Fermanagh native Peter Healy is an abstract artist living in Houston, Texas. Here he talks to The Impartial Reporter about his favourite project to date, what inspires his art and what art means to him.

JC: What is your artistic background? Are you self-taught or did you go to art school/do courses?

PH: I went to school for illustration at the University of Central Lancashire. My tutor focused on the art of mark making, human gesture as part of the painting or drawing. He also wanted us to discover our artistic voices, and ensure that they were all valid.

JC: What inspires your art?

PH: So many things inspire what I make. Nature, cityscapes, dreams, movement, the environment, the idea that people need art in all its forms more than they know. I know what it feels like to view or hear something that takes you away somewhere unfathomable for a moment. Sometimes you don't even know why you like a piece of art, you just do. To me that's the magic of art forms. I also get inspired by people I went to school with like Barry McAdam and Rob White and many more. We are all part of an artist community and nothing beats a good catch up, and the opportunity to chat about ideas and moving forward to make everything we do better.

JC: Who/what are your biggest influences?

PH: So many artists inspire me. Jean-Michel Basquiat, Karel Appel, Willem de Kooning, Pablo Picasso, to artists like Taylor White, Barbara Hepworth, Gary Komarin. Too many to name.

JC: Is there a specific place that you do your work? Do you have a studio?

PH: I am lucky enough to have two dedicated spaces. I share a studio at the Hardy and Nance studios in Houston, Texas. It's a collection of artists in a cluster of studios under one roof. I also work out of a home studio most of the time, my youngest is three now so I am home to look after her as well as grabbing pockets of time to keep making and pushing ideas.

JC: What has been your most ambitious piece to date?

PH: I think I am only starting to do that now. I am scaling up some 2D/ 3D pieces. These pieces involve multiple materials and can be any shape. It's also an opportunity to reuse local material from structures destroyed in hurricanes and found objects. It's like making a jigsaw while inventing the individual pieces.

JC: What different artistic mediums do you use and which is your favourite?

PH: I work in oil paint, acrylic, watercolour and ink. I now also work with wood, resin, leather and collaged fabric.

JC: What are you currently working on?

PH: I am currently painting some large and vibrant, colourful paintings playing with space and form. Simply focusing on the joy of colour, form, and space.

JC: Do you exhibit your work anywhere?

PH: Yes I have been part of group shows and had solo exhibitions. I am currently showing work virtually at https://www.objetstrouveok.com/

JC: Any new artistic ventures planned for the rest of 2020?

PH: At the moment I am just planning the progression of my work. I consider myself a student for life in my craft.

JC: What has been your favourite project to date?

PH: I recently created a mural for a a non profit organisation called the Houston Angels (https://www.houangels.org/) it was a great project because it was a chance to make artwork for a charity. It felt so good to be doing something so positive for a great cause.

JC: What are you up to when you aren’t creating art?

PH: I am usually helping to reign in the madness at home, a three year old, a teen, two cats and a large dog tend to keep me on my toes.

JC: How would you describe your artistic style?

PH: I am mostly an abstract artist.

JC: What does your art mean to you?

PH: My art is an opportunity to create a dialogue with viewers. It's a chance to share a love of colour, form and gesture. To try to brighten someone's day, to try and take someone away on a visual journey and to give them a break from their norm. The possibilities are endless. If I have to, I can also make a statement. Art can be powerful, political or magical. It's these possibilities that make me constantly try and redefine what art means to me and how I want to use it to communicate to the rest of the world.