Maria Kerin, Artist, Mrua/artist-to-artist studios, Monreal North, Ennistymon, County Clare, Ireland

A trans-disciplinary artist, Maria Kerin has worked on projects in Ireland and at the wider European level. Maria tells Creative Edge about the importance of the embodied creativity process to her work, along with other influences on her art, such as where she gains inspiration and the unique aspects of her creativity.

Who are you, where are you located and where do you work from?

Live performance at SALT exhibition in Tallinn, Estonia. 2012.
Photo by Maeve Collins

Maria Kerin, Mrua/artist-to-artist Studios, Monreal north, Ennistymon, Co.Clare, Ireland and also based part-time at 8 Emajoe, Tartu, Estonia.

Do you have employees? If so, how many work in your business?

As an artist I often work with others. Over the years some have been from Clare, and different parts of Ireland, with others from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Sweden, Wales and England. I’ll be working  with others from Iceland in September. For European projects and Arts Council projects for different County Councils where I work as mentor/advisor/project manager, I get to hire other artists to do projects. Also as an ‘Outrider Artist’, which is an artist- led initiative between friends, we work on projects that allow us to fund other artists and hire them for workshops etc.

What is unique about what you do?

As a trans-disciplinary artist, I am interested in the embodied creativity process to create movement-lead participatory events through co-alignment. I’m also very interested in peer to peer sharing with European artists, creating exchanges trans-locally, and organising exhibitions and residencies in my home in rural Clare and in Estonia, where I often visit, setting up new models for engagement outside of institutionalised capitalist systems. I also use my creative approach to project manage cultural events for County Council arts offices here and abroad.

Red Line, Raadi Airport – Live performance by Maria Kerin .
Photo by Michael Walsh


Is your location important to your creativity?

Having grown up in the rural farming environment of the Burren in County Clare, the time line of nature and its rhythms are intrinsic to my own well-being and awareness of living. The beautiful rural setting of my home outside Ennistymon is inspirational to my state of mind, relaxing me and offering me food for the senses, listening, smelling, touching and feeling growth all around me. All this informs how I look at the world and interact in it as an artist. There is a very distinct rural aesthetic that informs my practice and gives me a distinctive creative style.

What inspires you? Do you have creative role models?

Artists who have made their own pathways are going in to the unknown. After my M.A. in Contemporary Dance Performance from the University of Limerick (UL), I moved to Ennistymon in 2006 to train with the artist Antoinette Spillane, who sadly passed away this January. Joan Davies of Maya Lila is another leader in trans-disciplinary dance in Ireland. Mary Nunan of UL and Italian dancer Elena Gionnotti are always a joy and inspiration to watch move. Evelyn Muursepp of Moks, Estonia in her embodied drawing is inspirational and I have the pleasure of working with her next. The French sound artist Tomas Tilly is definitely a role model in how he creates sound art, dealing with space and the place in-between. Listening to my friend Fiona O’Dwyer talk about materials is totally inspirational too!

How did you learn and acquire the skills you use to make your business successful, and how do you continue to grow and learn?

Political HEARTwork – Participatory movement/mobile phone site specific performance with 8 artists in Ennistymon, Co.Clare, 2011.
Photo by Marianne Slevin

What I learned most in my time doing a degree in Business Studies at UL was “not to shilly shally around in middle management” as advised by Jim Boylan, marketing lecturer. Instead…travelling…listening to people…trusting people, observing differences, being more aware of my strengths and my weaknesses. Sharing has been learned from my family and the rural upbringing based around teamwork, gained from working on a farm. Playing team sports, most particularly sailing, where one’s role is clearly defined. Delegating to the person most suited to that particular role, singing to one’s strengths, and focusing on ongoing learning. Paddy Graham says that in creativity less is more. Growing means attracting opportunities to expand creatively and engage with others trans-nationally. This offers huge learning opportunities, personally and creatively. Arvo Part says you have to love every single note.

What is your biggest business challenge?

Sustainability of my true creative practice, that is research and process led. So the challenge is to find ways to fund that without compromising to become a product led practice that meets others requirements.

What are your plans for the future?

I’d like to create more trans-disciplinary art and dance with others across Europe and find funding for process led research projects. I’d like to expand my business/art sharing skills into being a European matchmaker for European creative partnerships. To work with other artists in Europe and abroad using embodied creativity as a portal to co-alignment and new outcomes. To develop embodied creativity practice for festivals and workshops in Europe.

If you had to do it over again, what, if anything, would you do differently?

I would have documented more of the journey on the internet. A better web presence would remind me personally and others of the steps I’ve been taking.

To connect with Maria, or read more about Maria’s work see:

 Watch and listen to Maria explain her work on embodied movement: