Ahead of an exciting event with BMW to help launch the brand new BMW X2, we took five minutes with graffiti artist Barry Finnegan to find out what drives him, his inspirations, and a chance encounter with Robert De Niro.
When did you know what you wanted to do for your career?
Since I was very young, I always had a passion for art, and as I grew older and the question "what do you want to do when you grow up" came along, art was the only true heartfelt answer.
What kind of difficulties did you have early in your career?
Coming from a small town, saying you wanted to be an artist wasn't easy. I left my hometown pretty much as soon as I completed my leaving cert. It's very hard indeed to get taken seriously as an artist. I don't believe college was the way to go about it, even though I went to college for a related field. I believe that every artist will find their own style and techniques. Then each piece produced is 100% theirs.
What's the best piece of life advice you've ever received?
Wow, there are plenty, but one I try to abide by is simply "live every day like it's your last".
What has felt like the biggest risk in terms of your career?
Art is always risky. Still is. No guaranteed weekly income which is why I still work part-time.
What has been your biggest failure and what did you get out of it?
I never saw a mistake as a failure, only as a learning exercise. I have plenty of those.
What do you feel has been your biggest success?
I have had a few big breaks in my art career. I was drawing a picture of Robert De Niro from Raging Bull in Madison Square Garden a while ago during a boxing event. I was positioned right beside the ring. De Niro's son, Raphael, ended up buying the piece. The money went to a fantastic charity that supports the families of troops who had passed on and the drawing now hangs in Roberts country estate.
Do you believe in setting goals and, if so, what is your approach (five-year plans? yearly resolutions? vision boards?)
I would have a "five-year plan" as it would go against my "live every day" philosophy but I'm a big fan of making lists. My father's advice, make. List every day and you'll get satisfaction from everything you get done that leads to the simple act of ticking that point off. Kind of like making your bed in the morning when the day ends, no matter how much you did or didn't get done, you thought enough of yourself to have a made bed to come home to. Very comforting and so simple.
What is the element of your work that gives you the biggest buzz?
The eyes. If I can capture an emotion in the eyes, I'm happy. I get involved with the emotion, try to think what that person was thinking at the time.
Do you find the work-life balance thing a struggle?
Definitely, I work mostly at home. It's hard to know when work ends and life begins. A constant struggle for any creative mind I believe.
What personality trait (positive or negative) do you think has helped you achieve your successes?
I don't know this one. Everyone has a positive and negative side. I couldn't pinpoint where anything comes from, but my family and friends support is definitely paramount to why I'm still doing this...
To be the first to experience the all-new BMW X2, pop down to the unique Eatyard on March 9th for the weekend. Join us to be in with a chance of winning €1000 towards your dream and meet Barry himself. BMW supporting those who create their own path #whodares - Enter Now