Stiofan O'Ceallaigh: When They Tell You That You Can't #4 (2016)

Honesty is integrity, and integrity is honesty.

One of the first things that the artist Stiofan O'Ceallaigh ever said to me was that he was not prepared as an artist and as an individual, to do bullshit. He was not prepared to play the game, to dance around the elegant niceties of life. He had made a decision to be true to himself, to be honest with himself and therefore with others. 

He made no apologies for being that truth and honesty. If others couldn't handle that, felt uncomfortable with that, then he was saddened, but as he said, you can't take everyone with you on your path. 

Stiofan O'Ceallaigh: Oh My Darlin' (2016)

Stiofan O'Ceallaigh: Side-on #2 (2017)

Stiofan O'Ceallaigh: Alive and Dead (2017)

That exclamation was startling, revelationary, and endlessly exciting. It changed my life, and it changed the way I saw my life and that of those around me. I have tried to put some of that honesty in place - I'm a work in progress.

Stiofan's work as an artist, is uncompromising in imagery, in title, but also in heart. Stiofan is hard on himself as an artist, and hard on himself as an individual. He is uncompromising, he is honest, and he is open. That can be hard on an individual and I know that it is often particularly hard on him. You leave yourself vulnerable to those with darker intentions, those with more pressing needs, but he wouldn't have it any other way, how could he?

Stiofan O'Ceallaigh: Petal (2016)

Stiofan O'Ceallaigh: Documenting Petal (2016)

Stiofan O'Ceallaigh: Petal - Manchester School of Art (2016)

Stiofan's passion for truth gives a valuable lesson to us all, that honesty to self and the projection of that honesty towards others, is a precious jewel, more precious than what we fill our lives with. 

Honesty is who we really are, rather than who we wish to be, trick ourselves into thinking we are, told we should be, or hope that others will see us to be.

Honesty to self inevitably leads to honesty with others. Not everyone is happy with Stiofan's frankness with self and with artwork, but basically that is their problem, their lack of growth and development, not his.

Stiofan O'Ceallaigh: Petal - Manchester Art Gallery (2016)

Stiofan O'Ceallaigh: Petal - Manchester School of Art (2016)

Stiofan's work, whether in painting, photography, video, digital, poetry, creative writing, and more, is a unique record of one man's journey through the complications of life. It is his record, his diary of events, of the pleasures and traumas of life with others, life with himself, life with his larger community. 

It is not always an easy document for others to see, or indeed for himself, but it was never meant to be. To wear your heart firmly outside of yourself, to allow others to see you naked, whether in celebration or in vulnerability, is one of the bravest stances a creative artist can ever take. It is admirable and it is vital. To be document of self and all that that entails, is to be a real artist, an artist that understands why they are here, and what they have to say.

Stiofan O'Ceallaigh: Self-Objectification #5, from the UNCENSORED series (2016)

Stiofan O'Ceallaigh: Self-Objectification #1, from the UNCENSORED series (2016)

Stiofan O'Ceallaigh: Self-Objectification #2, from the UNCENSORED series (2016)

We are indeed as humans a celebration of vulnerability, but we are also as humans a celebration of connection. We are all in this together, we can never really see ourselves as entirely separate, nor should we. We are not isolated units of commodity, we are not soulless units of consumption, we are an integrated raft of high emotional feeling, we are our heart more than we are our mind.

We are all in this together. If we could only be more honest with ourselves about that fact, honest with those around us, to admit that we need others, that we need connection in order to survive, life would be a hell of a lot easier for us as self and as human community. Honesty is life, honesty is our future.

Stiofan O'Ceallaigh: Bend Over Beside the Roses (2016)

Stiofan O'Ceallaigh: You Don't See Many of Those in Here (2016)

This is why artists like Stiofan are so important. For him to hang on to his honesty, his truthfulness, is paramount. I know that despite upsets and setbacks, Stiofan will never lose that faith with honesty and truth, he can't. It is far too important for himself, but even more so for so many around him - now and in future times.

See and explore Stiofan's work, understand that connection to truthfulness and honesty, and connect with it yourself. Nurture and promote your own honesty. It is the real way forward. This artist has shown that way, and will continue to do so.

Stiofan O'Ceallaigh: 14 pozibilities (2016)

Stiofan O'Ceallaigh: Manos & the Setting Son (2016)

Stiofan O'Ceallaigh: Longing For An Opening (2106)

All work is copyrighted to the artist. Please ask permission before sharing imagery. Thank you.