Maurice Cassidy was born in Ireland and graduated from Trinity College Dublin. He paints portraits utilizing oil on paper. His subjects are drawn from his surroundings. They are the people he cares about: family, loved ones, and friends. Inspired by Lucian Freud, his paintings are an autobiographical account, an attempt to create a record; they are an intimate exploration of the person and his relationship to them. There is a conversation with the subject, which he seeks to convey to capture the person's spirit so the viewer feels they are already acquainted. Utilizing oil on paper, he is drawn to the smoothness of oils, the vibrancy and depth of color, the aroma, the mess, how the paint attaches itself, and the feel of the brush gliding across the slightly crenellated paper. He views a clean brush and fresh sheet of paper as an invitation to explore what paint and paper can yield, and sometimes it yields a little bit of magic.
Having volunteered as an arts and crafts instructor at Stepping Stone in City Heights, his passion is to bring the arts to people in recovery, utilizing art not only as a hobby or an alternative way to have fun and enjoyment but also to experience the healing power of art in immediate and powerful ways.
When his friend Secret took her own life several years ago, he not only painted her portrait as a cathartic act but also started to write about their friendship and his experience of loss; he began to read the piece at open mics at the old ALANO club in Hillcrest. From those humble beginnings evolved a spoken-word piece that has been performed here in San Diego and Dublin, Ireland.
Maurice plans to use his grant from WMF to fund arts and crafts classes in a rehab facility and host open mics here in San Diego, so others might experience the power of performance as a healing, transformative act.