Sean Hillen was born in Newry, Co. Down in 1961. He studied at the Belfast College of Art and in 1982 went to London where he furthered his artistic education at the London College of Printing and then at the Slade School of fine art. During the 1980’s his travels between London and his home led to him producing a body of photographic work which he later developed into photo -montage pieces that included the series’ “Ideas for a New Town”, “Newry Gagarin” and “LondoNewry, A Mythical Town”. The series for which he is now probably best known is “Irelantis” created between 1994 and 1997. In it Hillen uses the nostalgic and sometimes kitsch imagery of the picture postcard, juxtaposing international landmarks and sites with domestic ones and to create a fantastical world of bizarrely titled works like “The Piazza S. Marco on Narin Strand” and “Collecting Meteorites at Johnstown Castle”.
Sean has produced work in other media including video, illustration and graphic design and in 1997 he won the design competition for the Omagh Bomb Memorial and Garden along with landscape artist Desmond Fitzgerald. An important selection of works by Sean was recently exhibited in his home town at the Newry and Mourne Museum and also, earlier this year, at the Gallery of Photography in Temple Bar. At present Sean resides in Dublin.