“House prices here are so astronomical that they inhibit life”

Joe Caslin is an Irish street artist and illustrator from Roscommon. His works shed light on the social problems of modern Ireland with suicide, drug addiction and marriage equality among the topics he addressed. Caslin has created a temporary mural that is at the heart of the current Faoin Spéir Inside/Out project – where the town of Clonmel in County Tipperary has been transformed into an outdoor gallery. Caslin also creates artwork for the Cork Summer Festival in June. Visit joecaslin.com for more information on the artist or southtippartscentre.ie for more information on Faoin Spéir’s Inside/Out project.

What is the most important lesson about money that your career as an artist has taught you?

It’s hard to make a living as an artist. However, even though I need money to survive, finances are secondary when it comes to art. If I can make a work of art that helps us move forward as a society, I would consider that an achievement. [than the money it makes].

What has the coronavirus crisis taught you about money?

My income as an artist almost all dried up when Covid first hit. In the summer of 2020 – which was the first summer of the pandemic – there was a big push to support Irish artists online. So I sold a number of prints and that opened up more opportunities for me. Before Covid hit, I was a full-time teacher and then an artist. The pandemic has given me the opportunity to develop an online presence – and build a sustainable income so I can become a full-time artist.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received about money?

I went to America when I was 17. I was worried about going there and my mum and grandpa said to me, ‘You’ve got money in your pocket – and a tongue in your head and that’s all you need. need.” In other words, you should have enough money to run it – and if you don’t, you should still be able to run it.

Do you always have cash on you?

Very little – even though I have an emergency €20 in my wallet.

How much would you pay at most for a bottle of wine?

€30 at the restaurant. I’m not a heavy drinker or a big wine drinker. If you put a margarita in front of me, I’ll eat your hand!

What is your favorite Irish play?

The old 2p – with the interwoven Celtic pattern of a bird. Or the old 50p with the bird on it. Old coins were great.

What is the most expensive country you have ever visited?

Japan – the cost of living is quite high there, so as a tourist it is an expensive country to visit. Japan is beautiful and it’s been one of the best, if not the best, vacations I’ve ever had.

Are you a spender or a saver?

I’m a careful spender and a good saver although I’m not good at initiating savings – so if someone helps me do that, that’s fine. My mother is a saver and a few years ago she encouraged me to open a savings account.

Would you buy Irish property now?

No, absolutely not – I have friends who want to start a family and their plans are completely inhibited by the housing market. I’m lucky to be in a position where I don’t have to buy all that stuff. House prices here are so astronomical that they inhibit life.

If you won EuroMillions, what would you do with the money?

A math teacher once told me that 90% of all lottery winners go bankrupt. So if I won the EuroMillions, maybe I would give it to someone who could handle it. I would also give a good chunk of it and make sure the family is comfortable.

Do you haggle sometimes?

Still. As an artist, there is always wiggle room when I put a price on a project and if the haggling is done in a respectful way, I have no problem with that.

Three things you couldn’t do without if you tightened your belt?

Coffee. Internet access. Paper and pencils.

About Johnnie Gross

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