Interview : Emlyn Boyle, Fantastical folklore artist

Emlyn Boyle is a Dublin-born multi-discipline artist who paints, writes, makes films and is into photography. With two successful exhibitions on Irish Mythology and Hallowe'en this year, and another planned for 2018, he told Déshabillé how he loves art with a genuine passion.

Q. Did you go to Art College?

Emlyn : Yes, I went to Ballyfermot Senior College (as it was known then) from 1993 to 1996. And there learned animation in all its forms, with all the necessary drawing classes, and finally graduated with a Diploma in Computer Animation and Multimedia. I’ve also had small classes in filmmaking (at the Irish Film Centre), and graphic design. Though am largely self-taught before and after. And really believe you need to teach yourself as much as possible - in your own time and with genuine passion. And not just rely solely on courses etc.
Just do and practice the thing constantly by yourself – an almost punk rock attitude. 

For example, I’ve been drawing since I was 4 years old, so the artistic interest was always there to begin with - and I just kept going, and thus improving. As far as painting, sculpture and photography go, I’m completely self-taught.

 The Morrigan

Q. What are your influences?

Emlyn : Everything! I’m influenced by everything and anything. In fact, I would say I’m more influenced by music, writing and cinema than the so-called art world.

But if I had creative heroes, offhand I would say Neil Gaiman, Guillermo Del Toro, Kate Bush, Picasso, and David Bowie, amongst others. 

But at the end of the day, whatever I do is always filtered through my own style and needs. Otherwise I wouldn’t do it. The strange and fantastical will always appeal to me - fantasy, horror, ghost stories, folklore, speculative fiction. But again, filtered through my own vision and always with a certain amount of depth/meaning. Pure surface doesn’t interest me. So in the end, it’s all about storytelling.

 One Winter's Night by Emlyn Boyle has got over 1m views on youtube

Q. Which discipline are you happiest working in?

Emlyn : All of them! But if you had to narrow it down to a first choice default, I would say drawing. Just give me a pen and paper, and you can keep me happy for hours. Creativity for me is also a release, and way of expressing whatever’s on my mind at any given moment. So drawing or even just plain doodling gives me the most immediate access to that.

Autumn Child

Q. How are your exhibitions going?

Emlyn : I’ve had two successful solo exhibitions this year in Dublin and Westmeath, covering the separate themes of Irish mythology and Halloween. I have another solo exhibition set for late September 2018, in the gorgeous Skerries Mills, Skerries, Co. Dublin. Though there’s no set theme yet, and it will be a first time photography show. Or at least mostly photography - will see what happens.

I’ll also be once again contributing three pieces to the Incognito charity exhibition in the Solomon Gallery, Dublin. All in aid of the Jill And Jack Foundation, and to help raise funds for sick children.


And there’s a certain annual art competition I want to enter in 2018, but depends on time and other factors.

Q. Where do you see yourself artistically in five years?

Emlyn : Not sure really! I don’t plan that far ahead, though hope to do more exhibitions of course (at least one a year), and be writing/maybe illustrating my own children’s books. Or just writing in general. I’ve had some short stories published in the past, but writing is something that needs undivided attention - so hopefully I can get more of that done in 2018.

I also want to make more short films, and in fact hope to work on a third short animated film over the next while. My last one, ‘Waiting’, was selected to play in competition at the Belfast Film Festival 2013, and was a huge boost to my confidence.

And that film, and my first animated short ‘One Winter’s Night’, have garnered a large and somewhat cult following on Youtube. So again, the feedback has been very positive and confidence building. I keep absorbing new interests and skills, and am constantly creatively hungry - so the sky’s the limit really!

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