Excitement has been stoked throughout Ennis with the appearance of unique drain art in different locations across the town.
The project forms part of a collaboration established between two artists and Ennis Chamber of Commerce last November. Local artist Martin Shannon and his wife, Giodana Giaché, who is also an artist, have created 10 pieces of drain art in various locations throughout the Clare capital, adding to “a rich tapestry of street art, in a town full of culture.”
Martin, who is originally from the town, met his wife here on O’ Connell Street 25 years ago, precisely to the day that local drains and manholes started to come alive. “We started painting them on April 11. It was a strange way to spend our anniversary but very fruitful. There weren’t many people around and all of a sudden, these creations started to appear overnight. It went viral all-over social media.”
Having graduated from art college in 1992, specialising in sculptures, Martin and his wife Giordana now run a street art theatre company in Limerick and specialise in creating spectacle parts, such as puppets, for parades including the Ennis Street Arts Festival. Now living in Limerick, they regularly enjoy returning to the place they first met and often get involved in local projects such as repainting the cinema windows on Parnell Street, for special occasions.
The family friendly project includes animated depictions of fish, robots, cars and an octopus. Martin lauded the pedestrianisation of the town, which he feels, will assist parents and their children in locating all 10 drain art characters throughout the town. “They are located on the likes of O’Connell Street, Bindon Street and Abbey Street. I say to children I see, to tell their parents that if they manage to find all 10, that they are entitled to an ice cream.”
The paintings were made using eco-friendly paint, to avoid any harm to local wildlife or water systems. Martin conceded that they are ephemeral and will eventually run off due to wear and tear. However, he remains hopeful that the project could be a starting point for further street art throughout the town. The couple are all too familiar with the growing appreciation for the form. They previously worked together on creating wall art in the Market, along the side of Knox’s pub as well as a mural in Chapel Lane.
“People are becoming more aware of street art. Ennis is a very picturesque town. The drain art project is currently finished, but there is always scope to add to it. Ennis is calling out for more street art,” he concluded.