From Contestant to Judge - Stephen Doyle

Community 2 min read

03 Sep 2020

From a young age, award winning artist Stephen Doyle, always knew he was different from the rest. He would play football to hang out with his friends, but it was never something he actually enjoyed doing. When he was around seven or eight years of age, he entered an art competition, and from then he knew he’d found where he belonged…  

At the age of seven, Stephen Doyle entered a local art competition where his mother worked. The prize was an Easter Egg, but when he won it, it felt as though he’d won a pot of gold. “For me when I was younger, it was all about where I fit in. 

I wasn’t always sporty or academic, but the art room was somewhere I felt safe to express myself, there was no one person better than another and I didn’t feel as if I was competing with anyone else".  Stephen didn’t always know he wanted to be an artist, he knew he was creative but never knew which creative path to take. 

The next competition Stephen entered was the Credit Union Art Competition. For him, entering competitions gave him the confidence to pursue what he was really passionate about. Competitions such as the Credit Union Art Competition allowed him to unleash that creative person he knew was in there. 

“In school, all you got was two hours on a Friday for art, it never gave you the chance to truly get a feel for whether this was something which you could actually continue as you got older in life”.  Spending a few hours after school every day, drawing and painting allowed him the space he needed to develop creatively. 

Through secondary school, art class was his favourite outlet of the day. He completed his state exams in school and continued his creative path to Art College. Stephen attended Crawford College of Art and Design in Cork Institute of Technology. This is when art became Stephen’s life. It was where he was meant to be. From the day he started in Crawford College, he knew this was the beginning of the rest of his life. Stephen had a passion for art, and no matter what stood in his way, he knew that this was the path for him.  

Graduating in 2017, Stephen’s work references queer identity and culture through art. Stephen has gone from strength to strength since graduating in 2017. Most notably, he was shortlisted for the prestigious Zurich Portrait Prize in the National Gallery of Ireland. His shortlisted piece was also the first ever piece to openly discuss transgender identity on the walls of the gallery.  

“Stephen Doyle’s work here is part of a tragically necessary resistance movement and I am proud to support and endorse his vision.”  Stephen Fry, in response to Degree Show Exhibition Beyond Dialogue 

From the humble beginnings of local art competitions, to paintings in the National Gallery, Stephen Doyle is one to watch.  

If you are an aspiring artist and are looking for a challenge, enter our free art competition at your local particpating credit union! More information on the competition and theme for this year can be found right here