Lisburn artist brings wood back to life

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Lisburn artist, Brendan McKinlay, is breathing new life into wood at Rowallane Garden after he created unique ‘sound sculptures’ from the native trees.

Brendan went back to his roots recently when he started art school. “I was 19 when I went for an interview at art college,” he explained. “The interview went well but I just didn’t have the grades in English and Maths.”

The 49-year-old gave up on his dream of becoming an artist and got on with his life working in a pharmaceutical factory.

However, he always had a love of everything creative and spent much of his spare time playing music. He had even played with the likes of the Stiff Little Fingers.

But his first love was always art and 28 years after he gave up on his dream, he went back to try again. This time he was accepted into art college and is currently in the second year of his course.

Having worked in a number of mediums, Brendan recently feel in love with art and has combined this with his love of the spoken word for his latest creations, which are now on display at the National Trust property in Saintfield.

“I recorded the name and motto of the park and turned that into a vibration,” continued Brendan. “I then created that image out of wood from trees local to Rowallane Garden, I then turned them vertical and secured them in place.”

The Lisburn artist is also hoping to install more wooden sound sculptures in other parks throughout Northern Ireland.

He is also working towards a new exhibition at the Island Arts Centre in Lisburn, which will give local people another opportunity to experience his work first hand.

Brendan is also starting up his own school, teaching art to students. “I want to teach people how to do different styles,” he explained.

“I struggled to develop on my own because I had no-one to teach me. I don’t want other people to have to struggle as well.”

See Brendan’s work on display at Rowallane Gardens, Saintfield. Log onto for more information.