A Boyhood Tintin fan’s mission is to turn every Irish lighthouse into art

A designer drew inspiration from his childhood hero Tintin, the world-renowned investigative journalist, in his printed recreations of Irish lighthouses.

Bert Dufour, originally from Belgium, developed a fascination with lighthouses after moving in 2011 to Clonakilty, a town in County Cork, Ireland.

His adventures spanned from Rathlin at the tip of Northern Ireland to Fastnet in Cork on the south coast. It traveled over 2,000 km in three years, capturing all 80 operational lighthouses on the island.

Now all 55 prints made so far have been framed – and are due to be displayed later this month at Gifted, Ireland’s largest craft and design fair.

“There’s a beauty to these towers and the way they look out over the ocean,” he said.

“I am stunned by how these structures were created 150 to 200 years ago.

“I find how they were built and where they were built quite fascinating.”

The “great influence” of Tintin

Mr Dufour, founder of The Designer of Things, said his work was inspired by famous Brussels graphic designer Herge, who is best known as the creator of The Adventures of Tintin comic strip.

The illustrations – made using on-location sketches and still photographs, before being digitally edited – have rightly been compared to the famous stories about the adventurous boy reporter and his trusty pet dog, Snowy.

“Some people have told me that my illustrations remind them of the Tintin books,” he said.

“Comics have been a big influence on the way I illustrate. I was a huge fan of the books growing up and still have a full collection in their original hardcover prints.”

“I try to simplify them so that my prints are not a photographic representation, but rather a very stylized representation,” he added.

The graphic designer hopes to complete the lighthouse project next year.

Although he said he couldn’t choose his favorite lighthouse, he shared that he had a soft spot for Fastnet.

“I’m drawn to all the lighthouses that have been built on rocky islands in these incredibly remote places,” he added.

“Given the era in which they were built, in this case first completed in 1854 and rebuilt in 1897, and the tools available at the time, not to mention their scale when you are near in a boat, it’s impressive – inspiring.”

The designer has also created a 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle of 16 of his lighthouse prints, to be included in Gifted’s exhibition, from November 30 to December 4 at the RDS in Dublin.

About Oscar L. Smith

Check Also

A fresco of Kanye is repainted, another remains. It’s public art.

We forget that we are in conversation with public art until something happens. Then we …