Sharon McKeown

What is your typical studio routine?

I usually arrive around 9:30, eat breakfast and then get stuck in. I begin the morning with some typing, lately I have been writing what I call ‘piece poetry’ where I grab words from books and try to make a semi-understandable usually quite floaty bit of poetry in one sitting. Similar to cut-out poetry although I’m not strict in it and tend to add words/sentences here and there quite often. After that I typically work in my sketchbook for a good few hours, collaging, drawing or using ink. Currently I am working on completing my good sketchbook (good in the way you would say ‘let’s go sit in the good living room’ or ‘that’s my good cardigan, for special occasions’), it is filled with *in my eyes* finished works that make me cry slightly when I think about how I very rarely finish works on nice bits of unattached paper, although lately I have come to terms with the fact that it is probably one of those works that are just for the maker.

How do you describe your practice?

Intuitive. Narrative driven. Leaning on the illustrative side. Lately quite abstract. Repetitive. Intimate. Changeable.

Is there a particular process or methodology within your practice that is important to you?

Drawing. As often as possible.

Is it difficult being back in the studio after an exhibition?

I find this the most difficult time to make. I tend to stick to reading, research, or trying out a new technique. It’s funny because I usually feel most like making and have the majority of ideas around the beginning of an exhibition install but once the work is up the ideas seem to make no sense anymore. As my work is usually based on a specific narrative I can find it hard to move on to a new narrative especially because I find it quite comforting to reuse imagery and vaguely know where I am going.

What do you dislike about the artworld?

The collective belief that art has rules

What is the best advice you have been given as an artist?

“Return to your art, over and over again.” -Beth Pickens. Art is something that can be picked up many times over a lifetime. While it would be nice if it was a constant it can sometimes be too draining to keep engaging but returning is always an option.

Artist Bio

Sharon McKeown is a visual artist based in Belfast. Interested in narrative, she focuses on stories as told through sketchbooks, drawings, and objects found and made. Sharon is currently working towards developing and assembling a broad collection of mixed media works that are all underpinned by a simultaneous narrative.

Sharon was born in Northern Ireland (1994) and graduated from Ulster University, Belfast (2018) with a BFA(Hons) in painting. In addition to her degree she studied at Saimaa University of Applied Sciences, Finland (2017) where she had her first solo show ‘Unknown Ventures’. She is a studio holder at Queen Street Studios and a member of The Drawing Journal, a drawing collaborative.

Recent group exhibitions include Royale Arcade Academy, Arcade, Belfast (2023), The Drawing Journal: Quiet Wanders Laughing, Hyde Bridge Gallery, Sligo (2023), Displacement and Belonging – Home, Rua Red, Dublin (2023), Future/Forward, MART, Dublin (2022). Her latest solo show ‘A Morning As Dark As Night’ took place at Platform Arts, Belfast (2021).

Email; [email protected]

Instagram; @sharrmck