Born & bred in Donegal , self taught artist Barry Britton has spent most of his life in his native Rossnowlagh , close to the magnificent golden strand listening to the sound of wild Atlantic waves . A few years were spent in exile in Dublin in the 1970s where a promising career in architecture beckoned . However , by 1978 he had made good his escape from the big city & put in the foundations for his home on his father’s farm overlooking Durnesh Lake in Rossnowlagh . He’s still there today !
Surfing had arrived in Rossnowlagh in the mid 1960s courtesy of Barry’s mother who acquired a couple of surfboards for the use of guests of her hotel at the beach . But she also had five young sons who , when they spotted the potential for fun in the sea , commandeered the surfboards for their own amusement ! By 1968 Barry’s father , the Boss , had spotted the potential of this new sport too . He named the hotel pub the Surfers Bar & instigated the first Intercounties Surfing Contest which still runs today as an annual end of season party event in Rossnowlagh during the month of October . One of the brothers , Conor , started designing posters for the event in the early days . Around 1973 , with Conor away on placement for his hotel management studies , it fell to younger brother Barry to produce a surf poster for that year……& he has been doing them ever since ! Many of them are on show at the Local Hands craft studio in Ballyshannon & may be purchased from this website . Over the years Barry’s surf posters have become collectors’ items & at the turn of the millennium he was commissioned to design posters for some Hawaiian events , the most prestigious surf contests in the world (to view these go to ‘prints’) . The artist himself may be found during the summer months at Britton & Daughters studio gallery on the seafront in Rossnowlagh Tues.–Sat. (afternoons only but if the surf is up he will be ‘GONE SURFING’ all day !) .
The artist was first approached about ‘doin an oul poster’ for the fledgling Ballyshannon Folk Festival by Anthony Travers in early 1980 . This encounter took place in Sean Og’s Pub where copious amounts of persuasive porter were slid across the wooden bar counter to ensure agreement could be reached ! And so , many decades later , we find Barry still dreaming up new ways to depict folk & trad musicians on these much sought after posters which have become collectors items . Indeed , the poster itself has reached such iconic status that musicians consider it a great honour to be selected as that year’s depicted artiste. For festival information log on to www,ballyshannonfolkfestival.com . From the outset Barry has provided his artistic skills free of charge to Ballyshannon Folk & Traditional Music Festival which is still held on the August Bank Holiday every year . Many of the posters are on show & for sale at the Local Hands craft studio on Main St. , Ballyshannon . They may also be purchased from this website . Barry holds an annual exhibition of original works at the Abbey Arts Centre at the top of the town during the Folk Festival – this has become a popular event & is a great opportunity to pick up a Barry Britton tinted pen & ink original .
Celtic landscapes , wild seascapes , trad musicians & surf scenes are the subject matter for Barry’s exclusive limited edition black & white prints . Celtic motifs & hidden pictures within pictures which require close examination have become the norm in Barry’s art. His prints can also be viewed & purchased from the Local Hands studio & this website . Prints may be hand tinted by the artist to order .
A selection of the artist’s more recent original pen & inks are on show at the Mountcharles Art Gallery in the village of Mountcharles just outside of Donegal Town on the Killybegs road . Commissions for all kinds of pen & ink artwork suchas portraits or particular scenes (or both combined !) are gladly undertaken.
Phone : 086 8728770 | Email : email@example.com