Vanessa Power (Signs of Power) is a sign painter and visual artist based in Dublin. From traditional storefronts to contemporary works on glass, she has had her work exhibited in Ireland, the UK and the US.

‘ME AUL FLOWER’, Mural, Smithfield, Dublin.

Where did you spend quarantine?

In my home in Dublin 8, by myself.

Did you have access to a studio during this time? If not, how did you continue to create work?

I created a makeshift studio in my kitchen. It’s the room with the best light in the house. I used to work from the spare room upstairs before I rented a studio. It’s now a spare bedroom and I put a carpet down. No way could I paint in a room with a carpet, it would get destroyed! The kitchen worked out great. It did mean that meals were eaten on the couch over lockdown as the kitchen table was full of paint, brushes, white spirits and the rest.

‘Yes’, Original Artwork on Glass, 2019. Photo credit: Eoin Holland

Did you experiment with any new materials or methodologies?

I made an easel out of a plank of wood resting on tins of paint. I will definitely use that again in the studio for larger glass pieces. I also got to paint a certain neon effect I had wanted to try out for some time. I also had an idea for a joke showcard so I was grateful to have the time to paint that. I ended up doing a competition on Instagram to give it away which was fun.

A methodology that really helped me with productivity over lockdown was working on multiple pieces at a time. As one was drying I could work on another. As working solely on one piece I can easily lose interest. And I tried to keep to a normal working schedule during lockdown. Get up at the same time, get showered and dressed as if I was going into the studio and try to do a full day’s work. I would also go for a walk in the morning to trick myself into thinking I was going out to the studio. It did manage to get me motivated in the morning.

Given the limitations and restrictions of the last few months, did your art making process change at all? If so, do you think this will continue to change how you will make art going forward?

I was lucky I could move all of the materials I needed out of the studio and into my kitchen studio over lockdown. So I had everything I needed for my process to continue as it was in the studio. It was nearly easier to be honest as I had quick access to a sink. I did enjoy the freedom to think of new ideas and paint whatever came to mind and not be restricted by client briefs. So I hope to set aside time for more personal projects in between client work. 

Do you have any upcoming projects?

I have some nice projects coming up. I’ll admit, I wasn’t sure how it would all turn out after lockdown but I feel blessed to have some nice jobs and commissions lined up now. However, I was told by a veteran signwriter not to get too excited about a project until the paint is going on the wall!

All photographs were provided by Vanessa Power unless otherwise stated. To see more of Vanessa’s work visit her website and Instagram.