James O’Hanlon and his wife Louise both have their professional backgrounds in the art world – James as an artist who has exhibited in galleries worldwide and as a tutor, while Louise is a project manager within the creative sphere. They have recently moved to Quillan where they are currently developing a range of art workshops
We met at their house, where they gave me a full tour and I was fortunate enough to see James’ portfolio and look through his fascinating sketchbooks
So Louise, are you happy to be here?
Definitely. We both wanted to live in France and we love this region, its history and its people. And of course the diverse local landscape is fantastic in all weathers
Is that why you chose Quillan?
Yes. We had previously lived in Axat, where we renovated a house. When we decided to set up a business, Quillan felt right because it is lively and it has a year-round creative population as well as lots of visitors. Once we made up our minds it was just a matter of finding the right house
You’re clearly doing a lot of work here
The house has great space and we’re doing most of the work ourselves. We have a studio space on the first floor, and we’re developing a larger top floor space for studio use as well
James, what are the influences in your work?
It’s very diverse. I’m influenced by modernism and contemporary work and I love graphics, poster art, and illustration and photography. I also fascinated by Japanese painting. Having spent the last ten years working in cities around the world producing large works of urban landscape, I’m now now approaching the landscape and natural forms of this region
Can you tell me more about your teaching background?
I’ve worked in schools, colleges and universities, and on numerous Public Art projects. I feel that experience gives an ability to work with people of all ages and abilities. I believe that it’s important to teach technique, as it gives people the tools to get good results and to really enjoy making art. Also I’ve always felt it important to introduce people to lots of artists and mediums
How do the courses run?
We believe that people should feel relaxed and confident. I encourage people to find an approach that suits them. We are in the process of building a number of groups, of no more than five individuals, which allows for one-one tuition and support, and to encourage interaction and sharing of ideas. The workshops run at the moment on Fridays, and are an hour and half long and cost €10 per session. We are also setting up additional sessions throughout the week
For further information on art classes, contact: