Girl in colourful meadow, dreaming

Dreaming (ref 123). Fused glass artwork by Vera McEvoy

‘Being an artist is not a choice. How you express it is’

An artist is enviably hardwired differently to other people in society. They are often highly sensitive to their environment and the emotions of others around them. This is very much a positive attribute of the artistic soul, but can also be a challenge.

Having a career as an artist most likely involves sharing who you intrinsically are with the public. This can be overwhelming. And when, for whatever reason, it is perhaps not as successful as hoped, separating the art – ‘the work’, from the person is almost impossible. Having a healthy balance in life and establishing a better self awareness of what art means to the person can help.

Ideally being an artist should be a joy, and not torture!

By Matthew Ralli from In the Round (ITR).

ITR provides dedicated coaching for individuals and organisations working in the Irish Arts Industry.


I recently came across the above article “Being an artist is not a choice…’ and it stopped me in my tracks. It resonated very deeply with me and helped me to understand so much in two short paragraphs. I have Matthew’s permission to share his writing.

I first met Matthew in 2018 when I completed a series of coaching sessions with In the Round. I felt a sense of empowerment as I discussed my creative thoughts and ideas with someone who truly understands the mind of a creative being. I was able to put a structure on the many ideas that were floating in my head.

As a result of the conversations I had with Matthew I subsequently applied for, and was successful in securing a Creative Ireland Bursary Award in 2019. This award supported a participatory art project entitled Making Marks with Markievicz. A group of 13 participants were drawn from different backgrounds, social contexts and geographical areas of Kildare.  Taking artist Countess Markievicz as a starting point, discussions took place on what life may have been like for Irish female artists over the last 100 years, with field trips and guest speakers.  Artworks made by female artists over that period, which are part of the Kildare Municipal Collection, were viewed and discussed. The project culminated in an exhibition Glimpses of Escape: your monochrome, my technicolour,  running from January – September 2020, and included an event for International Women’s Day.

The projects mentioned above, the executive coaching in 2018 with Matthew from In The Round and the Making Marks with Markievicz project, were both supported by Kildare County Council Arts Service.

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