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?
Hmong Woman and Child Little Donkey without a Tail