Dermot Seymour is probably best known for his representations of animals, domesticated and wild, naturalised in Ireland. That includes several kinds of fish (he is a fisherman), numerous cows, sheep, dogs, goats, hares and more. At one point he became known as a painter of cows. As he pointed out, there are many more cows in Ireland than humans. His depictions of animals usually refer to the activities of humans.
Born in Belfast, he grew up during the Troubles, and his first mature work dealt with the experience of living in the North. He has on occasion, and wrongly, been labelled a surrealist (his own term, magic realist, is closer to the mark). An easy mistake given that much of that early work derived from what he perceived as the surreality of Northern Ireland, arising from the bizarre, disturbing collision of the militarised and the ordinarily rural, and the fact that everything in the North had a kind of identity code – even a cow could be a Protestant cow or a Catholic cow.
His penchant for acerbic, satirical commentary established, he moved south of the border and is based in rural Co Mayo. From there he has made work commenting on agribusiness, the Celtic Tiger and its aftermath, politics and celebrity.