Going back to the roots of his inspiration

Ross Stewart will open an exhibition titled “Where do you belong” in Cill Rialaig Artist Centre in Kerry next month. The exhibition will run from May 4 to June 13 and explores the concept of belonging and a sense of place. Most of Ross’ work is inspired by the land as he feels a great connection with the land.

Ross Stewart will open an exhibition titled “Where do you belong” in Cill Rialaig Artist Centre in Kerry next month. The exhibition will run from May 4 to June 13 and explores the concept of belonging and a sense of place. Most of Ross’ work is inspired by the land as he feels a great connection with the land.

“My work is abstract and landscape based. Most of my paintings start from the landscape but develop organically into an abstract shape. I try to get a glimpse into the atmosphere of the land rather than focus on the detail. A lot of the work in this exhibition is based on the hills and the mountains and the cliffs and landscape of Kerry.

“The title of the exhibition is ‘Where do you Belong’. I belong in Ireland. I went to Portland for eight months in 2010 and 2011 and I tried to get inspiration over there but surrounded by glass and concrete I found it very difficult to find that inspiration. This exhibition returns to the pure, organic Irish landscape. I suppose it was getting the city living ourt of my system and the artificality that can go with it. Although I enjoyed my time in Portland it was not very artistically inspiring. This exhibition is about the realisation that I will always be inspired by the mountains and the rivers and the sea shores. I lot of this inspiration can also be seen in the work we do in Cartoon Saloon,” he added.

Ross was art director for the Secret of Kells which gained numerous awards and was received really well in America. Irish actor Brendan Gleeson was the voice over for Brendan in the Secret of Kells. The film also received great acclaim within animation, film and art worlds. It was nominated for an Oscar the same year it was released.

The same year, at the Oscars Ross was introduced to Chris Butler, an English man developing his own feature film in Laika. He was headhunted to be the lead creative director on a film being produced by English man Chris Butler in Canada who was developing his own feature film. He began doing concepts and visual development for the company from Ireland while waiting for his Visa to come through.

Ross spent a year in Portland doing conceptual and visual development and basically designing the world of Paranorman – buildings, sets, homes, streets and clouds. He was asked to stay on for a further year but decided to return to Ireland – hence the name of his current exhibition. “It is a Stopmotion film about a little boy who saves his town from a zombie attack and can talk to ghosts . The work I did over there was so alien and I had to go out of my natural habitat so it was wonderful to get back to where I get my inspiration from,” he added.

Ross is currently working on concepts and visual development for the next film from Cartoon Saloon – Song by the Sea (by Tomm Moore). “The concepts are very much focused on the Irish landscape and they travel from one side of the country to the other. I would have done a lot of conceptual work on that journey,” he said. Later this year Ross will be co-directing a segment for a big Hollywood Feature called The Prophet.

With the help of Noelle Campbell Sharpe, Ross will exhibit his “Where do you belong?” exhibition at Cill Rialaig Artist Retreat Centre, Ballinskellig, Co. Kerry