No cash, no credit card, strictly debit card

Me & My Money – Kevin Callaghan, Artist.

Kevin Callaghan at his London Sculpture Workshop. Photograph: Jim Stephenson

Kevin Callaghan at his London Sculpture Workshop. Photograph: Jim Stephenson


Are you a saver or a spender?

Undoubtedly a spender. Last year, in particular, setting up my design company involved a lot of initial heavy spending. It’s worthwhile spending, but generally I find it very difficult to hold on to money. There are always new materials and paints to be bought.

Do you shop around for better value?

Always! I have an artist residency right now in the Glasgow Sculpture Studios, where I’m working with sheet bronze, which is a really expensive material to source. I have recently been shopping around Ireland and Scotland for it to find the best price. If you can do me a good deal, get in touch!   What has been your most extravagant purchase and how much did it cost?

It would be a research trip to China, which cost around €5,000. The trip involved checking out the art scene in Shanghai, visiting museums, galleries and ceramic factories. I also produced a series of work in Jingdezhen and had them ship it back to Ireland.

What purchase have you made that you consider the best value for money?

I recently purchased a spray booth for spraying my artworks. The new work I’m producing in wood has up to 18 layers of auto-spray. I got the booth second hand for a really good price, and it is something I really needed for my studio practice.

How do you prefer to shop – online or local?

I like to shop online because it’s the most efficient way to order tools, materials and equipment from all over the world. I just set up my own design company – – and I make international sales via that. My design company would be lost without online shopping.   Do you haggle over prices?

I do where it is necessary and where I can. I usually get a few quotations for art supplies and base my haggling on them.

Has the recession changed your spending habits?

I did my Master’s in the Royal College of Art in London in 2010 and stayed in London for a few years after. I left and came back to Ireland just at the right time. So luckily the recession has not directly effected me.

Do you invest in shares?

No, I’d rather invest in property.

Cash or card?

Plastic, but I don’t – and never have had – a credit card. What was the last thing you bought and was it good value for money?

I bought a set of trestles that extend up to 5ft. I’m quite tall, so I use the trestles in my studio so I can work more comfortably. I reckon it’s a good investment, I’m sure it will save on any chiropractor bills in years to come! Have you ever successfully saved up for a relatively big purchase?

Yes, I’m quite good at managing money when needed. My new website and promo video cost a substantial amount, so I spent a while saving the pennies for that.

Have you ever lost money?

I very rarely lose money, and when I do, it isn’t much. I keep a watchful eye on it.

Are you a gambler and, if so, have you ever had a big win?

I’m not much of a gambler, but I like the occasional flutter. I had a nice Grand National winner last year.   Is money important to you?

Money is becoming more important to me. A career as an artist is very difficult to sustain, but I reckon I’ve learned a lot about putting value on my work, and marketing myself. Here’s hoping it all pays off. How much money do you have on you now?

I don’t have a cent in my pocket, just my debit card.

in conversation with Tony Clayton-Lea