Six questions for
Elinor O’Donovan

Tique asks six questions to an artist about their work and inspiration.
This week: Elinor O’Donovan.

Artist Elinor O’Donovan
Lives in Cork, Ireland

How do you describe your own art practice?

I’m a visual artist whose practice spans film, sculpture, digital collage, drawing, and installation. I’m interested in pop culture and its effect on memory and knowledge and how different thoughts and ideas cross-pollinate. Play is very important to me. I’m trying to bring more playfulness into my life through my practice.

Which question or theme is central in your work?

My work tries to find humour in the blurred line between fact and fiction. In my practice, I often try to question the unreliability of knowledge and collective memory. How do the cultural products a person consumes inform their worldview? How much of what we know is propped up by poorly-remembered facts, uninformed stories, and works of fiction?

What was your first experience with art?

Playing in a cardboard box that my mum painted to look like a house, sewing embroidery flowers with my granny, making my younger sisters act in movies filmed on our home camcorder. When I was thirteen, I made music videos with the Sims 3 and uploaded them to YouTube and if I really think about it, they’re not too dissimilar from the kind of work I make now – mashing different aspects of popular culture together.

What is your greatest source of inspiration?

Because my work references a lot of different forms of culture, such as old episodes of the Simpsons, pop music, and internet memes, I draw a lot of inspiration from the banks of slightly useless information stored in my memory. Bringing these pieces of information together for me does a similar function as telling a joke to a group of friends, where you make references to inside anecdotes that they understand, building a shared world and then changing it to create a punchline. The reason you do this is the same reason that I make work; to make my friends laugh.

What do you need in order to create your work?

A space to work in and time to do nothing in it. Also, other people. It’s like how Kurt Vonnegut describes sex in the fourth dimension in ‘Slaughterhouse Five’: “there could be no Earthlings without male homosexuals. There could be babies without female homosexuals. There couldn’t be babies without women over sixty-five years old. There could be babies without men over sixty-five”, etc. It’s like that for me but with making work: I’m always grateful to have lots of people around because they influence the work just by being there.

What work or artist has most recently surprised you?

The last thing that blew my mind was ‘17776’ by Jon Bois and SB Nation.

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