I came across this small, old bridge in The Downings in County Donegal in Ireland. The flowers in the foreground really presented a chance to add colour to the scene. There was a mixture of rushes and wild flowers. If there was a stream still flowing under the bridge it was heavily overgrown. There was a marshy feel to the turf underfoot suggesting a bog and the trace of water which must have been here at some stage. The bridge itself looked really old. The stones had weathered creating textures. The background led to sandy dunes and down to a beach out of site of the picture…
Remember the Alamo: watercolour, 30″x 40″
This is the cover artwork for my book, Crossing Borders. The image is accompanied by a poem Recreational Rioting and is about the macho nature of street riots in the early 1970s in Derry, N.Ireland. The riots would sometimes be suspended so that rioters could go home to watch something good on TV. In this case The Alamo, the movie starring John Wayne…
Crossing Borders by Joe Campbell a new collection of Landscapes and poetry, published by Guildhall Press, Price: £11.95
Available from http://www.ghpress.com
“Joe Campbell said his cancer diagnosis was the catalyst for Crossing Borders, a collection of his poems and paintings produced over the past 20 years and more,that makes you inclined to read and look in a certain way, to see this work as a summation, to consider it in a fading light.
And that might make you judge it with a patronising sentimentality it doesn’t deserve. There is a coolness and distance in the beauty of the work, but also an intense belonging. This is a man who grew up in Derry with the “malevolent background grind” of army helicopters above him, but who recognised the youth of the soldiers who searched him and wanted to break down the barriers which held people apart. This collection is personal, political, intense, honest, and uncertain. There is humour and waste and an acknowledgement of failings. And there is a sense of the absurd right next to a yearning for more important things, and all the while Davy Crockett rides around and says it’s cool for cats. Campbell’s work is urgent, removed, and beautiful…”
Dominic Kearney, Irish News.
Crossing Borders is a debut collection of poems by artist Joe Campbell. A unique tapestry of beautiful images and honest experience, it is an artist’s view of life. It is also deeply personal. Described by Campbell himself as “more like painting with words than creating verse” the poetry deals with difficult, stark, life experiences such as: cancer; the troubles and bereavement and juxtaposes verse with paintings gleaned from over twenty years of professional work.
Born and reared in his native city of Derry, Campbell’s painting also reflects a deep sense of place. The images are portraits of a city and its hinterland and pay homage to its natural beauty. The collection is a blend, with poems that draw on history, distant memory and emotion and with paintings that seek to provide a visual respite and establish an empathy and common ground with the reader.Crossing Borders is above all human, deeply rooted in real life experience, a collection born out of trauma.
This is a portrait of my late father. This portrait is featured in my Book, Crossing Borders published by Guildhall Press. There’s a poem, Last Man Standing that goes with this (also featured in the book) says more than I need to here. The book by the way features Landscapes from Donegal and Derry, portraits and a few other things besides. The book can be ordered from the publisher’s website, www.ghpress.com You can read the poem on my blog: joecampbellcomicart.blogspot.com
Last Man Standing
My Da was the last to go
“I should be boxed like the rest of them,”
He said to me near the end
I would catch glimpses of him in those last days
Across lanes of traffic,
Out of the side window of my car
A small white-haired man
Every step soft and sore
Limping down for milk
“That’s my Da!” I thought
Not the giant that bestrode my boyhood
Not the quiet man behind my mother
Not the athlete with the All-Ireland medals of his youth
Not the man who wrote letters to the bereaved offering his sympathy
Not the friend who never questioned my point of view
Not the man who never complained about the loneliness
But the one left behind
The last man standing