Well I was born in Dublin, Ireland and lived there for the early part of my childhood. My family moved to the United States when I was around six or seven years old. Twelve years and a few citizenship tests later, my family now calls Portland, Oregon home. Art and design has always been a natural interest of mine but I didn’t start to focus on it until my senior year of high school when it occurred to me that the idea of writing papers for another four years was absolutely terrifying. After a frantic rush to piece together a portfolio, I am now a sophomore textile design student at the Rhode Island School of Design. I hope to work as a fabric designer either for apparel or interiors and eventually get an MBA.
Tell us about your background.
Name some people, artists, artistic genres, etc. that have been influential in your work.
I love color and pattern and am really attracted to traditional textiles from India, Peru, Guatamala and Morrocco. The aesthetics of Baroque interiors and Native American art are two great interests of mine. As far as artist go I am always inspired by Rothgo, de Kooning, Wayne Thiebaud, Diane Arbus, Monet, Carravagio and Sargent. The designs of John Paul Gautier and Christian Lecroix are also really inspiring. But through and through, Martha Stewart remains a personal icon. I am fascinated by her story and success as a female entrepreneur and designer. She is a wonderful contradiction of females as both domestic housewives and cut throat businesswomen, her stint in jail only adds to that.
Where and how do you get your ideas?
Much as my interests might suggest, I pull ideas from all over the place. Nothing is ruled out as a source of inpiration. The more research I have to do the better. There’s nothing more satisfying than learning about an entirely new subject and processing that knowledge through the creation of a design. Then once the piece is complete you’ll be able to talk about it articulately and understand design decisions better because they all came out of a highly thought out concept or context. Even with something as potentially flat and purely aesthetic pattern, if it makes a comment about something and serves a purpose its usually more interesting.
What materials do you work with? Describe your technical processes.
In my drawing i work a lot in charcoal. Now that I am in my first year of textiles I’ve been learning silk screen, stenciling, spinning yarn by hand, dyeing (natural, disperse, acid, mx, and direct dye methods), weaving on a hand loom and machine knitting. I’m not fluent in any one skill set yet, but I’ve been enjoying the hands on nature of each process.
What do you find to be the most challenging part of being creative? What is the best part of being creative?
Nearly everyone is creative in some way, those who are artistically creative and work at it, are just more connected with that side of themselves and pursue it relentlessly. The flip side to that is often very creative artistic people are so in tune with their own work and emotions that they can lose their connection with the outside world and with their relationships to others. It can be difficult to strike a balance when you are so passionate and surrounded by equally passionate people. I’ve lost a good few friendships with peers who have disappeared into their own work. It’s important to surface from studio to breathe. That being said, the reward from such dedication and passion is unlike any other. But as with most things, balance is key.
What advice would you give to someone seeking advice about being an artist?
Work. Work. Work. It doesn’t matter how well you can render a nude figure the first time you try. Or the second time or the third or fourth or fifth or etc. The only thing that separates “good” artists from “great” artists is the amount of hours you pour into it. Art is all about perseverance, because chances are you’re going to make some really terrible, god awful, big shitty messes of drawings that make you wonder why you even bothered with this drawing thing in the first place. But if you can push past that and keep going, you’l be fine in the end.
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