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Meet… Joe Coveney


Joe Coveney is an Irish Artist, Designer, Maker. He works across disciplines to realise ideas that bring value to our everyday experiences. Joe has worked for the past 15 years on a range of exhibitions, workshops and community projects. Public Age is an open call commissioned by the dlr CoCo/HSE Arts and Health Partnership with additional grant aid from the Arts Council, in partnership with the Irish Architecture Foundation. Public Age will interrogate how public space is, can be and should be designed with older people in mind through a collaborative project and public outcome.

Below Joe discusses some of his past projects:
Dinner and Dialogues
The ‘Dinner and Dialogues’ project was a series of events that took place during 2015.

It was developed collaboratively by Joe Coveney and Suzanne O’Connell, two designers working in Dublin and London respectively and was funded by The Year of Irish Design 2015.

Taking the traditional format of a dinner party they explored how good food and a relaxed domestic setting can facilitate conversations between a group of people who mostly don’t know each other. The ambition of the evenings was to encourage meaningful interactions that are not supported in normal public discourse.

I worked as an artist in residence with Bluebell Youth and Community Centre in Bluebell, Inchicore over the course of 2012. My brief was to look at how we could implement a visual art programme within the centre. Bluebell was a very unique centre to work in and initially it was challenging to deliver visual art projects that the young people found engaging. After a few unsuccessful attempts we adopted a new approach – a ‘do it anyway’ attitude, where I started building work that I was interested in and invited young people to join in the process. When they could see my enthusiasm and the project developing they slowly came on board. The time we spent working together provided them with space to shape the project and slowly take ownership. The result was an immersive installation that we build a a genuine collaboration between myself, the youth workers and groups aged 12-18. We programmed a week of community events – such as an intergenerational picnic, film screenings and yoga days. A specific art group was established as a legacy of the project and I have returned to work with them on several projects.

Irish Museum of Modern Art
The Irish Museum of Modern Art approached me to run a day long participatory workshop for their summer festival in 2015. Drawing is a very important part of my creative practice. I was interested in creating a large collaborative drawing that took the gardens and surrounding landscape as inspiration and could be developed over the course of the day. There was an interesting juxtaposition here, my drawings are usually quite small and intimidate, while the gardens were a huge area. To make an impact I choose to use bamboo as the drawing medium, and the gardens became the canvas. Over the course of the day a 3d drawing developed, with people adding and subtracting from existing segments, responding to the skyline and to the structure that was developing.

Studio 9
Early last year myself and my partner John O’Connell undertook a refurbishment of an old Georgian basement on North Great Georges Street, Dublin 1. Our aim for the space is to develop a creative community in the heart of the city centre, a network of creative, co-working freelancers that support each other professionally. The main build finished before Christmas and now we are focused on the community development aspect.

Royal Hibernian Gallery
In 2009 I was awarded the Emerging Artist Award with the Royal Hibernian Gallery, Dublin. As part of the award I was given a studio to work from in the gallery. The three months I was based there resulted in a studio exhibition. The work developed around two key themes for me, how immersive environments can facilitate engagement and how ambiguous objects can enable storytelling and meaning making.

Point b, Brooklyn, New York.
Point B in New York offered me a residency in 2011 – a live/work space in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The couple of months I spent there resulted in an installation. I developed a method of working with cardboard that meant I could build quite large structures quickly. The work unfolded in series, as opposed to following a predetermined plan, with the limits of the material and the practicalities of the residency providing a structure for the work to develop around.