Londonderry carnival artist, Martin McClelland, is off to the United States this week for a special residency in ‘urban alchemist’ Boris Bally’s own workshop.
“I’m predominantly a carnival artist and I’ve spent 20 years making about 80 per cent of my work from recycled materials so this is familiar territory for me,” explains Mr McClelland.
“I was drawn to Bally’s work I think because of this.
“We rely on businesses and even the political parties here in the North West to donate materials which they’re going to dump, so we get all kinds of weird and wonderful things to work with. Perhaps the most unusual was a collection of old sou’westers which we used as the basis for a sea carnival piece which worked really well.”
Martin is off to Bally’s studio in Rhode Island where he will watch the artist at work and find out more about the workings of a successful arts and crafts business.
“I’m really looking forward to getting an insight into the American Craft market as I do quite a bit of craft work myself. I would really like to take my work in this direction and Boris has a great business model to work from as he’s so successful in his field. He has a great understanding of how it all works, and I’m also looking forward to learning from his techniques.”
Director of Legacy with Derry City and Strabane District Council, Oonagh McGillion, said: “I’m delighted to see Martin heading off to America to work with Boris and getting the opportunity for such a unique insight into the industry.
“I’m sure the experience will put him in an excellent position to begin to explore new markets for his work.
“I know that Boris was extremely impressed by the quality of work within the local craft industry here and he is so keen to pass on his expertise and keep up his connection with the city. His new artwork is a fantastic addition to the city’s urban landscape and I hope the public will go along to see it.”