Joe Caslin

Can you describe your creative practice in a few words?

Social activating street art.

Are you working on a particular project at the moment?

Yes, I am currently working on a project with the tentative title ‘The Volunteers’.

You have successfully transformed facades of buildings and castle walls into canvasses. What made you decide to create murals on such a large scale, and how does it differ to creating smaller works of art on a canvas?

It is much more of a team exercise. I like my solitude and constantly seek the quiet but work best with others around me.

Your pieces deliver a powerful message and strike up conversation on a large scale, do you feel art has the power to bring an issue to the forefront and inspire positive change?

Art has for centuries wielded such power. Imagery has influenced human thought in the most compelling of ways. With a global community consumed with an insatiability to become more and more visually aware, its power to transform, to illuminate, to educate, inspire and motivate is absolute.

One aspect of Above the Fold that we’re attempting to convey is that Ireland is buzzing with creativity. How has your work impacted upon Ireland’s cultural landscape?

That is not for me to say. However, Ireland’s historical past has created a certain standard. Expectations are high and in my opinion this environment is somewhat indigenous and incredibly motivational. It is hard to describe this island without culture being at the forefront. It is a shame that this importance has not been reflected in any ‘Program for Government’ since the late ninth century.

Do you feel it’s important to boost awareness for the arts outside of capital city?

Absolutely, though I believe it is dangerous territory to create an us and them divide. Galway has always exerted its own sense of self. When you find comfort in your own skin you will always find yourself standing ‘Above the Fold’.

If you fuck up, big fucking deal! Go again. And again. And again. And again.

What advice would you give to someone starting off in this industry?

Do it. Surround yourself with good and interesting people, take a few spoons of courage (I always associated courage with the taste of Calpol) and off you go. And if you fuck up, big fucking deal! Go again. And again. And again. And again.

When did you decide this was the direction you wanted to take?

It was never a decision. I was pretty much born into it. I have incredible parents who saw my talent as a child and have forever cultivated it.

If we are sitting here a year from now celebrating what a good year it’s been for you in this role, what did you achieve?

That I have created a body of work that I can be proud of and that others are proud to applaud.

What do you hope members of the audience will take away from your talk at Above the Fold?

To become active within your community. To arrive at the conclusion that importance conversations with those who govern us are not out of your reach. Assert your influence.