Boy who painted elderly neighbour wins Texaco Children’s Art Competition

Casey Etherton (17) from Co Kerry captured Kevin Farrell on canvas for winning entry

Young Kerry artist, Casey Etherton – from Coláiste na Sceilge, Caherciveen – overall winner in the senior 16-18 years age category for  ‘Kevin In The Pink’

Young Kerry artist, Casey Etherton – from Coláiste na Sceilge, Caherciveen – overall winner in the senior 16-18 years age category for ‘Kevin In The Pink’

 

When aspiring art student Casey Etherton noticed his neighbour sitting under a light in his grandparents’ home he saw in the moment a self-portrait by Lucian Freud, or a work of Rembrandt.

He was inspired to capture Kevin Farrell on canvas, a work of art so accomplished for a 17-year-old it beat thousands of others to capture the 2020 Texaco Children’s Art Competition.

‘Kevin In The Pink’
‘Kevin In The Pink’

“He just lives down the road from me; he has just always kind of been there throughout my life growing up in Kerry,” Casey said of his neighbour who was one of a number of people in the Caherdaniel area he chose to paint as part of a portraiture series.

“I though it would be nice to go around and hear their stories. He was my second subject.”

The resulting “Kevin In The Pink” is a carefully executed study in oils of a man aged in his 80s, the “pink” referring to his sweater. Casey recreated the lighting that had caught his attention in his grandparent’s home and worked from a sketch and photographs.

Now 18, he has ambitions to study art and become an animator when he finishes his Leaving Certificate at Coláiste na Sceilge in Caherciveen from where he fielded congratulatory phone calls on Tuesday, denied the competition’s usual reception and exhibition in Dublin due to Covid-19.

The pandemic did little to dampen the quality of entries this year, however – over 25,000 vied for some level of recognition in what has become Ireland’s premier youth art competition, now in its 66th year.

Named overall winner having secured first prize in the 16 to 18 year age category, “Kevin In The Pink” secured the top prize of €1,500.

Other winners in each age group included PJ Doherty from Co Donegal (14-15 years); Luke Joyce from Dublin (12-13 years); Jiaming Zheng from Dublin (9-11 years); Marc Long from Dublin (7-8 years); Eleana Hughes from Co Kilkenny (6 years and younger); and 14-year old James Moonan from Co Louth (all age category for students with special needs).