “yes, yes” and hustle to the next picture. Historically, there has always been a question of the reality of unperceived reality. Is a tree there when not perceived? Modern physics says, maybe. So I try to imagine it not fully formed prior to one’s being fully focused on it.
What enjoyment do you get from doing your art and writing?
The pleasure of seeing an idea or character take shape. I did a picture of a friend’s house once. The look on his face when he first saw it was all the payment I needed…..that look was wonderful.
What ambitions have you for your artwork and your writing?
I suppose ‘recognition’, but I know my work will never put me on a new car lot……maybe a set of tyres would be nice……but that look I mentioned and the wonderful responses I’ve had from reading a couple of my stories to the children at a small nearby school…..at my age, it doesn’t get much better!