An artist and speaker made the heartbreaking decision to sell her entire collection of works in a desperate attempt to buy her own tiny home.
ileen Healy (54), whose works are in the art collections of UCC, Crawford Art Gallery and Office of Public Works (OPW), will now sell her extensive collection of paintings and notebooks of sketches after being forced to leave the rented house she had had for two decades.
She is also a part-time lecturer at the Crawford Art College of Art and Design in Cork where she teaches painting and drawing from nature. Eileen also plays in groups.
However, a bank recently found its life too precarious to qualify for a mortgage.
Originally from Youghal, Co Cork had to leave their 20-year-old house in Cork City last year.
While she has found other accommodation, she is now worried about her future.
Eileen has said she is keen to leave the rental market as she is increasingly concerned about the safety of the elderly.
âThe bank was nice to me (when I applied) but at the end of the day the central bank makes the decision. It’s not even about not getting a mortgage. It’s that the rents are so unaffordable.
âI know friends my age who ended up in homeless shelters and I’m like ‘is it me later?’ It’s scary.
“It’s in my head every day. Fear. I’m afraid where I’ll be in three years when the lease for the place I’m renting now is gone.”
She said the rental market is so competitive that people in her situation constantly feel anxiety about whether a landlord decides to sell a property or increase the rent.
Eileen finds the rental market in Cork City particularly intimidating at the moment.
âWhen you look at the market, it’s almost a no-brainer that you’re sharing with strangers. The lack of choice is heartbreaking. It’s a waste of time to go online. You’ll be lining up with 100 people for one. place. And then you have the prices. “
Eileen points out that the days are gone when you got a one bedroom apartment by word of mouth, from someone who knew someone who was moving.
on a reasonably priced rental.
“Now if the rent is doubled and I’m evicted, can I share at my age?” Do I have to share with five people just to pay the rent? It’s like going back to the 80s, except now. it is a hundred times more expensive. “
Eileen needs secure housing and a studio. She is currently working at Backwater Studios in Cork, but as it is partly funded by the Arts Council, it is transferred to different artists and its lease expires at the end of the year.
Her goal is to sell enough of her working life to buy her own little house where she is no longer at the mercy of “rising and insane rents”.
âThis is a city that I call my home and in which I have invested and invested so much creativity over a 40-year period. I could have my own studio at home. I have a mountain of work.â
Eileen is primarily a figurative artist who works primarily in pastel and oil.
âI really like working on the spot. I am drawn to the immediacy and freshness of recreating in my own language what is in front of me. I work with models that allow me to express my artistic language through them. Drawing after life is a way of life for me and the backbone of my work. It brings my work to life. “
She has participated in numerous residencies in Ireland including the Tyrone Guthrie Center, Burren Art College, Cillriallig and Sirius Art Center. She also did a residency at the highly acclaimed Art Students League of New York, where she created a new body of work that was featured in an exhibition at the Vytlacil campus in upstate New York.
She graduated from Crawford College of Art and Design in 1988. She has exhibited her work in exhibitions in Dublin, Berlin and New York.
and performed in groups such as The Polskadots, The Ladybugs and The Critters.