Emily Vance photo - Owen O’Carroll’s ink-works inspired by his career as a professional musician are on display at Qualicum Art Supply & Gallery.

Parksville artist displays works inspired by a career in music

Owen O’Carroll’s ink works on display at Qualicum Art Supply & Gallery

Owen O’Carroll spent the better part of two decades touring the world as an ensemble musician for some of the world’s biggest pop stars. Now he’s transitioned into a less taxing art form – but he still draws inspiration from music and the people he’s met along the way.

His ink works are one of the latest exhibits on display at the Qualicum Art Supply & Gallery on First Ave in Qualicum Beach.

O’Carroll first transitioned into figurative portraits following his music career (he worked with Bette Midler, Tom Waits, Kenny Rogers and more). He drew portraits for about a decade before getting a bit frustrated with that style.

“I was in my studio, just looking at it and getting a little frustrated and some little voice said – ‘why don’t you learn how to draw? Why don’t you look into that?’ And that’s as simple as it was,” said O’Carroll.

That burst of intuition has lead him into a new passion for lines and angles.

Despite being drawn using predominately straight lines, his works somehow manage to be quite gentle and emotive.

READ MORE: From fishing to florals: Qualicum Beach artist serves up realistic acrylics

“Some of these pictures I’ve been told people would look at them, and the longer they look, they come away feeling peaceful. Which is really nice,” said O’Carroll.

“There’s whimsy there, there’s some bittersweet… The more I did of these the more I said ‘they do look soft, they look gentle.’”

The pieces verge on the abstract, and O’Carroll says he’s drawn some inspiration from Picasso’s cubism phase.

However, he mostly just createsoriginals from his own mind to try and create a different type of art from the norm.

He starts with pencil and eraser, then moves to ink.

Precision matters in pieces like this, that rely so heavily on angles for their form and feel.

“If I make any kind of an obvious mistake, it’s going to be damn hard to cover up. And usually it means starting again,” said O’Carroll.

He’s primarily inspired by music and people, but he also does boats and abstracts.

Though he loved his career as a musician, the constant touring wore him down and caused him to give it up after almost 18 years on the road. The beat of the songs still remain, though, and inspire his work.

“Musicians and music is always in my head. No matter – I’ve given it up for years now but it’s there. It’s there. I’m just glad I have an outlet to carry on and do something,” said O’Carroll.

“It’s working. For me, and my mental health, and my enjoyment – it really does work.”

His pieces will be on display at Qualicum Art Supply & Gallery through the rest of November and into December.

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