Talks with Tolkien artists: gilronan

9 min read

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MirachRavaia's avatar
By MirachRavaia

Allow me to introduce you a wonderful professional artist and Tolkien illustrator who joined deviantArt just recently, Joe Gilronan :icongilronan: - gilronan.

1. Hello! For the beginning, could you tell us something about yourself?

I am a full time professional artist and create work exclusively influenced by the writings of J.R.R Tolkien. I am originally from Chester, England but have lived in sunny Southern Spain for the last 6 years. I have exhibited and sold work world wide and work primarily in oils, acrylic and clay.

2. When did you read Tolkien's books for the first time, and what impression did they leave in you?

I suppose it all started from a very early age when I first heard a reading of the Hobbit on a British children's TV show called Jackanory. I just loved the whole world that he had created, this in turn led me to The Lord of the Rings/Silmarillion. Ever since a part of me has inhabited this world and art has allowed me to continue this magical journey.

3. How extensive is your knowledge of Middle-earth? Do you consider yourself Tolkien nerd?

Huge, not a week goes by without having to dip into (reference) one of the books, they never leave my side whilst painting; they are the main driving force behind all of my works. Tolkien's writings have been a part of my life for so long that they have inevitably had a huge impact on how I see and live my life. There is a lot of wisdom to be gleaned from the writings and in some ways the books have become an unofficial guide as to how I live my life; so yes, I suppose I am a Tolkien nerd.

4. When the movies came out, many of the inner pictures of characters and scenes in the mind of the readers have been replaced by actors and settings from the movie. Did it happen to you as well? Did you try to prevent it?

Although the books will always be the major source of inspiration behind my work, the films cannot be dismissed out of hand. After finishing a painting, I realize that certain characters and settings sometimes strongly resemble the film versions. Tolkien’s Middle-earth and the Peter Jackson/Ralp Bakshi films have become such an integral part of one another, that at times it is very difficult to separate one from the other.

5. Now, could you tell us something about you and art? We know you are a professional artists, so what influenced this decision in your life? Who or what influenced your style?

It probably all started from a love of early fantasy films, films like King Kong, Jason and The Argonauts, The Wizard of Oz, the list is endless.

Trying to capture these fantastical worlds on paper is what first led me to want to create. Then Tolkien came along and that was it, I just knew that I had to try and commit his writings to canvas.

6. You only recently joined deviantArt. How is your experience with the site so far?

Fantastic, its such a warm, friendly and supportive site and best of all there are lots of groups with some amazing artists dedicated to Tolkien/fantasy inspired art work.

7. Where do you find inspiration for the Middle-earth sceneries you paint? Is it just your fantasy, or real locations as well?

I pretty much allow Tolkien’s writings to reveal themselves in the landscape and nature around me. I currently live amongst mountains, hill top castles and sprawling olive groves; it takes very little to imagine elves dwelling amongst the mist shrouded trees, dwarf strongholds in the mountains or proud knights populating the castles.

8. Most of your pictures are painted with oil or acrylics. Do you rather keep to the art techniques and styles you are familiar with, or do you experiment with new ones as well?

I constantly experiment and use lots of different mediums and feel it is very important to try out different ideas and techniques; it helps to keep things fresh. At the moment I am playing around with earth mixed with modelling clay in order to produce some very texturized pieces.

9. Could you give us a link or thumbnail from your gallery of

- a Tolkien illustration you are most proud of?

This is difficult as each painting has its merits and flaws, however this piece is set during the opening chapters of TLOTR and for me is the best part of the book; so I have a soft spot for this one.

- a picture from other fandom or original picture you are most proud of?…

Anything by J. M. W. Turner who is my all time favourite artist.

- a picture that was hardest to paint?

Mordor was a challenge as I deliberately avoided using black, which is the first colour that comes to mind when interpreting the land of shadow.

10. What key people in your life, (on or off of dA) have been inspirations to you, or has supported you, as an artist? You can also tell us why, if you want.

Without a doubt my Father who made a name for himself as a leading British landscape painter. As a child I was constantly in and out of his studio and without even knowing taking my first art lessons by watching him paint.

11. Is there some artist(s) at dA you know, who doesn't have as much attention as they would deserve? If yes, could you give us some thumbnails from their gallery?

There are to many to mention and I feel it would be unfair to choose just one; I am a particular fan of lots of the digital artists, which is a art form I used to brush off before joining Deviant Art.

12. Is there something else you would like to tell to the fans of Tolkien and your art?

2014 promises to be a very exciting year with many exhibitions planned and the release of my first book "From The Shire To The Sea"

Thank you for the interview!

All talks: Talks with Tolkien artists - complete listA complete list of all interviews from the "Talks with Tolkien artists" series. It will be updated after each interview posted.
The list featuring a few pictures from the interviewed artists had to be split due to size limit:

Talks with Tolkien artists: part 1
Talks with Tolkien artists: part II
Talks with Tolkien artists: part III

Bullet; Blue 1. with Gold-Seven :iconGold-Seven:

Bullet; Blue 2. with steamey :iconsteamey:
Bullet; Blue 3. with ekuk

Rohirrim journal skin.

Horse head © 2009 - Grinmir-stock
Texture by kizistock
Knotwork by gbrgraphix
© 2014 - 2021 MirachRavaia
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Lyriel-MoonShadow's avatar
He is one of my favorite artists! Thank you for this interview :)
MirachRavaia's avatar
It's an old one, I just updated it with the information about his new account :)
Lyriel-MoonShadow's avatar
I am glad he is back on deviantArt :)
SnowInHades's avatar
His art is wonderful. Thank you for sharing :hug:
ElAnorElanor's avatar
Is he gone from DA? :(
MirachRavaia's avatar
Unfortunately, yes :(
ElAnorElanor's avatar
Is his art publicly available on some other site?
spicedwinefanfic's avatar
JGilronan is such a wonderful artist; I am so interested to read this interview. His paintings could be hung in every home and only enhance them. They're incredibly beautiful with a wonderful atmosphere. I am not surprised Turner is Mr Gilronan's favourite artist; I thought of him when first seeing the paintings of Middle-earth. :)
MirachRavaia's avatar
You are right about his painting, I just got a note from the post that my print of "The Great River" arrived! Can't wait to hang it in my hall :eager:
spicedwinefanfic's avatar
Oh, how wonderful! Yes, I want some, too!
jgilronan's avatar
Thank you doesn't seem very much for such a wonderful comment but I really mean it and appreciate it.
spicedwinefanfic's avatar
You are welcome. Your art really touches me on so many levels, and your pictures of the Shire remind me of where I used to live -- very good memories!
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