Renowned artist: Why I voted for Peter Casey
Painter claims Travellers asked him to sign forgeries and pretend they were his
A RENOWNED artist claimed that he voted for Peter Casey in the Presidential election because he has been ‘harassed’ by Travellers for years.
John Shinnors, whose abstract paintings sold for up to €70,000 during the boom, told the Irish Mail on Sunday that he agreed with Mr Casey’s views, and said he believes he is not the only artist who has been ‘harassed’ by certain Travellers.
‘I gave him my number one. I was harassed by Travellers for years,
‘They only want to sell it on to someone else’
particularly during the boom, and I am not talking about isolated incidents.’
The controversial Limerick artist said: ‘They have called to my door at all hours of the day and night, demanding that I sell them work, in a very pernicious way, I have to say.
‘I was able to handle it, but my wife found it a bit distressing. They have even called to one of my neighbours looking for me. One time, they forced their way through her home, out into her back garden, to get to mine,’ he told the MoS.
Asked if he had sold any of his works to Travellers, he said: ‘No. You would only be asking for trouble. You don’t bring people on you that you don’t actually want, in a way.
‘It happens rarely now, but they still come to the door, presenting me with wads of cash, as if I was a hungry child looking at their sweets. I’ve told them to go the City Gallery [in Limerick]. They only wanted to sell it on to someone else.
Mr Shinnors, whose work has sold at top auction houses Sotheby’s and Christie’s, said some Travellers presented him with forged paintings, seeking his signature to ‘authenticate’ the pieces and increase their value, which he refused to do.
‘They were clearly not my work, and I told them this, and they knew it. But one Traveller even offered me €500 to sign it regardless,’ he said.
The artist claimed some years ago that Travellers ‘don’t have a culture, but a lifestyle’.
He said he was branded a ‘racist and a troublemaker’ by some individuals after making those comments.
However, he stands by these remarks and said accusations of racism are ludicrous.
‘They are ordinary people who live within the State and should contribute to the State,’ he told the MoS.
He said he feels that recognising Travellers as an ethnic minority – as announced in 2017 by then taoiseach Enda Kenny is ‘a load of c**p’.
He said he did not vote for Michael D Higgins for a second term as he’s a ‘bloody socialist... one of these people always going on about integration and cultural activity’.
The 68-year-old member of the Royal Hibernian Academy will launch his first book, Adult Reading for Artists at Bedtime, in Limerick’s Hunt Museum on Saturday.
Martin Collins, director of Pavee Point, which represents Travellers, said that Mr Shinnors should report any allegations of harassment to An Garda Siochána.
‘Even if they are true, it is still a really poor excuse to vote for Peter Casey, who comes out with antiTraveller rhetoric and who espouses division,’ he said. email@example.com
hARAssEd: Abstract artist John Shinnors in his studio