New Art Gallery in Ballsbridge

Charles Hulgraine 'Boland's Mill'

With family in Irishtown, artist Charles Hulgraine has always had a strong connection with Dublin 4.

“I lived in Ballsbridge all my early life and went to school on Haddington Road and in Ringsend Tech.” So, when he decided to open his own gallery, there was really no question as to where. “My Dad’s old builders yard became available beside Ballsbridge Post Office. My aspiration for years was to open a Gallery there in the middle of my favorite part of Dublin.

“I like the idea of an out-of-city Gallery from the conventional Grafton Street gallery zone. Ballsbridge has all the complements of city coffee shops, restaurants, etc., and attracts people in as a shopping hub.”

Charles knew from a young age that art would be a big part of his life. “I was not really interested in sports after the age of 12 or so, and my idea of a good Saturday out was in the National Gallery at nearby Merrion Square… When I went to the ROSC exhibition in the RDS in 1967 art clicked in for me and influenced how I thought from there on to this day.”

A painter, sculptor, fine printer and draughtsman, Charles is a graduate of both DIT and NCAD, who also owns an architecture business. The varied nature of this work means that he can still find some measure of creative freedom. “Schools, conservation works on historical buildings and adapting premises for safe access” are just some of the types of projects his business has undertaken.

Citing Francis Bacon as an influence, Charles works in many media. “I firmly believe that drawing is the fundamental form of Art making – lately I am working with chalks and blackboard. Watercolours have to be the freest form of expression and, in my art, lend themselves to unlimited abstraction. I try to disassemble situations and put them back together as I see them.”

With his artistic eye, Charles sees potential all over Dublin 4. “I find the ESB generators, Shelly Banks, Great South Wall, and Herbert Park and its environs inspirational.”

The Ballsbridge Gallery is on Shelbourne Road, Ballsbridge, and is open on Fridays and Saturdays from 12pm to 3pm.

By Aimée Mac Leod