A graphic designer has created coloured prints of the iconic Wicklow 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 Wicklow and Wicklow Head.
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, Contemporary Craft and Design Fair at Dublin’s RDS from Nov 30-Dec 4.
“There is a beauty to these towers, and how they stand over the ocean,” said Belgian native Bert, who moved to Ireland, in 2011. “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.
“But I have a soft spot for Fastnet Lighthouse in Cork. I am drawn to any of the lighthouses that were built on rocky islands in these crazily remote locations.
“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.”
Bert has also created a 1,000-piece jigsaw of 16 of his lighthouse prints, which will be featured along with his print collection at Gifted.
Over €5 million will be spent at Gifted – the traditional opening to the festive season, featuring over 400 designers, makers and artisan food producers.
The show will also feature Ireland’s largest collection of sustainable Christmas gifts for both adults and children.
For the first time this year, it will feature a series of free workshops, presented by Irish makers, where visitors can make their own crafts such as mini-terrariums and weave their own Christmas decoration.
Full details and booking at www.giftedfair.ie.