1.Tell us about yourself. Have you always made art?
I have always loved to draw and paint. Luckily for me, I grew up in a family that have always appreciated creativity from drawing to music to architecture. Therefore, I was absorbed into the art world at a young age. I even remember being in awe at my dad’s watercolour and grandad’s oil paintings that are proudly hung on the walls of my family home. With my work now hanging up on the wall too, it has been become somewhat of a family gallery.
2. How did you get started in printmaking?
I had my introduction into Lino printing at the age of 16 at college and I immediately loved the technicality of the process. Unfortunately, I couldn’t take it much further due to a lack of available facilities. When searching for art universities, I was intrigued to find that LCC had incredible printing equipment and inductions. I was finally able to expand my knowledge of printing into new methods such as screen printing, letterpress, and lithography. Lino is still my favourite print medium, because of the textures it allows me to bring to my work.
3. Who are your biggest influences?
I am heavily influenced by modern artists, such as Andy Warhol, Craig Stephens and Jeff Koons. All of whom are artists that take ordinary commercial objects and transform them into art icons. I am inspired by their ability to shed new light on graphic design that we see daily, such as food labels. I find it a shame that they are often overlooked within the art world. A GCSE art project of mine consisted solely of recreating product labelling and all it’s intricate details.
The use of pop art that has been influenced by the culture of advertisements fascinates me as it is a mirror of the society at that time.
I love commercial illustrations and posters from the likes of vintage London Underground advertisements or attraction posters such as the London Zoo. I have an appreciation for dramatic composition and graphic colours – being minimal is not a talent of mine!
In my artwork, I like to experiment a lot with colours and love to show many combinations of complimentary and contrasting features. I admire the colour palettes of Van Gogh, Gauguin, and Matisse.
I have a huge appreciation for nature and have represented it in some of my artwork over the years. Works I have created recently are designed to embrace the diversity of the flora and fauna that are currently at risk due to the declining environmental situation. I am also inspired by my Brazilian heritage and want to bring awareness to the constantly rising dangers that the wonders of the Amazon face.
4. Where do you make work now that you’ve graduated? What does your current work setup look like?
This year of 2020 has been a challenge for us all so after completing my studies and graduating during lockdown from my home, it is foggy to try and envision the near future and be motivated to create new pieces. However, during these times, optimism is the best way forward. Recently, I have had the chance to return to the LCC relief printing studio and I have found a new drive of energy to continue creating.
I have a desk set up in my living room with all my supplies, from paints to fabric. Here, I can work away surrounded by posters from exhibitions I have been to over the years. However, I find that inspiration can strike at any time of day. I have the Pocket ProCreate app on my phone to make sketches of ideas that come to mind whilst waiting for the next tube to arrive or my coffee order to be ready. Later, when I’m back at my desk I can then work on these concepts more and develop them further by resketching and painting in colour schemes.
For now, I will be putting my efforts into making as much artwork as I can to upload onto my Instagram account or sell on an Esty shop till more job opportunities open up.
5. Looking back on your time at LCC, what advice would you give to yourself, if you could travel back in time?
Any free time you get, dedicate it to something brand new or something you want to learn more about. There are always areas to explore in printing and in your own process as you constantly absorb inspirations around you. Expand, learn and develop.
Don’t shy away from opportunities to bring more awareness to your work, exhaust the list.
Finally, while I unwillingly graduated during the Covid-19 pandemic, I would definitely say don’t take the university space and facilities for granted.
6. Where can we see more of your work?
I post weekly on my art Instagram account @cm_getscreative where I share the process behind my current projects and then reveal the final pieces.
I also have an online portfolio, which is accessible at https://catiakelleher.myportfolio.com/