A WEST Cork-based graphic designer has created coloured prints of the iconic Cork lighthouses on his journey to capture every lighthouse guarding the Irish coast – inspired by his boyhood hero Tintin.
Bert DuFour has spent the last three years, and travelled over 2,000km, trying to capture all 80 operational lighthouses dotted around our coastline, including the iconic Fastnet, Old Head, Mizen Head, Galley Head, Crookhaven, Charles Fort, Bull Rock, Ballycotton and Ardnakinna.
‘I have a soft spot for Fastnet Lighthouse. I am drawn to any of the lighthouses that were built on rocky islands in these crazily remote locations,’ said Belgian native Bert, who moved to Clonakilty in 2011.
‘Considering the time they were built in, in this case first finished in 1854 and rebuilt in 1897, and the tools available at the time, not to mention the sheer scale of it when you are near it in a boat, it is awe inspiring,’ he said.
Fifty-five lighthouses across the country have so far been framed as artworks – and now his huge project will go on public show at Gifted, the contemporary craft and design fair at Dublin’s RDS from November 30th until December 4th.
‘There is a beauty to these towers, and how they stand over the ocean,’ said Bert.
‘I am gobsmacked by how these structures were created 150 to 200 years ago. I find how they were built and where they were built utterly fascinating.’
Bert, who started design business, The Designer of Things, after moving here, said his work has been inspired by Hergé, the Brussels-born graphic artist and creator of The Adventures of Tintin.
His illustrations have even been compared to the famous comic books about the boy adventurer and his dog Snowy.
‘I have been told by a few people that my illustrations reminded them of the Tintin books,’ said former architecture student Bert.
‘The comics have had a big influence on how I illustrate. I was a big fan of the books growing up and still have a full collection in their original hardcover prints.’
He hopes to complete the lighthouse mission next year – and said choosing a favourite one is like choosing a favourite child.
To produce his lighthouse prints, he uses a combination of on-site sketches and still photographs.
The pieces are then worked up digitally until he gets a good compromise between detail and simplicity.
‘I am trying to simplify them in such a way that my prints aren’t a photographic representation, but a very stylised representation instead.’
Bert has also created a 1,000-piece high quality jigsaw of 16 of his lighthouse prints, which will be featured along with his print collection at Gifted.
Over €5m will be spent by customers at the traditional opening to the festive season, featuring over 400 designers, makers and artisan food producers.
Full details of the craft fair and booking at www.giftedfair.ie.