“Anybody can draw a picture of Shandon. It’s a question of how to put my own mark on it”
You’ve probably seen his bright, distinctive prints displayed in cafes, bars, and restaurants across the city – and now you can visit Jason O’Gorman at his studio this weekend.
As Jason puts it, he draws what he loves, and as a proud Leesider it makes sense that the Rebel County features so prominently in his bold graphics – whether it’s a beautifully detailed drawing of Shandon, or a cinematic sketch of Godzilla attacking the Marina.
Now, after ten years of art and design, Jason – who goes by Jogcork – is hosting his first-ever open studio, so that you can browse his massive collection of eclectic and colourful artworks. He’ll be opening the doors to the public on both Saturday and Sunday.
“I’ve never done anything like this before,” he told CorkBeo. “I actually had the idea of an open studio last November, but never got around to it. But I got all the Christmas cards out the way in May this year, so now I’m ready.”
Jason has been working in arts and design for a decade now, but the last five have seen his own creative output skyrocket.
“Over the last five years, 90% of my work has been drawing my own stuff. It’s a passion – and if you find yourself a job you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.”
His love for the city is obvious in the detail of his work, from the stylised maps of Ireland (or Cork vs. not Cork) to the super-accurate depictions of Leeside landmarks. He’s also an out-and-out northsider, which becomes clear when looking at the perspective of his cityscapes.
“I’m a Norrie. It’s funny, when you draw the city from the north, the facades are all dark. Because the buildings are all south-facing, they’re much brighter viewed from the southside.”
Jason draws his inspiration from city – but that doesn’t mean they’re all true-to-life.
“Anybody can draw a picture of Shandon. It’s a question of how to put my own mark on it” – which is how King Kong ended up climbing St. Anne’s Church. In another print, The Matrix‘s Morpheus offers the viewer a choice between Murphy’s and Beamish.
“I had a big fascination with all those movies,” he said. “So that was a way of putting my personality into it.”
Many of his prints feature Cork locations and namesake characters – Kilkenny, for example, becomes the scene of another death for South Park‘s frequently-killed Kenny, while Annie Lennox has a bite at Lennox’s chipper.
But in the last year – while staying busy with his eccentric, character-filled art – Jason has embarked on a side project under the name Badly Drawn Bai.
Here, Jason draws Cork places with an ink pen before colouring digitally – sometimes employing a twist to keep the images “organic”.
“I draw some of those pictures with my left hand,” Jason explained. “Digital art can be so precise, so I wanted to bring some imperfections back to them.”
This affectionate style has quickly proven popular – Jason estimates that he’s already stocked the Badly Drawn Bai project with 80 pieces: “I’ll usually draw two or three a week.”
Even as he prepares for this weekend’s open studio, the artwork doesn’t stop.
“I’m always working on new stuff. I have a folder full of ideas. I’ll draw a quick sketch of something, let it simmer a while, and see if it comes back to the surface with some improvements.
“Even this morning, I saw a billboard on the way in with a giant picture of a peacock on it. I wondered, is there something I can do with that? ‘PeaCork’ maybe…?”
Jason’s studio is based in Lane Business Park, on Monahan Road. It’ll be open on Saturday November 25 and Saturday November 26, from 11am to 6pm. You can check out Jason’s work on his website or on Instagram.