Since graduating from Lincoln School of Art in 2003, Eamonn Higgins has worked full-time as a professional artist. After three years of living in England, Higgins moved home to the Glens of Antrim in 2006 to pursue projects in the public realm that challenged his understanding of home, his heritage and his self – three elements increasingly prevalent in his commercial gallery work.
“I continually question my own role in the negotiation of public space, to further understand how I can evolve my practice. Recently I have been working within rural areas of conflict in Northern Ireland as part of the Re-Imaging arts programme, questioning our shared heritage and targeting a celebration off our cultural heritage away from the sectarian boundaries that polarize it. Time was also spent working with textile and video artists on a transient Travellers’ site using what I learned through the Re-Imaging projects to help the Travellers rediscover their crafts heritage.
My work in contested spaces in the countryside and the fact that I am from a small rural community in the Glens of Antrim has caused me to re-evaluate not only my art, but also myself, my history, my own heritage and my cultural upbringing. It has caused me to wonder if a space imagined can hold a sense of ownership/permanence without the physical intimacy of community or the individual. With my commercial gallery work I have explored this theme, while wondering what it means to be of my generation within a gradual depolarisation of our traditions and heritage.” – Higgins, Sept 2010
Higgins’ use of materials has an honesty of effort and craft which may be hard to find in the digital mediums pursued by his contemporaries. He treats his welders, gas and plasma cutters like a painter would treat a palette knife.
“The word ‘Craft’ within the Fine Art Intelligentsia has almost become a dirty word. In my opinion it doesn’t have to be associated with corn dolly’s or a glass bowl. Craft is the skilled application of techniques honed with practice to demonstrate a unique understanding of the medium and an individual aesthetic created with this understanding.
Steel is my main medium. I push then balance my traditional blacksmithing skills with modern contemporary fabrication techniques. I do this within the austere arena of the exploration of my artistic themes creating I believe my unique identity in art.” – Higgins, Sept 2010