Alan Clarke is an award winning Irish Illustrator and occasional writer. His images conjure worlds that are whimsical, darkly comic, magical, sometimes grotesque, but always beautifully executed. His book illustrations have garnered widespread acclaim. His work has been exhibited extensively in Ireland, as well as in the U.S., the U.K., Germany, Italy and Japan, and is held in numerous galleries and private collections. He spoke on the main stage at Offest in 2010. His best known work includes illustrations for the ongoing ‘Ross O’Carroll-Kelly’ series, poster artwork for the Body and Soul Festival, and the incredible exhibition ‘The Arcane Arcanum Arcanorum’, which hasn’t happened yet.
We asked Alan what inspires him:
I don’t think inspiration actually exists in the way it is commonly understood. There is only work, the harder you work, the more ‘inspiration’ you will have. By work I mean practicing your craft, seeking out and studying beautiful work by others, reading, carefully observing, being sociable and paying attention to the things people say, diligently recording you ideas, and so on. When you do all these things you are far more likely to have a ‘lightbulb’ moment while you are sitting in a coffee shop, or walking in the woods, or in the bath. The lightbulb moment however is just your brain making abstract connections between things that are all ready in there. If the ingredients are not there, inspiration will never strike, to put them there, you work!