Artist profile - Eamonn Murphy
PUBLISHED: 00:00 27 April 2020 | UPDATED: 08:53 27 April 2020
Digital artist Eamonn Murphy has a passion for architectural imagery that has brought him an enthusiastic following
Stockport resident Eamonn Murphy is a man of many talents. His latest passion – digitally created artworks of Cheshire’s towns and cities – have garnered quite a fan base and have been reproduced in sizes from postcard upwards for locals who love them and huge corporations wanting to celebrate the location they have chosen.
Eamonn took a foundation course in fine art, before progressing to a degree in graphic design and started his working life as a graphic designer in his hometown of Chester.
“After a few years I started to become interested in the impact that visual design could have on business performance,” he says, “so I went back to college to study business. Having completed that study I then got involved in information technology, right around the time of the first personal computers, which I became absolutely fascinated with – the very first Apple, the Commodore Pet, those kind of devices – it was fascinating the potential they had to change the way people worked and communicated. “At that time the visual capabilities of those machines were extremely limited. I carried on working in the IT industry but kept my hand in visual communications in different ways. I was still selling artworks, doing commissions here and there, design work – a mix of commercial design and purely creative. As time went on we began to see a convergence of technology and visual communication – what we used to call multimedia, the facility to display high quality photographs or moving images on a computer screen – and this fascinated me even more as it brought together the two passions I had developed.
“In the mid-2000s I started to focus on the artistic aspect of what I was doing and presenting what most people would see as graphic design as art. I was trying to elevate graphics, and particularly digitally produced graphics, as an art form.
“People find that still quite difficult to accept; they’ll say it’s not real art, because there’s no paintbrushes involved. But it’s even more demanding, and I know because I paint too. The skill that is required to be developed and involved is that much more complex. It’s not as fluid, but for me that’s part of the beauty. I like the crispness, the quality of line that can be produced and that’s what I’m interested in – the geometry of things. That’s what’s drawn me to buildings.”
In 2016 Eamonn mounted an exhibition at Stockport War Memorial Art Gallery, featuring many of the town’s most iconic buildings. It was very successful and drew him to the attention of Stockport Council. “I hate it, but the power of social media is irrefutable,’ he laughs. “A councillor, someone who had responsibility for local economy and regeneration, saw a post of my work and wanted to use my images to promote some of their key assets – the museums and such – and we’ve done work together ever since. I am currently working on the Underbanks project – an area that has potential to be a huge tourist attraction.
“Before this I did a project with Community Rail Partnership, that looks after the volunteers. I produced around 70 images, two for each station along the Crewe to Manchester line and then Manchester to Buxton.”
We’re sitting in the social area of Stockport’s new Mercedes dealership, their largest in Europe. The walls of the café and seating area are filled with vast canvasses, all works by Eamonn, commissioned by Mercedes when they built their glass-walled spaceship-like dealership on the M60.
“They approached me,” he says. “They did their research about local artists and different styles and then asked me to create a series of images of Stockport’s skyline and buildings, to fill pretty much all the wall space available. Because this is digital art it can be created to be printed at vast size, with absolutely no loss of resolution. Every line is as crisp on these as it is when I draw it in.
“I get quite a lot of commercial commissions. I have done work for property developers such as Orbit in Stockport, for some solicitors’ offices, for the Light Cinema in Stockport... It’s public – sharing stuff in a big way. I am not doing it to sell prints, although people can of course buy prints online – I have created a number of collections, from The Heatons to Cinemas and a considerable Cheshire selection.
“I have done a couple of makers’ markets too; I really enjoyed the interaction with customers and future work was driven by their feedback, by what they’re telling me about favourite buildings.
“It’s nice just to share my stuff, to have people enjoy it.”
So, where next for this man who harnesses the power of digital design to create unmistakeable imagery of our most iconic buildings?
“I am a Chester boy. I grew up there and really want to go back and do more there.
“I am however so, so proud of my adoptive town, and its recent resurgence, so I am pretty busy here.”