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Sharkey in 2014
|Known for||Painting, Drawing, (art), (singer/songwriter), (director)|
Sharkey was born in Dublin in 1961, but was brought up in Killybegs, County Donegal. He was adopted by the Sharkey family at a very young age. As a child he took part in Irish dancing, which won him 37 medals before the age of 12. He was also a runner up to the all Ireland Disco dancing championship at Doctor Zhigavago's nightclub at the age of 16. His art career began at the age of 30 where he experimented with oils on canvas and bright colours.
Sharkey has had many different career paths including being a chef, a fisherman, a singer songwriter and a TV presenter. He was Ireland's first ever black television presenter on a show called Megamix and presented British television music show The Roxy from 1987. He was also briefly a photographer and a model, photographed by David Bailey. Sharkey had a small part in Father Ted where he played a priest named Father Shaft in two episodes. His most famous line, coming after a nun asked him what he thought of all the work being done in Africa by priests, was "I wouldn't know, I'm from Donegal". Sharkey was a farmhand in the Irish TV series Celebrity Farm where he was the fourth farmhand to be evicted. Irish singer and songwriter Bob Geldof was the first person to buy a Sharkey painting, with other collectors of his work including Charles Saatchi, Rosie Huntington Whitley, Michael Portillo, Courtney Love, Whitney Houston, Matt Lucas, and the President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins.
Sharkey has been a full-time artist since 1992. He was described by Ireland's Sunday Independent as "A True Irish Legend" and by Sky News as "Pure Genius", he was also recently called "Most Intriguing Person 2010" by CNN America. The Sunday Times called him the most "Bankable artist" while the Sunday Independent called him "Pure Genius". His art is considered abstract, modern work, with bright, textured colours. He is diverse in not sticking to one art form, with many of his works being visually different from each other.
He has also recently directed three short films and plans to continue directing his own Irish motion Pictures.
He has had exhibitions in Dublin, London, Ibiza, Amsterdam and New York City. In 2007 his What Colour Are Kisses? exhibition sold out completely within 48 hours. He has had gallery shows solely dedicated to his work in Dublin, Donegal, Mayo, Boyle, Ibiza and London's Mayfair. His painting Roisin raised 26,100 euro in 2008 for People in Need in the RTÉ Telethon. His work has included, Samantha Mumba's bust and 'Moolah' (a life sized cow covered in 50,000 euro of real banknotes – during the height of Ireland's Celtic Tiger phenomenon).
His Public Enemy Number One exhibition was on a twelve date tour of the world (including New York, Tokyo, Rome and Rio de Janeiro). The exhibition features amongst others Jordan as Myra Hindley, Barack Obama wearing Ku Klux Klan robes (made from U.S. flags), the Pope marrying a gay couple, and Angelina Jolie & Madonna passing each other in a supermarket aisle pushing trolleys full of multi-racial children.
In 2012 Kevin opened The Kevin Sharkey Gallery on Temple Lane South in Dublin City. The Kevin Sharkey Gallery is home to exclusive paintings from the artist featuring his latest artwork. His current exhibition "Kevin Sharkey is Dead" is open in CHQ, IFSC, Customs House Quay, Dublin 1 (June 2016).