Artist in Profile: Maurice Fitzgerald

MFirzgerald - Dublin New York hybrid

You may not realise it but you probably know Maurice Fitzgerald’s work by sight. If you’ve had friends or relations visit from abroad, and they’ve played the tourist around town, they may well have returned to their homes with a souvenir postcard bearing his artwork.

Maurice is the founding artist and general manager of the Maurice Fitzgerald Gallery, located in the George’s Street Arcade on South Great George’s Street. The Gallery showcases his own artwork and also the work of the Ukrainian artist Ludmilla Karol.

The form is appropriate to the setting, modelled as a market-type stall rather than an enclosed presentation space.

Maurice is a unique artist in his own right. He is a self-taught draughtsman (scale drawings) who decided to become a full-time artist in 2002, following on from years spent as a renovator and restorer of old houses. He also spent years in the sign-painting business, prefiguring his current occupation on the arty side of things.
He started drawing after a tumultuous time in his personal life. “My youngest son had a brain haemorrhage in 2002, and then there was an accident. A truck came off the road and ploughed through my mother’s house. She was in the USA at the time or she might have been killed. I always had creative ambitions. I thought I would eventually write a book or a novel but my sister beat me to it.” Maurice’s sister Lorna Byrne is the author of mystical bestseller Angels in my Hair.

“So on September 17th of that year, it all got a bit too emotional for me and for some reason I sat down to draw, really for the first time in my life. Now I feel like I have to draw. I can’t not do it.”

This spontaneous emergence of talent took a specific form which further marked Maurice out from the crowd. He has a totally unique ambidextrous drawing style. He very lightly holds his pen in his right hand, with index, second, third finger and thumb, and steers the drawing action partly with the aid of his left hand. When he works live at the Gallery, there is a certain stop-and-stare factor among the viewing public. You might say his drawing method draws them in.

“The Gallery has been up and running for about six years now. I’m perfectly happy with it as it is and have no plans to move or expand it,” he explained.

There’ll often be someone on site, working on a picture or happy to discuss a given artwork. “I’m often there on a weekday and we’re open seven days a week, so people should feel free to drop by. You might find me working on a landscape. I do these for pleasure between commissions.”

By Ruairi Conneely