Ian Darragh

Ian Darragh

New York City, NY, United States

About Ian Darragh

Ian Darragh was a figurative painter who died in January 2008 of Muliple Sclerosis. Please visit his memorial website at www.ian-darragh.com where you can view 1600 images of his work.Born 1959, Ballymena, Northern Ireland Died 2008, New York City, USA Born in Ballymena, Northern Ireland in November 1959, Ian David Darragh was the fifth child of John Darragh, an Assistant Divisional Fire Officer, and Mary Weir. Very little is known about his childhood except for the certainty of his vocation to be an artist, and his apparent fascination with the Circus and horses as witnessed in his earliest known drawings. These are recurring themes throughout his entire body of work. Notable early achievements include winning the Texaco Children's Art Competition in 1974 (he was runner-up in 1975 and 1976) and a prime-time appearance on BBC Northern Irelands Scene Around Six where Ian, the young artist, was presented with an award by the Mayor of Larne. Ian completed a foundation course at Jordanstown College of Art in Northern Ireland before setting off for London at the age of 17. From 1978 to 1981, he attended Hornsey College of Art, part of Middlesex Polytechnic, where he obtained his Bachelors Degree in Fine Art with honors and two special commendations for Art History and Critical Studies. The years 1978 and 1979 brought about the deaths of both his mother and his sister, Colleen, two of his closest family members. These were his last visits to his native land; he maintained only sporadic communication with other members of his family thereafter. In 1981, Ian was accepted by the prestigious Royal College of Art in its three-year printmaking degree program. In 1984, he achieved his Masters Degree of Fine Arts in Printmaking and Painting. While exhibiting some of his work in the Royal College of Art Degree Show in 1984, Ians paintings gained attention and were recieved very favorably by a London Times critic who was reviewing the show. The resulting publicity created a stir as well as a sold-out show - almost immediately his work was picked up by the Mall Galleries in London and subsequently The Nicholas Treadwell Gallery. From that time forward, painting became his major focus although he was always proud of his printmaking work.After graduating from the Royal College of Art, Ian worked as an independent painter in London until 1988. Highlights during this period were a cover and feature article about his work in Art Line International Art News magazine in 1986 as well as exhibitions throughout England and Europe. His career as a painter was flourishing, he was gaining a fine reputation, and he struggled to produce enough artwork to meet the demands of his dealers and patrons. A glorious future seemed in store. In late 1988, Ian suddenly decided to immigrate to the United States to be reunited with an American girlfriend (and future wife), Susan Sears, whom he had met during her visit to London in 1987. During his first year in the United States, he painted and designed sets for the Berkshire Public Theatre. He and Sears married in the Berkshires in Massachusetts, and made plans to relocate to New York City. In 1989, Ian made New York City his permanent home. He loved the city and quickly acclimatized to the lifestyle; he was particularly fond of the East Village with its bohemian atmosphere. He resumed his painting career in a time when the art market in New York had virtually collapsed and figurative painting was out of fashion. He found himself unable to make the same types of connections or generate the same level of demand that had seemed so effortless in London. He became somewhat ambivalent about promoting his work possibly the result of his earlier successes having come so easily. He supplemented his painting income with freelance illustrating for the New York Times Book Review from 1989 to 1994. His marriage ended in late 1994. In 1995 and 1996 after the breakup of his marriage and a subsequent parting with a girlfriend, Ian endured a long period of depression during which he produced very little work. In 1997, he resumed painting with renewed energy and enthusiasm, and had an upcoming solo-exhibition in the works. In this year his divorce became official. In 1998, he was optimistic about his career and future prospects, but a doctor noticed the early signs of Multiple Sclerosis. His dragging leg was a symptom of progressive MS. For the next couple of years, he continued working while taking better care of his health through diet and other natural remedies; his MS progressed at a fairly moderate pace, resulting in the need for a cane to assist him walking. During this time he had some success exhibiting in Europe - the only place he felt his work was truly appreciated, having concluded that his work was too old-world for New York.By 2001, the effects of the progressing Multiple Sclerosis decreased his overall energy dramatically, resulting in blurred vision and increasing tremors - he p

Education

Ian Darragh: Curriculum VitaeEducation:1981-84Royal College of Art, London England M.F.A., Fine Art, Printmaking/Painting1978-81Hornsey College of Art, (Middlesex Polytechnic), London, EnglandB.A. (Honors), 1st class. Fine Art/Two Special Commendations Art History and Critical Studies1977-78Jordanstown College of Art, Foundation, Belfast, Northern IrelandExhibitions:1980 Stowell's Trophy Exhibition, Royal Academy of Art, London, England1981 Hornsey Degree Show, London, England1982 Graphics from the Royal College of Art, Belgrade, Serbia1982 Young English Printmakers, Sydney, Australia1983 Work in Progress, Royal College of Art, London, England1983-84Sainsbury's Images for Today(prizewinner), Sainsbury Centre and Touring Exhibition, England1984 Royal College of Art Degree Show, London, England1984 Basel International Art Fair, Basel, Switzerland1984 Christie's Inaugural Exhibition, London, England1984 Grandes et Jeunes D'Aujuord'hui, Grand Palais, Paris, France1985 Printmakers at the Royal College of Art, Barbican Centre, London, England1985 Athena International Art Awards, Mall Galleries, London, England1985 Leicestershire Exhibition, Leicestershire, England1985 Bath Art Fair, Bath, England1986London Book Fair, Barbican Centre, London, England1986 Contemporary Arts Society's Art Market, London, England1987 Bath Art Fair, Bath, England1987 Grandes et Jeunes D'Aujuord'hui, Grand Palais, Paris, France1987 Business Art Fair, Islington, London, England1987 Crusade, Aids Benefit Show, London, England1987 La Nuova Maniera, Flaxman Gallery, London, England1987 Paris Art Fair, Paris, France1988 Group Show, Piccadilly Gallery, Cork St., London, England1988 New York Art Fair, New York, USA1988 The Circus Comes to Town, Northern Centre for Contemporary Art, Touring Exhibition, England1990 Group Show, Berkshire Artisans Gallery, Massachusetts, USA1990 Group Show, The Kraine Theatre Gallery, New York, USA1991 Group Show, 288 Elizabeth Street, New York, USA1993 Group Show, Clockwork & Chime Gallery, New York, USA1993-94Group Show, Gedney Farm Gallery, Massachusetts, USA1997 Observances, 55 Mercer Gallery, New York, USA1998 Group Show, 26:21 Gallery, New York, USA1999 Group Show, The Elaine Somers Gallery, Belfast, Northern Ireland2000 Group Show, The James Gallery, Belfast, Northern Ireland2004 Group Show, Fresh Art, Common Ground at Times Square, New York, USA Selected works are in numerous private collectionsIndependent Projects:1989-94Illustrator, Regular contributor to New York Times Book Review1989 Set Designer/Painter, Berkshire Public Theatre, Massachusetts, USA1987 Writer/Researcher, Portrait of David Hockney by Peter Webb, London, Researched juvenilia of David Hockney and gathered thus pieces for use in the book1986 Visiting Lecturer, Hornsey College of Art, London, England, Lectured on painting and printmakingPublications:1984The London Times, Last Days at the RCA, by Michael Sheppard, Mention of artist1985Woman, Design Now-At Home with the Style Setters, 19 January 1985 Edition, Image1985Printmakers at the Royal College of Art, Barbican Fundraising Exhibition book, Pages 34-351986Art Line International Art News, Ian Darragh-Life on the Golden Section, Featured artist of Vol 3 No 6 including cover1986The London Times, Brian Sewell on Whats Wrong with Young Art, Image and mention of artist1986The Observer, London The Art of Living, 26 October 1986 Edition, Image1989-94New York Times Book Review, Various illustrations2003National Multiple Sclerosis Society, The Healing Power of Creativity, 2003 Calendar, June featured artist2003National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Inside MS, October issue, Featured artist2003National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Featured artist on website2005National Multiple Sclerosis Society, 2005 Holiday greeting cardAwards:1974Texaco Childrens Art Competition, Winner Young Adult category, Ireland1975Texaco Childrens Art Competition, Runner-up Young Adult category, Ireland1976Texaco Childrens Art Competition, Runner-up Young Adult category, Ireland1983Sainsbury's Images for Today, Prizewinner,