Irish street artist, illustrator, teacher
Interview: Despina Monoyiou
His recent work is his first large-scale mural project, entitled Our Nation’s Sons, undoubtedly an important task, as it has been implemented in a wall in Dublin, ahead of the referendum on gay marriage, claiming the right to love.
As an artist and a teacher, Joe Caslin has always been sensitive concerning young people’s wellbeing, so social messages conveyed creatively through his art.
For the record, the Irish people said ‘yes’ for love on May 22, 2015.
Just before Ireland’s referendum on gay marriage, your mural ‘Our Nation’ s Sons’ in Dublin consists a strong and direct message, not only to your own government but to the world in general. Do you feel that street art and its popularity on social media can make a difference on social matters?
Absolutely. Art has been used as a persuasive power for centuries. This is nothing new. What is new is the context. Social media allows a greater access to such works both nationally and internationally but it also hinders long lasting discourse due to its insatiable appetite. The key is finding a message you believe in. This belief will garner its own power.
Being out in the public eye, in what way can street art be personal for the artist himself?
Art as a human response is intrinsically personal. My character and energy is attached to each drawing/installation. I try to include very personal stories and symbols in the development and installation of each piece. This gives me a small sense of ownership once the drawing goes public.
What is the actual reward for a street artist?
This is a difficult question. For me I think it’s the process of nurturing an idea and believing in its energy right through, until it is on that wall and then watching that energy transfer into the viewer.
What would you draw in Athens in 2015?
I would need to visit the city. I have a huge affinity with Greece. The Greeks I have met over the past number of years, and have the pleasure of calling my friends, are strong minded, resilient and very tribal figures. I would like to reflect this in whatever drawing I could bring to an Athenian urban canvas.