Meet Guan

Meet John Sheehy

How long have you been creating art for and how often do you do art?

I’ve been painting for over 20 years. I started painting with The Big Issue where I joined their art and writing workshop. I paint all day, day and night! I live inside paint.

What is your technique? What do you enjoy painting/drawing? 

The first thing I do is I sign my work, so everyone knows it’s mine!

I don’t plan my paintings, I just usually paint what comes to mind. When I paint it is as if things just happen; as if things flow through my hands and just develop into a painting. In a sense, I would say that each stroke inspires and drives the next stroke.

What is your best experience or memory associated with art? 

When I first went to The Big Issue, I didn’t know that I could paint. Then I started to paint, and the tutor told me to keep painting. Learning that I could paint was one of the best experiences.

I can now paint very fast, I can do massive paintings in less than an hour, and I sometimes work on 8-9 paintings at a time.

Which piece of art are you most proud of / what is your favorite design? 

Every piece is equal to me. Each piece is a continuation of each other and so they are all equal.

How has creating art had a positive effect on you?   

Painting helps me get through the day and helps me manage depression and anxiety. Sometimes when I don’t have the energy, I won’t paint, but then when I start to paint again I always think “Why did I leave it so long?”

What make you become a HomeLess Made artist?   

I joined HomeLess Made because one of the HomelessMade artists approached me and asked me if I wanted to join the project. I’m very glad I decided to join.

My experience so far with HomelessMade has been excellent. Really wonderful. It’s nice to work with other artists. Participating with other artists is very inspiring, and it motivates me.

Tell us one thing we don't know about you?

I’m in my 70s but I don’t look it!

What advice would you give to people starting out with art or who don't have much confidence in their artistic abilities?

I would advise them and support them to keep painting and to value their own work, value their own creation.

What are your interests or hobbies outside of art?

I play the flute, harmonica and banjo. I don’t play to the public though, I play to the dead in graveyards and the wildlife and to myself.

I’m also a serious writer. I write lyrics and poems and very short stories and plays. I sometimes also write in my art.

If you could only bring two pieces of music and one object onto a desert island what would you choose?

I would choose to bring two of my own songs.
A flute.