There’s a certain degree of obsession that’s intertwined with being a great artist. An intense devotion to the craft that manifests itself in various ways. Visual artists have a way of looking at the world that’s entirely unique, and their immersion in and search for beauty is often all consuming.
For Irish-born street artist Fin DAC, this obsession is revealed whenever he paints a wall. It’s like he goes into a trance. He finds himself forgetting to eat or take breaks, working through the night and into the wee hours. When he’s consumed with a piece, Fin is transported away from day-to-day concerns. It’s just him, the wall, and the muse he transposing onto its surface. Everything else melts away.
“There’s a Charles Bukowski* quote about finding something that you love and then letting it kill you,” Fin tells me with a laugh when I ask him if he has a philosophy. “That’s probably it. That’s the whole impetus behind what I’m doing.”
In the beginning, Fin DAC’s obsession with painting came out of a need to escape. He was a full-fledged adult when he went into the streets to paint his first street mural. He had never gone to art school, or gone the route of rising up through the graffiti scene as a teen. In fact, Fin grew up with no plans to enter the art world at all. He was simply an adult with a normal full time job, living a normal life. And perhaps he would have remained that way, had an ugly breakup not driven him to look for an outlet that might offer a few moments of meditative peace. As his life crumbled around him, street art gave Fin the stillness and beauty he was seeking.
Once he officially dipped his toes into the art world, Fin DAC’s obsession grew quickly. He became engrossed in becoming more skilled and creating more beauty. Now, Fin is singularly focused on his work. He strives to be unique, and let each piece speak for itself. His beautiful, large scale murals are incredibly distinctive. The artist uses a combination of stencils and hand painting to create portraits of women, with signature colorful masks. Once you know it, it’s easy to recognize a Fin DAC piece.
I spoke to Fin on the phone recently and he was incredibly candid about his work, what drives him, and his journey to become the artist he is today.
*Though there has been some debate over the origin of this quote, it’s most likely a 1986 quote from a singer named Kinky Friedman that has, over the years, migrated to Bukowski circles. The sentiment remains the same though.