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.