Brian McCarthy was born in Dublin 1960. At the age of just sixteen he was already painting and exhibiting professionally. A last minute application to join the Dun Laoghaire School of Art was accepted on the strength of his extraordinarily accomplished trompe-l'oeil paintings. His tutors, however, could teach him nothing about the meticulous technique he was developing, and he quit in frustration after a few terms.
Brian began to travel around Europe, regularly visiting museums in Paris, London and Venice. He studied everything from frescoes and paintings to masks, all the time developing his hyper-realistic style. He was particulary taken by Victorian romantics and neoclassicists like Bourgerou, then unfashionable but lately back in vogue.
Throughout the 1980s and early 1990, Brian exhibited in group shows such as the RHA, An tOireachtas and the Living Art. He also tutored aspiring artists in life drawing and oil painting. His paintings were now taking up to two months to execute, with many layers of glaze and oil required for the final image.
In 1996 he held his first one-man show, to general acclaim. It sold out on the first night. Around that time he began to exhibit regularly at the Oisin Gallery and to sell directly to major collectors in the UK.
In 2001 and 2002 he began to paint a series of imaginative scenes set in faraway places, and to make studies of decorative ceramic objects, real or imaginary.
Brian lives and works in Dublin.