Artist Hughie O’Donoghue’s hyperlink painting pushes the boundaries of the nature of art


Hughie O’Donoghue

A blue moon of the plowed fields

When 32-year-old crypto investor Vignesh Sundaresan, aka Metakovan, paid Christie’s $ 69.3 million for a Beeple artwork in March, suddenly there was something new under the sun: NFTs, or non-fungible tokens.

Beeple, an American digital artist aka Mike Winkelmann, created “Everydays: the First 5000 Days”, a mosaic of 5,000 chronological artwork featuring images of Abraham Lincoln spanking a baby version of Trump and a muscular Tom Hanks attacking the coronavirus.

All of the images can be viewed and shared, but Sundaresan gets an NFT – a jpeg and a hyperlink – to prove he owns the original. This is a big bang for the buck. Sotheby’s first NFT sale last month of works by digital artist Pak reached $ 17 million. Is NFT the future?

Artist Hughie O’Donoghue RA, known for his powerful and monumental paintings and stained glass windows in Westminster Abbey, adopted this new technology during the lockdown.

With a new iPad and an Apple Pencil, O’Donoghue “downloaded the Procreate app and quickly found that I could add and subtract what I had done very easily if I was not satisfied – something not so easy in my life. the “real” painting “.

Painter for 40 years, he says that “the new digital images are different to the touch” and that he “chose to keep the imagery very simple, a lonely tree and a plowed field. The intense color quality of the images is a direct result of the electronic process where it is possible, very quickly, to try color combinations and retouch if something doesn’t work.

The initial seed for the subject was his collaborative work on Simon Armitage Leaflet, a version of Virgil’s long poem Georgics. “The plowed field,” says O’Donoghue, “symbolizes a lifetime’s work, the human connection to the soil and the agrarian origins of my family.

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Based in Co Mayo and London, the artist says that NFT images, “like all of my work, are reinvented, they come from things seen and experienced and refer to our fundamental connection to the ground. The bent tree is a symbol of endurance and is a ubiquitous feature of the Erris landscape where I live and work when in Ireland.

“A Labored Field Blue Moon” is one of the seven images, like the days of the week and the series, variations on a theme, uses “a more intense color palette”. The result: beautifully lyrical and luminous atmospheric images.

These images “are displayed on a 4 foot tall vertical monitor. They blend into each other and have a very quiet quality, I think. The buyer of “Blue Moon” obtains ownership of the work in the same sense as the buyer of, say, a limited edition Picasso print, although reproductions of the same work are readily available.

Ownership of the work is recorded forever on the blockchain. The buyer can also display the work as he wishes – for example, project it on a wall – and can also sell it.

What does O’Donoghue think of digital art?

“We are at the beginning of this new medium and its possibilities. Technology evolves so rapidly that if you don’t engage in it in a positive way, you run the risk of becoming irrelevant or even disappearing.

Fungible effectively means replaceable. Non-fungible means one of a kind, and O’Donoghue always has been.

An exhibition of Hughie O’Donoghue’s new work at Green Fuse NFT in the virtual world of Cryptovoxels will be created as NFT in a virtual gallery. Green Fuse NFT will coincide with the release of the editions on OpenSea. Green Fuse NFT Gallery:[email protected]


Siobhan Hyde for the Graphic Gallery exhibition

Siobhan Hyde for the Graphic Gallery exhibition

Two to see
Crawford Art Gallery

Zurich Portrait Prize 2020

Using paint, photography, resin and embroidery, 26 shortlisted portraits of famous – singer / songwriter Hozier, activist Ailbhe Smyth – and lesser-known individuals – ‘Mrs Ryan in Her Kitchen, Crumlin’, ‘ Max, My Boy ‘,’ Mary Lennon Slicing Apples’, ‘Seamus & Janek’ – by well-known and lesser-known artists, offer a wonderful range of talent.

Online until July 11 at

Dublin Graphic Studio

Five studio members – Gerard Cox, Julie Ann Haines, Matthew Gammon, Siobhan Hyde, Dermot Ryan – select their five favorite prints. Titles such as “Border Kontrol”, “Easky Roost at Dusk”, “Kilternan Blue” and “Strand Rd” convey their range. In Hyde’s boldly colored ‘Flight of the Firebird’, above, a petite figure watches the bird boldly soar towards the sun.

To see online at


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