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Interview Members

Rich Gilligan talks Marty McFly, New York and our Members Prints


Rich Gilligan is an Irish photographer who we have been honoured to work with. Apart from being a gent he’s one very talented man. Inspired by Marty McFly, he’s been skateboarding since a young age. He later picked up the camera to shoot the skate scene in 1997. He’s made a grand name for himself as a photographer, opening up his lens to fashion with stylist Aisling Farinella and working with various brands from the likes of big boys Universal Music, Jack Daniels, and Ford to some very cool companies like DFA records, It’s Nice That and Aad. We have three gorgeous Rich Gilligan prints available as part of our awards for our Inspiration and Influence members.

Like most working in the arts (or just living in the world) Rich is no stranger to architecture. In 2011 Rich and Aisling worked together on an exhibition called Common Ground: The G.H. Mumm Exhibition, Twisting Conventions in Fashion and Architecture at Darc Space on North Great George’s Street. The pair took the work of six Irish fashion designers and found buildings and architectural spaces that relate to their work visually and conceptually and presented the combinations photographically.

Rich went back to his first love in 2012, when he published DIY, a book that celebrates the subculture of guerrilla skate parks. The book was four years in the making while Rich found makeshift skate structures all over Europe and America. Rich recognises the architectural ingenuity in the DIY skateparks. “Growing up skateboarding you learn to navigate and view cities and their architecture with an amazing attention to detail. You are tuned to how surfaces feel as you skate through them and public space becomes your playground,” explains Rich.

In 2012 he worked with us at IAF on Open House Dublin on an exhibition called Architecture Alive at RHA Gallery from 20 September until 7 October 2012. In true Dublin style the collaboration happened by chance meetings and loose connections, “the commission came about after Nathalie [Weadick, IAF Director] saw me speak at OFFSET. She was also working with Conor & David on the identity of Open House Dublin and I had been working with them for years myself so it all just linked up nicely in a really natural way,” explains Rich. “The commission was initially meant to be the photo campaign for Open House Dublin, but it morphed into this exciting exhibition which was really enjoyable as Nathalie has a background in curating so she was a dream to work with and really trusting with me about my approach.”

It’s from that exhibition that Rich’s prints for our members have been selected. “I picked the image of Nelly’s bedroom from the old flat they have in the Iveagh Trust buildings on Patrick Street, it was like a time warp walking in there. The atmosphere, smell and strange feeling of everything remaining untouched since she left was really intense. I was shocked by how moved I was by this space. I’d been walking by the building almost everyday for over 10 years and had no idea it existed, which is what is so magical about Open House. It opens up parts of the city that you just wouldn’t believe existed if someone told you. It made me think about the energy that someone can leave in a space long after they are gone and the photographs I made were an exploration of that.”

Rich also chose images of Sean O’Casey Community Centre by O’Donnell + Tuomey, and Liberty Hall. He photographed Liberty Hall as if it was “…lost in the Dublin sky and I chose that image because I was happy I could make a photograph of this iconic building without including any of the actual city surrounding it, which in a way is what that building always was to me – a unique monster just oblivious to all the madness and change going on around it.”

Born and raised in Dublin, Rich is familiar with the buildings and their stories. “I loved it when I was there and I love it when I’m not there. My Dublin love is pretty consistent.” He is now based over in Brooklyn New York working away on the usual hustle, portfolio work and a zine with friends of his in Melbourne. “I am really enjoying this new adventure and I’m bracing the city with open arms. It’s an inspiring place with a unique energy and flow to its fast pace. I’m still finding my feet to be honest but overall I couldn’t be happier. I love to feel challenged and this city will keep you on your toes so that keeps me motivated.”

Become an Inspiration member today and get one of the prints, or become an Influence member and get all three. Become a member HERE