Before Eva Kelly’s Art Residency to Red Hook at De-Construkt, she knew very little about the history and contemporary setting of the area. Mainly associated it with A View from the Bridge, by American playwright Arthur Miller and reading some articles about how it has changed from a troubled area in the past to current gentrification developments.

As an illustrator interested in reportage and creating strong visual narratives, Red Hook proved to be a place rich in inspiration for Eva’s work.

During her art residency, the idea was to create work based on the theme of the flâneur. The concept of flâneur comes from the French noun meaning “saunterer” or “stroller,” which Eva encompasses in her work by exploring the urban environments of Brooklyn and Manhattan and recording the experience through her illustrations. This concept gave Eva a number of interesting ideas for her practical work with the focus on the individual’s experience of the everyday in an urban environment. This included “How does the individual experience the everyday? How to depict this in my work?”

During her time in the residency, she focused much of her work on the defining features of Red Hook - its history in the shipping industry; neighborhood staples such as Fairway and Rita Cafe, where she spent many of her mornings for breakfast; and an American culture seen only so vividly by a visitor - as well as locations around Union St., downtown Brooklyn, and midtown Manhattan. Allowing the element of surprise, of the unexpected to occur by drawing whatever she found or focused on that particular area of Red Hook.

Distinctive in Eva’s work is the energetic mark making of ink and pen to convey a sense of atmosphere and to show a snap shot of everyday life. Making Marks involved a series of reportage drawings and visually communicated the overall impression gained from this unique experience. Also the residency involved show casing this project in collaboration with the DE-CONSTRUKT zine Rose Point Mag co-produced by Francesca Tirpak. 

ABOUT Eva Kelly

Eva Kelly is a Dublin based free¬lance illustrator and educator. She completed an MA in Visual Arts Education in 2012 from NCAD and MA in Illustration with distinction in 2017 from University of Hertfordshire. ‘My illustration is about visual commentary that reflects observations from everyday life, people’s interactions, interiors and exteriors features. The idea is to create a strong sense of place and stories in each image. She is interested in elevating daily scenes and showing new ways to look at the ordinary, a celebration of the everyday.’