Our guest on this episode of Tales and Trails is Dublin artist Al Hester, AKA Maser, whose work lights up the walls of the capital with colourful murals that embody a seminal time in Ireland. His most recent project is a studio space in the city centre that supports and encourages emerging talent.
We walked the Killeshandra Loop (Find the full trail guide here), County Cavan in Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands, a walk that takes you through unspoiled Cavan countryside and dense forestry, broken up by the bubbling streams and glimpses of lakes through the trees.
Maser talks to us about his love for the outdoors, his struggles in the school system and how he discovered street art.
“I try to get out and walk or hike as much as I can. It’s great for your mindset, health, relationships, ambition, drive, and all of that good stuff.
“When I was a child, I wanted to be a lumberjack or a WWE wrestler. When I got to art college, I packed in all of those sports and activities, because I thought I had to fit into this cliché of what an artist was. As I got older, I realised that those clichés weren’t beneficial to me. It’s okay to be someone who likes to go to the gym and also paint.
“I was terrible in school. That structure didn’t suit me, where I was supposed to consume and then spit out information.
“Socially, school was a great time for me, but I definitely dreaded every Monday. I dreaded certain classes because I thought that I was inferior. The parameters that were put in place made me feel stupid.
“But all of us ‘stupid kids’ are now doing pretty well.
“I started to graffiti when I was 15.
“I came across a magazine at Forbidden Planet on Harcourt Street and it became my insight into the graffiti world.
“I got to see all the work of the artists in England and around Europe. So, I bought the magazine and then as I got older, I explored it a little bit more. I would go into town and see that there were other artists doing loads of cool stuff.
“So, I bought spray paint and I started just spray painting around the city.”
For our full interview with Maser, recorded live on the Killeshandra Loop in County Cavan, listen to the full episode below:
For spectacular sights, invigorating sensations and unforgettable experiences, make your next short break a walking break in Ireland's Hidden Heartlands. Walking makes your break.
For more information or to plan your walking break in Ireland's Hidden Heartlands, visit the Tales and Trails hub here.