Thursday 13 June 2013

The Half Moon Pantheon

If you've been around the Cork Opera House lately, or more specifically around the back of the building, where the Half Moon Theatre is located, you may have seen these fantastic portraits already....

To help launch its summer season, the Opera House commissioned two Cork-based graffiti artists - Dusto and Pschonautes - to paint a mural featuring portraits of prominent Irish writers along the rear wall of the theatre on Half Moon Street. The mural was a joint project, involving the Opera House and the Camden Palace Hotel as well as Flava Floors.

An article about the mural, by Eoin English, appeared in the The Irish Examiner on 1 May 2013. The article includes an interview with Dusto, and this is the link to it:

The article says Dusto and Pschonautes spent two months researching the mural and one week painting it. The work includes the tags of other graffiti writers that were already on the wall of the theatre before the mural was put up.

The mural includes portraits of the following Irish writers (from left to right): George Bernard Shaw, C.S. Lewis, James Joyce, William Butler Yeats, Oscar Wilde, Theo Dorgan, Samuel Beckett, Bram Stoker, Maeve Binchy and Conal Creedon.


George Bernard Shaw

C.S. Lewis

James Joyce

William Butler Yeats

Oscar Wilde

Theo Dorgan

Samuel Beckett

Bram Stoker

Maeve Binchy

Conal Creedon

Some of these portraits were used on the cover (and inside) of the Summer 2013 brochure for the Opera House and Half Moon. Here is a link to an online version of the brochure:

There are short bios of the two artists in the brochure. For Dusto, the text reads:

Adam O'Connor (DUSTO) is a self-taught graffiti artist and the owner of the Flava Floors Dance & Art Studio. He started painting in 1996 and since then he has been a strong member of Cork's street art scene.

He is most known for his detailed backgrounds, light effects and funky hip hop style characters. Dusto has worked on many projects throughout Ireland and has been teaching and giving talks on street art for the last three years.

About Psychonautes, the brochure says:

Living in Cork, but originally from France, Psychonautes' incredibly detailed work is done with multi-layered stencils and has been inspired by tiles and stained glass since he moved to Ireland.

His use of colourful and striking geometrical backgrounds, combined with a concentrated attention to detail sets Psychonautes work apart, making it truly breath-taking.

A fellow named Marcin Lewandowski made a video of Dusto and Psychonautes putting up the mural. It is available on YouTube, and here is the link:

Marcin also has some of his great photography posted on his own website, and here is that link:

More work by Dusto and Psychonautes can be found at their website:

This website says the following about Dusto:

Dusto is a self-taught graffiti writer and the owner of Flava Floors Hip Hop Studio in Cork. From an early age he showed signs of being an artist and by the time he turned fifteen (1996) he had left school to pursue a career in traditional sign painting. It was at this time that he became interested in graffiti art. By 1997 he had gotten his name “Dust” from his niece who called him dusty fingers, referring to the paint spatters on his fingers. Since then Dusto has spent many years traveling, painting and working as a signwriter. Having spent the best part of his life working in the sign industry he has a great understanding and confidence when it comes to large scale artwork/murals. When you look at any of his work you can see the variety of surfaces and styles he can paint.

In 2010 Dusto opened Flava Floors where he set up an art space and dance studio which is now highly respected within the hip hop community. It is there he teaches graffiti workshops and breakdance classes. He also teaches graffiti in many schools and youth groups throughout Ireland and for Specialist Crafts Ltd in many locations in the UK.

The website gives the following information about Psychonautes:

Living in Cork, but originally from France where the practice of stenciling is born in the early 80′s. Without being in an art school, he was just walking along a street in Paris when his interest was piqued by something he saw on a wall. It was a black and white painting. On the moment he was wondering how it was done and discovered that it was a stencil. At this moment he had only one things in mind : try to do one by himself. Which he did the next day. He never stop since.

With the years his technic of stenciling has evolved to a really high details and colourfull work. When he moved to Ireland, he wanted to create image more close to the culture of this country. He found his inspiration in stainded glass windows of the various church of the country. The first works with the stained glass style was portraits of famous graffiti writers and street artists turn as icon, with a gold hallow behind them. He also like to do skulls, which is kind of a recurrent imagery in his work.

He recently refocused his work on animals, most of the time along with a witty sentence showing the animals as an anthropomorphic representation of human beings. It’s a tip of the hat to Jean De La Fontaine, a famous french fabulist, known to critizied the society through animals reprentation.


  1. Just a little mistake, the 4th charater is William Yeats and not Patrick Kavanagh ;D

  2. OK, thanks! Will make a correction!