‘Look Of The Irish’ Tackles Issues Facing Irish Artists

By Andrew Cottrill . March 9, 2020

‘Look of the Irish’ is a collaborative art exhibition exploring the challenges faced by young Irish artists.

This Friday, March 13th, Berlin-based Irish street artists Humble_Writerz and Trev El. Viz will be displaying their new collaborative collection at Wrangelstrasse 67, Kreuzberg.

Look of the Irish Exhibition Poster

The theme of the collaboration: why young Irish artists feel the need to emigrate to find the space to allow their art to grow.

“Ireland has a long history of people leaving the country to pursue the creative arts abroad. Everyone from Joyce to Francis Bacon – sure, even the creators of Father Ted had to go to the UK in order to get the show made.”

Look of the Irish Exhibition El. Viz 3

Standing in the way of progress

I spoke to Trev El. Viz to find the cause of this sense of abandonment felt by Irish artists:

“Our current government does not support the arts. Funding and opportunities are extremely hard to come by. With the rapid gentrification of Dublin, a large number of creative spaces have been shut down over the last years and replaced with office blocks and hotels.

“In the last 12 months alone, long-standing creative spaces such as the Bernard Shaw pub and the Tivoli Theatre have been closed and demolished to make way for more hotels. These were places where countless young creatives got their start.”


Art as a tool for change

Trev and Humble_Writerz (Mark Finn) both began as street- and graffiti artists but have since used their time in Berlin to fine-tune their trade, adapting their abstract art styles to different aspects of modern or street art. That being said, they’re both still very much connected to the art scene in Ireland.

Collectively, they’ve had works commissioned by Dublin County Council and have been active in the Marriage Equality and Repeal campaigns – with Trev’s Marriage Equality design raising over five thousand euros for various LGBTQ+ charities and becoming a celebrated piece of street art in Dublin city centre.

They’re both very conscious of the importance of art as a tool for changing and reforming the landscape of Irish society, even (or especially) when they’re forced to use it in exile.

Look of the Irish Exhibition El. Viz 1

Finding strength in community

This collaboration itself represents the answer that many Irish artists reach: to work together, support each other and shine a light on the issues of home, regardless of where in the world they’re based.

“There has always been that mentality of ‘looking out of each other’ that Irish people share when abroad. We’re trying to tap into that. Two artists coming together who had never before met, but share the common story of leaving Ireland for the same reasons. By working together, we’re hoping we can make a louder noise with our work.”

Look of the Irish Exhibition El. Viz 4

The exhibition will take the form of spray paint on canvas, with hard-edge abstract designs that take inspiration from skateboard culture, punk rock, underground comics and ’80s cartoons.

“We both come from painting the streets, so spray paint never really left our process.”

In true Irish style, whiskey will also feature prominently – with Jameson and ginger being served during the early hours of the show.

Look of the Irish
March 13th, 19:00-01:00
Wrangelstraße 67
10997 Berlin

Find the Facebook event here.


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