NEWS — 31 January 2014

By staff reporter

Dublin-based Portlaoise artist Tom McNally has launched an ambitious new project focused on the works of James Joyce.

He aims to source funding to publish a book of James Joyce writings, illustrated by his own high-quality colour illustrations inspired by ‘Finnegan’s Wake’.  McNally has produced the illustrations over the past three years.

Each illustration is painted in a unique style, which blends vivid colours with deep black ink outlines, bringing the characters of the story into relief.  According to the artist, the process of creating the images was long and painstaking, but the result is a unique visual re-imagining of one of Joyce’s most intriguing tales.

The Lilliput Press has now committed to publishing McNally’s paintings in a high-spec, full-colour book.  Entitled ‘The Ondt and the Gracehoper’, the book will feature his illustrations alongside text from ‘Finnegan’s Wake’, focusing specifically on Joyce’s re-telling of Aesop’s ancient fable, ‘The Ant and the Grasshopper’.

The illustrations developed by McNally depict the hilarious events that unfold around the rivalry between the two protagonists: the power-hungry and authoritarian Ondt and the whimsical and lazy Gracehoper. Above all, the images highlight Joyce’s use of comedic and farcical elements in telling his story.

The book will be designed with Joyce’s text running continuously on the left-hand pages and the illustrations running concurrently on the right.  The images will thus illuminate the text and provide a guide for the reader.

In order to see his images in print, McNally now needs to source €5,000 to meet the book production costs.  This week, the young artist launched a crowd-funding campaign on the popular FundIt.ie site.  The campaign will run throughout February and, if successful, ‘The Ondt and the Gracehoper’ will be published in time for the 110th anniversary of Bloomsday in June of this year.

Rewards for those who support the crowd-funding campaign will include original artworks by McNally, as well as signed copies of the book.

Further information about The Ondt and the Gracehoper can be found at: www.thomasmcnallyartist.com

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