With this Christmas issue, we’re pleased to display on our front page an original work by the wonderful Irish-born artist Vincent Crotty. The Reporter newspapers commissioned Vincent to create in this time of social distancing an original painting of Christmas on Boston Common.
A resident of Lower Mills where he lives with his wife, the brilliant performer and Irish dance teacher Kieran Jordan, Vincent does his creative magic, day in and day out, in his backyard studio. One recent morning, I spoke by phone with him, but he had little time to chat, as he was about to do an online one-hour yoga class, and later remotely teach his own class in artistic technique to a student he has never personally met.
Both events – his yoga and his art class- are virtual events, carried out online. Since the pandemic settled in, Vincent the artist has had to become Vincent the technician, learning how to make Zoom video-casts work for him.
When he and his sister Ciara first emigrated from Kanturk, Co. Cork, 30 years ago, they were sign painters, and struggled to find enough work to make their living. But they found a welcoming community in Dorchester, where priests and parishioners had recently formed the Irish Pastoral Centre, a joint effort sponsored by the Catholic Church in Ireland and in Boston to assist newly arrived Irish emigrants.
While his sister returned home to Ireland 15 years ago, he has continued to live and work in his adopted home town of Dorchester, and many of his paintings are focused on scenes in and around the neighborhood.
In normal times, his paintings are exhibited and sold at art shows and at the Aisling Gallery, where one of his original signs still graces the front lawn of that popular Irish art and framing shop on Route 53 in Hingham. Aisling owners Maureen and John Connolly have been strong patrons of Vincent’s work, and a dozen or more “Vincent Crotty” are always on exhibit, and are quickly sold.
His oil paintings are now attracting national attention in the art world. This Thursday, Christmas Eve, Vincent will appear on Facebook and YouTube at noon in a special edition of “Live with Eric Rhoads.” The host is an internationally known art authority and publisher of Plein Air Magazine. His program is described by streamlineartvideo.com as “Premium art instruction tutorials on video by the world’s leading artists.”