“There isn’t a sinner in the world that doesn’t have a very strong feeling about Warhol”
It’s been a challenging year for
Raine Hozier-Byrne, the Wicklowbased artist and mother of singersongwriter Andrew ‘Hozier’. In February, Outpost Studios, the space she shared with seven other women artists in Bray, was gutted by a fire, destroying a lifetime’s work. “I couldn’t tell you the loss. We all lost work, and because I’m the oldest, I’ve lost 30 years of work,” she says with a sigh. “Overnight, they were all gone. I’m starting all over again.”
Raine’s first series since the fire is for The Lost Warhols, after being invited to contribute by curator Joe Henry, who had come across her work in a collector’s house. “Warhol is usually the director, so it’s a very interesting project that makes a very engaging image. If you’re not interested in contemporary art practice, it’s still very engaging, because he is so well-known and his actual image itself is an iconic image,” she explains.
Was it intimidating for her to interpret such an iconic image?
“Yes and no,” she says. “Once you settle into the images you choose to work on, you kind of come at peace with it,” she explains, adding that she will be blending two of Karen Bystedt’s portraits for her piece. “I’m a fragment artist so I tend to tear up things, put them back together again, reimagine something, put my own spin on it. Once I had that down, I knew where I was going with it. It sits well with you when it’s working, and it really doesn’t sit well with you when it’s not!”
Raine observes that Warhol was a big presence during her art studies, and that she feels a connection to him because they would have been of similar ages. “There isn’t a sinner in the world that doesn’t have a very strong feeling about Warhol. There’s as many people that go ‘ah, to heck’, that say, ‘it’s wonderful!’” she laughs. “He was a seminal artist and to this day, he has huge influence on huge amounts of artists. I’m very lucky to be able to take part in this, and I’m thrilled.”
Aside from The Lost Warhols, Raine has been kept busy working on the cover of Hozier’s highly anticipated second album. “That’s a very, very special thing to do. To be able to work with your kids is fantastic, and I was able to work with both of them on this project,” she says, referring to Andrew (28) and filmmaker Jon (30). “They’re both so talented, you kind of go, how did that happen?”
She adds: “It’s a real privilege. If you have kids, there’s a stage where they’d nearly rather die than be seen with you, and when you get to this stage where you’re actually just seeing each other as other artists, it’s an absolute joy. I think the artwork around it kind of reflects that. I can’t let too much out of the bag, unfortunately, but it was a blast to do.” Jon has directed the video for Nina Cried Power, from Hozier’s new EP, and Andrew recently kicked off a tour across the US, which comes to Dublin in December.
“He’ll come home for flying visits and please God he’ll be home for Christmas,” says Raine. “It’s a funny aul world with these two lads — mine is very simple in comparison. It’s a quiet little existence but it’s a great little existence. We’re happy out.”