Jim Fitzpatrick (artist)

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Jim Fitzpatrick
Jim Fitzpatrick Irish Artist.jpg
Fitzpatrick in front of his work Elroy for Equality at the exhibition Making Out in GalleryX 2015
Born (1944-03-01) March 1, 1944 (age 76)
Known forStylised Celtic artwork
Notable work
Portrait of Che Guevara (1968)

Jim Fitzpatrick (born James Fitzpatrick in March 1944) is an Irish artist. He is best known for elaborately detailed work inspired by the Irish Celtic artistic tradition. However, perhaps his most famous single piece is rather different in style, his iconic two-tone portrait of Che Guevara created in 1968, based on a photo by Alberto Korda.[1]

Early life[edit]

Jim Fitzpatrick was born in March 1944 to James and Elizabeth Fitzpatrick (née O'Connor). His parents had married in the north Dublin suburb of Cabra in June 1943. During a period of childhood sickness, Fitzpatrick read and drew in bed, as well as his mother and great-aunt telling him stories of the Tuatha Dé Danann, Cú Chulainn and Fionn MacCumhaill.[2] He was educated at the Franciscan College Gormanston, County Meath, just north of Dublin.[3] His father was a photo-journalist and he is a grandson of political cartoonist Thomas Fitzpatrick.[2][4]


Portrait of Che Guevara (1968)

Fitzpatrick's earliest work was the graphic portrait of Che Guevara, which was based on the photograph by Alberto Korda, entitled Guerrillero Heroico, was taken on 5 March 1960. Fitzpatrick met Guevara 5 years earlier in Kilkee [5] during Guevara's visit to trace his Irish ancestry.[3][4] Having initially tried to distribute the poster himself, Fitzpatrick chose to remove copyright from the image so that is could be used freely by left wing groups, stating that "I literally wanted it to breed like rabbits. I wanted it to spread."[3]

In 1978, he wrote and illustrated a book called The Book of Conquests, the retelling of a cycle of Irish myths, the Lebor Gabála Érenn. The book is a retelling of the legends of the coming of the Tuatha dé Dannan to Ireland and their fight with the Fir Bolg. The illustrations include intricate Celtic scroll work and knotwork, for which Fitzpatrick has become known. A second book, The Silver Arm, is based on the deeds of Nuada of the Silver Arm and Lugh in their fight with the Formor.[6]

Fitzpatrick has produced artwork for bands such as Thin Lizzy including their Jailbreak album in 1976, for Sinéad O'Connor's 2000 album Faith and Courage and for The Darkness' 2003 single "Christmas Time (Don't Let the Bells End)",[6] and for Norwegian black metal band Darkthrone their 2013 album cover The Underground Resistance. He was commissioned by CityJet in 2007 to create images reflecting Ireland's culture, mythology, history and landscapes.[7]

In 2011, Fitzpatrick announced that he intended to copyright the iconic red and black Che Guevara graphic. He cited "crass commercial" use of the image for his decision and planned to hand over the copyright and all rights, in perpetuity, to the family of Guevara in Cuba.[8][2] The image remains available for free through Fitzpatrick's website for non-commercial usage.[9] An Post released a stamp featuring Fitzpatrick's image of Guevara in 2017 to mark 50 years since its publication.[10]

Selected works[edit]


  • The Book of Conquests 1978 p/b ISBN 0-525-47511-7, 1991 p/b ISBN 0-905895-14-2
  • The Silver Arm (1981) ISBN 1-85028-081-9
  • The Children of Lir (with Michael Scott) (1992) ISBN 0-7497-0888-3
  • Erinsaga. The Mythological Paintings of Jim FitzPatrick.



  • Celtia

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Holmes, Stephanie (5 October 2007). "Che: The icon and the ad". BBC News.
  2. ^ a b c Tipton, Gemma. "The Irish artist who captured the image of Che Guevara". The Irish Times. Retrieved 2019-07-21.
  3. ^ a b c "Che Guevara, Jim Fitzpatrick and the making of an icon". History Ireland. 2013-03-06. Retrieved 2019-07-21.
  4. ^ a b "Celtic, Iconic, Historic - Jim FitzPatrick". FAC. Retrieved 2019-07-21.
  5. ^ Irish artist who made iconic Che Guevara image is selling his beachfront home In: The Independent, July 6 2018
  6. ^ a b "About Jim FitzPatrick". Green Gallery. Retrieved 2019-07-21.
  7. ^ "Jim Fitzpatrick | What's On". www.centreculturelirlandais.com. Retrieved 2019-07-21.
  8. ^ Humphries, Conor. "Irish artist bids to copyright Guevara image". Reuters. February 17, 2011. Retrieved 2011-3-1.
  9. ^ "Che Guevara Poster Print Archives". Jim FitzPatrick. Retrieved 2019-07-21.
  10. ^ Edwards, Elaine; McGreevy, Ronan. "First print of controversial Che Guevara stamp sells out". The Irish Times. Retrieved 2019-07-21.

External links[edit]