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Alastair Kinroy

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A J Kinroy is a relief printmaker. He has been making prints for many years, but his work has only been in the public domain since 2021. He makes wood engravings, woodcut prints and linocut prints. His work is figurative and representational.

A J Kinroy currently lives and works in Edinburgh.


You couldn’t go anywhere in the first lockdown in 2020, not even to the end of the street. So we dreamed of journeys instead – in my case, places on the North Sea coast I’d seen, or would like to see. Mist and rain, greys and Prussian blues, fog, sandbanks, the cry of seagulls, foghorns, the sound of waves crashing on the shore, the feel of the wind, ships and turbines….. sometimes cerulean and azure blues, rocky shores, gannets, sparkling seas and beach cafes. And petro-chemical works. North Sea Spirit by Benjamin Walker and Knee-Deep in the North Sea by The Portico Quartet suited my mood. I cut the blocks for this series while sitting at the kitchen table.

I thought of the abandoned Art Deco outdoor pool at Tarlair north of Aberdeen. It faces north, set in a cove beneath dark cliffs – it must have been cold swimming there. It’s an architectural precursor of the white concrete lighthouse above the rocks at Fife Ness. And there is brutalism on the North Sea shore. The Nazis’ huge concrete defences ran through France and the Low Countries to Scandinavia, and some of its forbidding wreckage remains today. Parts of the Atlantic Wall were strangely architectonic; it’s claimed that their aesthetic influenced post-war Brutalist architecture.

I would like to see Ostend, with its James Ensor and Léon Spilliaert connections and from where, improbably, Marvin Gaye rebuilt his career in the last eighteen months of his life. I imagined sailing high above the Humber and out to sea, there to see trawlers, wind turbines and oil platforms. When I thought of petro-chemical works I remembered men in camo jackets exercising their dogs at Seal Sands, and people in swimsuits near Ijmuiden. It’s not always swimwear at the Dutch beach cafes, though. I looked out from a shack, while Elvis sang, at rain and fog on the beach. The shack – called Heartbreak Hotel – is an American diner on the North Sea island of Terschelling. Who wouldn’t dream of that?