"Flying Machine" Is Colm Dillane's Debut Foray Into The World of Fine Art
Colm Dillane points to a wall where three works are framed—they’re his old to-do lists, and on one line is written “be in a gallery”. Voila! He is standing in the reality of a future he has been hoping for and working towards. “Flying Machine”, curated by Laura O’Reilly, opened on February 17 in Gallery 151, with a line of admirers that wrapped around the block. Calling this an anticipated solo debut would be an understatement, to say the least.
“The whole ‘manifest it’ or ‘speak it into existence’…I’m not huge on that, but it’s funny that low-key, we are doing that,” he says. “Actually believing you can do what you set out to do just makes it that much easier.”
Dillane is humble; “Flying Machine” is anything but low-key. Huge canvas paintings hang on the walls, while sculptures wearing KidSuper threads (Dillane’s hybrid art brand and studio) stand in the center of the space. There’s also a Beheld 3D photo booth, just for kicks.
Actually believing you can do what you set out to do just makes it that much easier.
It feels like a lifetime of work has been brought together for a month-long showcase of Dillane’s multimedia talents, but that’s just it—in true KidSuper fashion, he had mere weeks of preparation to pull this off. Dillane hoped from billboard, to group show, to his own solo debut in a matter of years; if anyone could organize a body of work with almost no notice, it was him.
“I’d been building up this resume with [Laura], you know what I mean? So I saw this space, and I said, ‘Please let me do a gallery show with paintings. And she was like, ‘I need to see paintings first…’. I said ‘Trust me!’ and kept proving to her that I could do basically anything. So finally, like three weeks before this show opened, she called me and was like, ‘I have a month available, do you want to do it?’ And so of course I said yes. So I had three weeks, I didn’t really start until 10 days before, and I had no paintings. There was a moment where I thought I wasn’t going to make it. The show opened at 6 pm, and at 5 pm, I was still painting on all of them. So they were all soaking wet. So during the show, people’s clothes were all painted because they had run into them. That was pretty funny.”
While Dillane has, up until now, been known for his work under KidSuper (whose unofficial motto is, fittingly, “anything is possible”), “Flying Machine” reveals a new, more refined side of the artist. The oil paintings that hang at Gallery 151 are heavily influenced by post-impressionism, and the bohemian characters and lifestyle of KidSuper Studios are brought to life on canvas. It’s the perfect marriage of structure and spontaneity, setting Dillane apart in a highly competitive industry.
“It’s a KidSuper thing, but it’s more of a Colm thing. Obviously they go hand in hand, but it’s cool to be considered a serious painter,” he says. “The hardest thing about this entire process was, how do you go from making T-shirts to showing oil paintings in a gallery? I don’t know anybody who’s doing this.”
Dillane is straddling the divide between high and low art, and “Flying Machine” functions as a go-between mediator for the masses. If a line out the door for his debut solo show says anything, it’s this: the demand is here, and it’s growing.
“Flying Machine” is on view at Gallery 151 until April 7
Images courtesy of KidSuper
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