What an art process

Post by John-Paul Delaney

[ed. note: Delaney’s post refers back to this earlier post. The artist is part of the online art community Art Process.]

Hello again Roberta, I just wanted to say I’m grateful for your kind mentioning of ArtProcess (and my own work) on Artblog, PW, and in your email. I was so surprised to see the image of that green thing I did and you saying you liked my stuff that it brought me back almost 20 years when I had my last show.


That was in 1988, just before leaving Ireland. I lived on the top floor of a disused children’s hospital. Knowing it was time to quit the country, I just covered my living space along with all it’s contents and studio in a coat of white paint so it seemed like frozen in time. I then hung works I had done there, got the arts council involved to pay for invites, and had a real fun exhibition.

The show was called “Is Your Life Worth a Painting” – a line taken from a song of quirky US punk band The Butthole Surfers. (top image is the green-painted sculpture Delaney’s talking about.)

After that I traveled in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and India (I twice applied for a visa to go visit the US but they refused – no bum artists allowed!) finally settling here in Roma, the least likely place for a painter like me where the weight of the Really Big Stars of art history govern.


(images above and below are the before an after shots of Dalaney’s apartment makeover piece)

Furthermore, your and Libby’s line of attack really appealed to me – giving art to the people etc., maintaining a healthy sense of humour and a sardonic commentry on the art business, promotion of a community. I’ve not taken this approach as well as you do, but in past exhibitions, I’ve given works away instead of selling. In one I took over the gallery for a month painting the walls, then opened for a “Closing” for one night and the following day the walls were scraped and repainted white. For that last show, I just walked away from the hospital, leaving all the works there in those white rooms. I’ve no idea what happened to them.

Anyway, the point of this message (before I got carried away) was to say that the real value I got out of exhibiting was not the possibility of sales, nor the reaction of the public – but rather the judgement of my peers. The success (or failure) of a show, in my eyes, depended on the critical analysis of fellow art-workers who would tackle the same issues in different ways, and hence were in the best position to decide on the quality of my attempts. And maybe in this vein (many years later) ArtProcess has come about – the process of art, for and by artists. Regards.

–John Paul Delaney is an Irish artist based in Rome.