Vincent Crotty is an Irish-born artist living in Boston. Regarded for his landscape and figurative paintings, Vincent explores the places and faces of both Atlantic coasts as his primary subject matter. Working with oils, he paints with rugged textures and vigorous brushstrokes, balanced by sensitive color. His paintings reveal a remarkable understanding of light, and with this ability, Vincent transforms everyday subject matter into images that are memorable and moving.
“One of my earliest childhood memories,” Vincent recalls, “long before I could talk, is of sitting in a pram (baby stroller) and watching the sunshine make patterns of light on the kitchen wall. I was mesmerized. I have always been especially sensitive to light and color.”
Painting from life as often as he can, Vincent’s plein air approach creates a feeling of spontaneity and ease in his work. His paintings tell a story, convey vivid moods, and depict an immediate sense of place and time. His paintings of Boston and New England towns celebrate the often-overlooked, gritty corners of urban American life. In Ireland, he captures the silvery gleam of wet galvanized roofs, and bursts of winter sunshine illuminating the wild landscape. With a style that is loose and fresh, he works from intuition and inspiration, expressing a highly individual vision in contemporary representational painting.
Born and raised in Kanturk, County Cork, a small town in southwest Ireland, Vincent began painting at age seven, inspired by his mother’s interest in art and the beauty of his natural surroundings. After secondary school, he spent five long years working in a factory, during the bleak economic conditions of Ireland in the 1980s.
Vincent then turned to painting at age 22 with a fierce commitment, as he says, “to make my living — one way or another — with paint.” Leaving his factory job, he studied sign painting and interior decorating at Fás, a trade school in Cork City, Ireland. This training, under instructors Noel McKenna and Gerry Fitzgibbon, gave him an understanding of the basics of paint chemistry and the fundamentals of drawing. In addition to Fás, he sought out one-on-one study with the well-known West Cork sign painter Tomás Tuipéir. From this experience, he mastered the old-world skill of painting free-hand letters, Celtic designs, and evocative pictorial signs.
Vincent explains, “My background in trade school has given me a hands-on approach rather than a cerebral one. Being self-employed has forced me to follow my here-and-now instincts as an artist. I take a fearless approach and slap on paint liberally. I harness happy accidents.”
In 1990, with an enormous appetite for learning, Vincent immigrated to Boston to seek out further art training. In the Boston area, he has studied intensively with John Kilroy and Paul Rahilly. He has attended the Scottsdale Artists School in Arizona on several occasions, studing with Mark Daily and David Leffel. He has also traveled widely to pursue plein air painting, taking workshops with T. Allen Lawson, Kevin MacPherson, Matt Smith, and the internationally acclaimed marine artist John Stobart.
Vincent has exhibited paintings in over 40 one-man shows and dozens of group exhibits. Galleries currently showing his work include: Aisling Gallery (Hingham, Massachusetts), Green Lane Gallery (Dingle, Ireland), Kensington-Stobart Gallery (Salem, Massachusetts), Lorica Artworks (Andover, Massachusetts), and the Maritime Gallery at Mystic Seaport (Mystic, Connecticut.) He also presents shows in Kanturk, Ireland, and at Dorchester Open Studios, in Boston.
Vincent’s reputation as a teacher is growing in New England. He now offers workshops at the Duxbury Art Association (Duxbury, Massachusetts), Fort Point Studio School (Boston), and at the Catskills Irish Arts Week (East Durham, New York). In addition, he has given several portrait demonstrations in the Harvard University Art Museums.
Selected awards include:
- “Best In Show” from the Duxbury Art Association Winter Juried Show, Duxbury, Massachusetts (2008)
- Tuition Scholarship to study with Mark Daily at the Scottsdale Artist School (2006)
- “Award for Excellence in Plein Air Painting” from the John Stobart Foundation, Boston (2001)
- “First Prize for Oil Painting” at the Milton Art Association, Milton, Massachusetts (1999)
- “First Prize for Drawing” from the Duxbury Art Association, Duxbury, Massachusetts (1998)
Vincent’s commissioned portrait of Irish poet Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill hangs in the Irish Collection in the Burns Library, Boston College. His large-scale painting called “Side Couples Swing” was commissioned by the Irish Cultural Centre of New England in 2007 and is on display in the Centre’s permanent collection. His portrait of Irish traditional singer Sean Keane is featured as the cover on Keane’s album “You Got Gold.”
In addition to painting, Vincent occasionally spearheads interior decorating projects. He has designed and painted both the interior and exterior decor for several popular restaurants in the Boston area, including Tasca (in Brighton), Shanti (Dorchester), and Goody Glover’s (Boston’s North End). He also completed a major interior painting renovation of St. Mark’s Church in Dorchester.
Vincent lives with his wife, dancer Kieran Jordan, in Dorchester.