Working by using the medium of airbrushing, Donegal based artist Ciarán Dunlevy makes impressive, photorealistic art that covers the entire side of buildings. Today we meet and after admiring the breathtaking view from his cottage, Ciarán tells how he started with his art and how True-Light daylight lamps support him during his art process:  
“I remember my first introduction to art like it was yesterday,” Ciarán tells. “When I was five years old, I browsed through an encyclopedia and immediately stopped when my eye fell on the word ‘art’. I saw impressive cave paintings in black and white and the whole afternoon I spend my time researching different art styles. At that moment it just clicked; I wanted to become an artist.”
Introduction to airbrushing through motorcycles
“I asked Santa for different kinds of paper, pencils and colours and started practicing. I experimented a lot with mixing colours and materials and practiced my drawing skills. When I was about fifteen years old, I walked past a bar where quite a few motorcycles were parked. The bikes had beautiful art on the sides and I was really impressed by it. I walked into the bar and asked the bikers how the art was made. They told me about the airbrushing technique and that was the first time I heard about this artform.”
First airbrush session
“I bought my first airbrush in a little art store in Barcelona where I also met David Naylor by pure coincidence. He can paint super realistic paintings and is a real inspiration for me. I wanted to take airbrushing lessons, but airbrushing wasn’t popular yet so I couldn’t get lessons in Ireland. David arranged that I could take art lessons from the best airbrush artists in the world and therefore I was able to develop myself as an artist.”
Happy little accidents 
“Nevertheless, I decided to go to art college in Galway. This is where I learned a lot about modern- and abstract art, but not so much about the technical aspect of art. Thus, I started to experiment and over time I developed my own unique process and style. My art is really in harmony with nature. This hyper realistic portrait of David Bowie for example, is something I made with my airbrush. To make photorealistic art you must be aware of your own surroundings, perceptions and habits. How you judge or see things, can affect your view and make the art work less realistic. The colours around the portrait are made by the lake. The water, stones and wind made the paint flow over the canvas and left different kinds of spots. Happy little accidents that create something new and unique.”
Largescale wall art
“My auntie Veronica introduced me to largescale wall art. She lived in America for years and told me about big artworks on the walls of buildings. I was really fascinated by these gigantic paintings and asked all the companies in my hometown if I could paint their walls. That’s how I started and nowadays companies ask me if I would like to make art on their walls. An art piece I’m very proud of is a large painting at a river where many suicides take place. When you walk down to the river, you now see my artwork and I hope it changes the energy in a positive way.”
Message behind my art
“Many people are disconnected from their indigenous past these days. I think our country should be celebrated. Therefore, I love to paint Irish mythology, because most of the time people don’t even know that the mythological story that I paint, is about their hometown. Also, not so long ago I made a hyper realistic wall painting of an old photograph of an Irish town. People were walking by and started to tell stories from their past by looking at the artwork. My goal is to reconnect Irish people with their past, give them a reason for conversation and make their day a bit more beautiful and brighter.”
True-Light brings my art to a higher standard 
“Four years ago, I moved to a cottage in Donegal. Here I had very little light and right lighting is a crucial element to make hyper realistic art. When I was searching for a solution, Eddie Wouters, one of the best hyperrealist artists in the world, told me that he uses True-Light daylight lamps in his studio. I bought these lamps and they work absolutely brilliant. When you paint underneath the True-Light daylight lamps, the colours are really the same as when you bring the painting outside. I can now see all the details and the light allows me to bring my artwork to a higher standard. True-Light lamps really are the best lights for hyper realistic painting.”
Future plans
“Now I live almost off-grid in my cottage, I’m incredibly happy. I can do more of the work I enjoy to do, because I don’t need money for rent and other things. My future plan is to make a big shed at the side of my cottage and turn it into my own art studio. It would be an absolute dream to have a place of my own where I can paint my largescale pieces."

Do you want to know more about the work of Ciarán Dunlevy? Check out his website:
The lamps in the photo’s: 36 watt LED panel 120x30cm  
Text: Elise Spiering