Social media and Art – which is more powerful?


oil painting by Eoin Mac Lochlainn
Head no.19, oil on canvas, 2008

How much time do you spend on the various social media? I have to admit that they’re taking more and more of my time, these days. But anyway, the painting above was one of a series of “52 Heads” that I worked on during the early stages of the war in Iraq. These were a sort of Requiem or memorial to those who had been killed in the invasion and subsequent conflict. It was all I could do at the time, and God knows, that conflict is still continuing to this day.

Before that series, after leaving college, I had been making abstract paintings with the emphasis on the emotional impact of colour. But I (reluctantly) began to make more figurative work because I found that I couldn’t express what I wanted to say in abstract.

Recently I’ve been working on a series of apple paintings (don’t ask, that’s another long story) but again the news of “man’s inhumanity to man” is affecting my ability to work. But I was thinking of Claude Monet just now, I heard somewhere that he continued to work on his wonderful water lily paintings while the first World War raged outside. I can see both sides. His contribution to the world was his art – and nothing was allowed to interrupt that work – but then again – how can a man seem to ignore the injustice in the world? What do you think? I don’t know the answer.

Anyway, that painting above. Social media today shows us the horrors of the massacre, almost immediately, but a painting is a more long term thing. It takes time to produce, and time to appreciate. But I’ve put it up there today as an appeal to all you good people in Dublin to come to the Spire at 2pm on Saturday to protest and to show you care.

Here’s a link to more of those “Heads”



  1. Here’s another comment from my aunt in Canada –

    Greetings Eoin

    I do not think that Monet was necessarily ignoring the horrors of war. I feel that he was protecting himself by losing himself in his art and maybe he also felt that by creating some beauty he was reducing the impact of the war on others. Even when very bad things are happening someone somewhere is doing good and trying to mitigate the horror.

    Also remember that when we look at media presentation of the horrors we may be seeing far more than a person who is standing on the sidewalk and sees what is in front of him. So maybe it is more shocking for the outsider. No less awful than you think though.

    There are so many horrors lately it seems but perhaps the media gets it all to us in a way that did not happen before modern technology was in every hand.

    I know some days I just turn off the news it is so distressing, and I feel what can I do about it anyway??

    Right here in our parish we had a 5 year old and his grandparents disappear about a month ago. The only trace left was blood in the home. God knows what happened or where they are or where their bodies are.

    Hard to come to peace with something like that. it is not God’s work, it is man’s inhumanity to man as they call it .

    Just thought I would let you know you are being read!!!!!!!!!!



  2. I’ve learned to manage my time. I used to be online all day. Now I can do it all in about 2 hours. That leaves me plenty of time for art and other things. I find setting a timer helps. 🙂


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