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Questions and Answers with talented spray paint artist Adam Illes

The Hungarian artist Adam Illes has fallen in love with Limerick City since he moved here ten years ago. The popular artist Adam Illes has a series of murals around the City and hopes to develop his work further. Ilovelimerick correspondent Frances Watkins sat down with Adam to talk about his work.

Why did you move to Limerick?

I moved here 10 years ago because I didn’t want to go to University back home. I got accepted and I could have gone but life happens. My dad’s friend came here on holidays and he recommended it to me as a place to go so I decided why not? I wanted a radical change from the life I used to live back home. You should be radical to make any big changes in your life I think. I would love to move back to Hungary eventually but at the moment it’s just not possible to pursue my dreams over there. I can’t make a living there out of my passion. 

Adam Illes

Adam Illes’ mural of revered actor Anthony Hopkins.

When did you start painting your murals?

When I was 15 I became interested in graffiti. I only ever painted on paper though I never went off to paint on walls. Then when I came to Ireland and got more into the graffiti side of things. People too often associate graffiti with vandalism, there are certain aspects of it that can be taken as vandalism but I am not that type of artist. I prefer to spend my time on the wall working in detail. I started to paint murals here after a few years once I had learned how to control a spray can. I got bored of classic graffiti and I wanted to do something different so I started It off by painting a lion which I was very happy with and that’s how it all started.

What are your favourite designs to paint?

I specialise in photo realism. I prefer to paint my murals in black and white. When you have an image in black and white you have to try and capture the soul behind the character. If one of my clients asks for a colourful character I have no problem with that either as I really enjoy playing with colours and shapes.


Adam Illes

A mural painted by Adam Illes at a yoga studio in Ennis.

Tell me about some of the feedback you have gotten on your work.


My workmates from Coq Bull always ask me why am I still working in the restaurant when I am so talented. I am getting loads of positive feedback, people seem to love it. The only negative feedback I get back is from my dad. He used to hate the fact that I painted graffiti and then I started to come up with different characters and faces and he became my biggest critic. He will tell me if it’s not right. I painted a piece back home a month ago and he spent the day with me telling me which bits I needed to fix.

What kind of commercial work have you done?

I have done a barber shop on William street, I have painted a yoga studio in Ennis and a huge mural for Titan Sports. I have also painted for Delta, the new bar in Coq Bull called Inc as well. That took me about 20 hours over four or five days. The one I did for Titan Sports was a gladiator and that took me five full days to do. That was very challenging because the wall was very big.

Do you have a favourite mural that you have paint?

That is like asking a singer “do you have a favourite song?”.  I have put my heart into all the murals that I have painted. They all have a piece of me on the wall. I don’t have a favourite one, all of them mean something different to me. The gladiator wall was challenging that is why it is so special to me. The yoga studio in Ennis was very peaceful and it was a beautiful experience. I have different memories of each one.

To watch Adam Illes at work click here

For more on art in Limerick click here

Richard is a presenter, producer, songwriter and actor. He was named the Limerick Person of the Year (2011) and won an online award at the Metro Éireann Media and Multicultural Awards (2011) for promoting multi-culturalism online. Richard says that the concept is very much a community driven project that aims to document life in Limerick. So, that in 20 years time people can look back and remember the events that were making the headlines.