In 1987, after the demise of Virgin Prunes, Gavin devoted himself to painting for a while, sharing a studio with Bono, Guggi and Charlie Whisker. The four friends would meet Wednesday evenings in Danesmoate, a mansion at the foot of the Dublin mountains. They had little in common when it comes to painting but found the same things funny and, in Charlie’s words: “We all seemed to enjoy being on two wheels.”
The sessions resulted in the exhibition called “Four Artists, Many Wednesdays” at Dublin’s Hendricks Gallery in 1988. Gavin, Guggi and Charlie Whisker showed their paintings, while Bono opted to exhibit photos he had taken in Ethiopia. Gavin titled his series of paintings “I didn’t come up the Liffey in a bubble”, an expression often used by his father. He says: “It was crazy, I made more money out of painting than out of six years with Rough Trade!”
Originally, the plan had been to research various characters and situations around Dublin, particularly street characters and religious soap-boxes. But in the end each worked on individual themes, though Gavin seems to have stuck close to the original idea: two of the paintings, “Sin E An La” and “Lady of the Flower”, were inspired by a woman, ‘a bit of a religious nut’ and a fan of Pope John Paul III, who used to frequent O’Connell Street announcing “the end of the world is nigh”.
Gavin: “That’s me being visually violent, not verbally or musically. It’s all about Dublinisms. I love this city…”