James Earley: On My Culture Radar

The Dublin artist on his love of Amsterdam, documentaries and Graham Norton

James Earley: “I couldn’t live without my Chromecast.”

James Earley: “I couldn’t live without my Chromecast.”

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Current favourite book?

I read a lot of art books, and I especially enjoyed John Berger’s Portraits. Like the name suggests, it’s about the conceptual approach of different artists, and how they come up with their own style. It’s a chronological book that deals with portraiture over time, so it goes as far back as Michelangelo, up to Henry Moore.

Restaurant

I’m a sucker for Japanese food because it’s healthy, fresh and really tasty, and I’ve been going to Musashi since they first set up on Capel Street. They do the best sushi in Dublin, hands down. I especially love their tuna sashimi, it’s so fresh and delicious.

Comedian 

A comedian and talk show host I love is Graham Norton. The people he has on his show coupled with his quick wit and sensitivity makes it so brilliant. I bought his autobiography for my wife but it was one of those presents that I bought for someone else with the intention of borrowing it afterwards. 

Artist

That’s Mainie Jellett, who’s just phenomenal. She’s Irish and arguably the most important modernist painter. You can see her piece Decoration in the National Gallery. Her art is abstract, figurative work, and it’s very graphic: the paintings are made up of shards of colours.

She made a pretty good career for herself in Paris, and when she moved back to Ireland, the critics didn’t know how to take her work because it was so progressive, and for a lady to be painting in this manner was very taboo. A lot of my favourite artists seem to be women; I also love Eva Rothschild, and Evie Hone, who worked on stained glass. 

City

I visit Amsterdam often and lived there for a short while too. It’s very easy to get around and I love the unique character of this place. I’m a massive foodie and it has so many amazing restaurants. My favourite is De Kas, which is two converted greenhouses, one for growing all their vegetables and another for the restaurant. I can’t recommend it enough, I tell everyone to go there. Of course, there are other delectables to be had in Amsterdam, but I have kids now and there are more things I want do in my time there. 

Actor

Kate Stanley Brennan, who’s actually my wife’s sister. The Brennan family are a dynasty of actors that includes Stephen Brennan, my father-in-law. I hadn’t really gone to the theatre before I met them all, but they’ve opened my eyes. Kate’s phenomenal, she’s in the best plays and she’s got an exciting production at the moment called Walk For Me, which she wrote herself. She’s definitely one to watch.

Podcast

The one I keep going back to is NPR’s How I Built This. They’ll talk to directors of companies like Airbnb, or Patrick and John Collison, the Irish guys who set up Stripe. I talk to my artist friends about their trajectories, but it’s interesting to hear from the business world about how people make it. 

Gadget

I couldn’t live without my Chromecast. There’s a Chromecast for your TV that allows you to stream video from your laptop, and the other one is for audio, and that one is essential for me. I have a really good speaker set up in my studio on Cork Street, Dublin, because I love working to music. I plug the Chromecast into the speaker, and it allows me to wirelessly play music from my phone and my Spotify account. It’s an essential part of my equipment.

Social media profile

It’s @adayinthelifeofart on Instagram, which gets different artists and galleries to take over the account each week. They had a really good silk screen gallery from the States recently called Louis Buhl & Co; they’re very good at curating the right guests for the account. 

TV show

I love documentaries and I’m spoiled for choice with Netflix. I’ve just finished a series called Dirty Money. The final episode is about Donald Trump and it’s insightful but quite concerning. It shows that he’s a terrible businessman – he has no business mind whatsoever, every business he’s set up has failed, and he kept on getting bailed out by his dad. But hey, he’s at the helm of the world.  

James Earley’s exhibition Things Fall Apart runs until June 3rd at Dollard House, Dublin.

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