Feature Friday with Claire O’Brien

For our very first ‘Feature Friday’ we are excited to introduce: Claire O’Brien!
Claire is the amazing artist behind our ‘Santa’s Secret Kingdom’ artwork…
Why are we featuring Claire?
“I had been a fan of Claire’s work for sometime and when, at Glitter and Gore HQ, we began discussing the artwork for Santa’s Secret Kingdom I had no doubt that Claire was the woman for the job.” Says Creative Director, Lizzi Wood-Vashishtha.
We are so pleased with our beautiful, original artwork. We really put Claire under some pressure with a super quick turn around time but she remained cheerful and worked hard to get it done!
So without further ado here’s our first little ‘Feature Friday’ interview:
Hi Claire, can you start off by telling us a bit about yourself.
Hi! I’m Claire and I’m an Illustrator from Ireland. I love collecting embroidered textiles, yarn, fancy tins and obsessing over over-priced rugs on Etsy. I am passionate about illustration for children, and I dream about publishing my first book someday soon.
So how long have you been in Hong Kong and what do you do here? 
It’s coming up on 4 and a half years this January…so a long time! I teach Film, Animation, Digital Illustration and Communications Studies at a Creative Studio in Aberdeen. I’m also involved in marketing and digital communications strategies, making promotional materials, videos and social media management.
How did you discover your amazing talent?
I always drew from the time I could hold a pencil, so it honestly never occurred to me until much later, when I was around seven or eight. I think that’s when my parents started to realise it was a little different. I just remember always loving to draw more than anything else. I drew all the time, constantly. It was my number one pastime!
What do you love most about what you do? 
I love the feeling of being inspired and then creating something – good or bad. Just making. Sometimes, I surprise myself with creating something I didn’t know I could. But mostly, I just feel joy when I paint. I really can’t explain it better than that. But of course, it is also nice when other people like it too!
What/who inspires you to do what you do?
One of my favourite things to do is look for inspiration and artists I haven’t come across before. I spend a lot of time on Behance (a social network for visual creatives) and Instagram (@Dazhkaclaire), and I get inspired seeing what other artists are up to. I also love folk arts, textiles and crafts; they’re a huge inspiration for me, especially traditional dress and national costumes. Pinterest is great for that – I’m an avid Pinner! Other than that, my favourite artists (among others) are Eyvind Earle, Mary Blair, Annette Marnat and Marc Boutavant. I love their work.
What’s been your favourite piece/project that you’ve worked on?
My favourite pieces tend to change from time to time, depending on the new things I am working on, but probably Autumn or the Little Donkey are still some of my favourite illustrations I’ve done.
What’s been the most challenging piece/project so far? 
That’s an interesting one. I think perhaps Hmong Woman and Child, just because I was experimenting a lot with that piece, and it turned my work in a whole new direction. So that was quite exciting.
Can you take us on a brief journey of how you create your work? 
I nearly always start with pencil on paper. I enjoy the feel of the pencil in my hand. Then I photograph my work, and import it into Photoshop, and I paint digitally over it. I use a Wacom tablet to paint with, but I’ve only been painting digitally for two years. Before that, I either painted traditionally using gouache, ink and acrylic, or I worked in vector (that’s a flat style of digital rendering).
Are there any pieces that you would like to share with us? 
Sure! These are some of my favourite pieces. You can also find more work on my website: www.claireobrienillustration. com or on Instagram @Dazhkaclaire.
    hmong-woman-and-child-claire-obrien-dazhka-claire-illustration                                 little-donkey-without-a-tail
                   Hmong Woman and Child                                                             Little Donkey without a Tail
Lizzi Wood-Vashishtha
Lizzi Wood-Vashishtha
Lizzi Wood-Vashishtha, is a heart-centered ladypreneur and founded Glitter and Gore in 2016. A professional performer from the UK, Lizzi has over 17 years of international entertainment experience – singing, dancing, acting and performing. When she’s not performing, Lizzi goes behind the scenes, managing Glitter and Gore, creating FUN experiences for kids, families, adults and companies as well as training the performers. Combining her passion and experience on and off-stage, she introduces unique theatre elements to the Glitter and Gore FUNtertainment services, generating wow-worthy, memorable experiences to the Hong Kong community.

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