Francis O'Toole. His story is a strange one and one that has taken a number of years to put to paper. We have told this story countless times and anyone familiar with Cherrylane Fine Arts, will be capable of relaying some, if not all of this artists progression to date. At the age of 17 Francis was involved in a life altering industrial accident. Any young man, as one can imagine, does not easily accept occurring serious injury. Growing up in a position were the surrounding environment made it easy to involve himself in juvenile delinquent behavior and carrying the feeling, there was noting to loose, this was the direction that was chosen by him for a period of time. After some time, he realised that this existence was empty, dangerous and non-rewarding, and he began to spend long periods indoors. It was at this point Francis's mother bought him a set of paints....
It has always been and will continue to be a trait within Cherrylane Fine Arts to continuously search out new talent. This is not strictly found in other galleries or art institutions, a lot of the time, it is through a friend of a friend, a chance meeting, or in this case it was spotting Francis's work at an amateur exhibition on St.Stephens Green in Dublin city center. Three times a year artists are invited to submit work and if chosen, the artists are given the opportunity to exhibit their works around the railings of the park. It was here that we first noticed the talent of this young and then self-trained painter/artist. The works were all figurative and intense and the pounding heart beat of an anxious artist oozed from a small collection of fantastical yet significant large-scale works. It would seem easy now to say and ‘the rest is history' but in reality it has only just begun. In 2002 Francis was refused placement at NCAD (National Collage of Art and Design, Dublin). Francis began painting for Cherrylane Fine Arts in 2003 and his work immediately created excitement amongst collectors and other gallery artists with each new painting anticipated by all. Although Francis’s career as a painter was off to a great start he himself suffered a great amount of frustration. Studying artists such as Velasquez, Ribera, Nicholas Amine Morot to name but a few made him feel that training in technique was necessary if he was accomplish meeting the level he aspired to. In 2005 after spending considerable time searching for a suitable school he found the Angel Academy of Art, Florence, Italy. Headed by Michael John Angel the school offers an intensive program in classical drawing and painting. One of the very few such institutions in the world, the Academy offers a curriculum designed to produce the highest caliber of professional artists, equipped to be leaders in the emerging renaissance of classical, realist painting. The Curriculum is intense work begins from specially prepared drawings, which quickly and effectively give a command of shape, proportion and tonal rendering. These skills are then applied to studies from plaster casts, first in charcoal, then in oil paint. Third and fourth year student’s concentrate on the disciplines of still life and study from the nude. Still life is the perfect arena in which to understand colour, texture and the illusion of space. Francis O' Toole is now in his third year. Over these years we have retained a strong relationship and have been consistently allocating all of the works that he sends home to the growing number of collectors of his work. This Summer Francis travelled to Norway to work for Odd Nerdrum who is regarded as one of the best Figurative painters alive. For the rest of 2008 - 2009 Francis will return to Florence for another year to finish the Angel program and will then proceed to take the graduate program in portraiture and composition. It is difficult at this stage to know what will be produced by this talented and progressive Irish artist in the coming years, but there is no doubt that the same anticipation that existed at the beginning of his career will continue to accelerate for each piece produced.
Francis O Toole
1978 Born Dublin, Ireland
2008 Slected for the DAVY portrait Awards (Belfast/Dublin)
2008 R.H.A (Dublin) slected to exhibit at members Annual Group show
2008 Cherrylane Fine Arts - Summer show/Winter
2008 Niccolo 84, Florence, Italy. - 10th Year Anniversary of the Angel Academy of Art , London
2008 Afferato l'IDEA Chiesa St James, Florence, Italy
2008 Invited to exhibit works alongside World famous artist Odd Nerdrun ,Stavern, Norway
2007 Cherrylane Fine Arts - Summer / Winter shows
Cherrylane Fine Arts - Art Fair, Dublin
2006 Cherrylane Fine Arts, Co.Wicklow -Summer /Winter
Cherrylane Fine Arts, Co.Wicklow - Art Fair Dublin
2005 Cherrylane Fine Arts, Co.Wicklow - Summer / Winter
Cherrylane Fine Arts, Co.Wicklow - Art Fair, Dublin
2004 Cherrylane Fine Arts, Co.Wicklow -Summer / Winter
2011 The Don Niccolò d’Ardia Caracciolo RHA Medal and Award
Francis O Toole
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