FTLO regularly feature creative talents we've worked with or admire.
Check back here to get unique insights into their process and what they have coming up.

Eóin Francis McCormack

October 22 2016 
Recently featured at the Affordable Art Fair in New York City, to add to exhibitions in both Ireland and Scotland, Irish painter Eóin McCormack gives FTLO some insight into his process.

Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Eóin Francis McCormack and I make large abstract oil paintings.

When did you know you wanted to become an artist?
I have always had an interest since a very young age but I knew I wanted to be an artist when my mother took me to The Huge Lane gallery in Dublin to see the Francis Bacon Studio.

How do you create your work?
The process is very important to my work, it is crucial that I have total control in every aspect of the work. So I make the wooden stretcher myself I stretch the canvas and prime the canvas. In doing this I know that the surface I’m about to use is of the highest quality. For many paintings I make my own paint from dry pigments again striving for total control although I have recently started experimenting with spray paint. I have constructed a practice that explores painting as a work ethic, stressing the routine and physical labor aspects of working as an artist. The work of the painter and the world of the artist’s studio often seem to exist in contradiction to accepted concepts of ‘working’ in our contemporary culture. To choose to be a maker of something, without a clearly defined purpose, in our society is something artists must constantly deal with in their work. Acutely aware of this as a painter, I explore these contradictions through the working methods I implement.

Does where you live influence your work and how?
My studio is in the Liberties in the heart of Dublin. The area is in a kind of flux at the moment as we are coming out of this current recession. Cool cafés and bars are popping up everywhere, their is Teeling Whiskey Distillery around the corner who have been massively supportive to my practice purchasing several works, 2 of which are on permanent public display at their visitor's centre in Newmarket Square. The area is a hive of creative activity which inspires me massively. This energy in Dublin at the moment is incredible and is something that has definitely followed me into the studio. 

What music is currently on your studio playlist?
Music is key to my practice I use it as a tool to lose myself in the work and forget about external issues. I like music that tells a story. Ghost Rats, Video Blue and Trick Mist are 3 great Irish born acts very close to my heart who provide constant inspiration. Also Dylan, Cohen, The Band, Damien Dempsey, Nick Cave, Shane MacGowan, Willie Nelson, Townes Van Zandt ,Tony Bennet, Liam Clancy. I could go on forever; Levon Helm, Johnny Cash, Elvis and Bob Dylan are kind of it for me, they are a constant.

What do you do when you're not creating art?
I like to cook. But if I’m not making paintings I’m thinking about it or else doing stuff like this.

What under-appreciated artist, gallery, or work do you think people should know about?
I sell most of my work with Saatchi Art online and the rest myself which is the way a lot of artists are going now. Well my 'watch this space' artist would be a London based painter called Ronan McGeough, fucking hard worker and that's what it's about.

What's next for Mr. McCormack?
Next up for me is a solo show of paintings here in Dublin at Nordic Makers opening the 1st of December running till the new year, and then back to NYC asap. I have lots in the pipe line, keep an eye on my various social medias.


Spirit of Dublin Mini Doc by Claire Byrne
Headshorts: The Eoin Francis McCormack Episode

Dermot McConaghy aka DMC

December 05 2015
We first met DMC back in 2009, when he exhibited in the first FTLO exhibition. Back then he was Dermot McConaghy and worked in digital collage, but over the past few years he has developed into one of Ireland's top street artists and has painted major large scale pieces on buildings throughout the country and further afield. Today he is simply known as DMC. We caught up with him for our latest feature about his art and love of fast food combos.

Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Dermot McConaghy. I am an artist... I paint under my initials ...DMC.

When did you know you wanted to become an artist?
Art has always been a big influence... I remember I used to always draw things for my mates back in primary school. I guess I have always liked seeing how people respond to art... Coming from a working class background in the north of Ireland we didn’t have much... Art was one low cost way to keep ourselves entertained and I was shit at everything else apart from throwing stones and climbing trees.

Describe a typical day for DMC?
Ehhhh... wake, check phone, shower, shampoo and condition the beard, check phone, sausage rolls, pot noodle, check phone, draw or paint something somewhere, sneaky burger, check phone, talk shit with friends, draw, look at art, check phone, pizza, gravychip, beer, check phone and then I usually take it easy after lunch. 

We first met you at the first FTLO back in 2009, where you had a very different style of work, digital collage. What brought you down the road of streetart?
There were a few factors as to why... Mostly I wasn’t satisfied with my output... in volume, scale and impact. I wanted to work bigger and create more by hand so I taught myself how to paint and went for it. I had previously did small street pieces and already seen how it was a great way of getting the work out to a larger audience. That collage work was something I created from home when I was working in a factory. In 2008 I made the leap into full time art and found that my new circumstances allowed for a better run at travelling and painting bigger walls.  

You had the pleasure of painting with some of Ireland’s greats of the street art scene; Conor Harrington, JMK and James Earley, on a farm up North. How did a venture like that start?
I was good friends with a bunch of mad sisters, The McStay girls... We always hung out, they liked the work I did and Helen suggested to her dad Noel, a farmer, to give me a wall on his farm. Big Noel being the legend that he is, ended up letting us paint the whole farm... First myself and JMK went out, after that Conor was in the north doing a wall and he emailed to see if I was around to give a hand so we took him out to Noel's for a spot of painting, few beers and roast beef sambos. James followed a few weeks later too. Was such a cool spot and the craic was always mighty. However Noel passed away recently. I really miss the fella. We owe him a lot for what he did for us. He was such a great man.

What do you do when you're not painting?
As most my life is centred around art, and I work for myself, at times it can get quite isolated so when I am not painting I tend to socialise. I enjoy going on little adventures... always looking for giggles. 

Congrats on the short documentary you just released, how did you find filming it? 
Thanks lads... Yeh it was cool making Outsider (view here). Was a bit nervous at first but the guys (Rua & Owen) are so sound that I relaxed into it quick enough. I found the narrating bit the hardest... I’m not the best at speaking what’s in my head, especially about my work so I found that very difficult to get my head around. It was filmed over a year and a half, I almost forgot all we had done. Seeing it premiered at a film festival in the summer was both nerve wrecking and amazing. I feel grateful to have that to look back on.  

What under-appreciated artist, gallery, or work do you think people should know about?
I think there could be more light shone on all artists. Everywhere. The world needs more of  @artjmk and go under the needle with @addinktions_dre people also should see the work of @thisisfriz and follow the stories of @aidankelly feed the monkey with @morganart or have a bizarre coffee meeting with @solusstreetart... Soundtracked beautifully by @ciaranlavery ... finished off with the handsome @adwart all on Instagram. 

If you could change one thing about your career to date what would it be?
Ehhhh... I wish I started saying NO earlier.

You are a self confessed burger and pot noodle lover, where would you recommend for FTLO to go for a good food fix?
Now you’re talking... Emmmm... Right... I’m sort of into sneaky takeaway combos at the minute. I’ve got into a habit of getting things from different places and mixing them together to create a kind of filthy but glorious new food sensation. For example, get salted chili chicken (no onions) a curry chip (lashings of vinegar) a spicy chicken pizza and a bag of crinkle cut crisps then use it all to make yourself a load of delicious sandwiches. I suppose you could say its like FJing... Like a DJ but only with food.

What’s next for DMC?
Outdoors, I’m looking to paint more walls next year and keep progressing. Indoors, I want to get a studio, sit down and start painting canvas with oils. I want to have both working side by side and continue to push things. I just want to stay doing what I love. 

Check out and follow Dermy and his work here & below.

Paraic Leahy

Sept 11 2015
A graduate of Limerick School of Art & Design, Paraic is making a name for himself and has an upcoming residency of some prestige, read on for more...

Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Paraic Leahy I am visual artist working with oil on wood and watercolour on Paper.

When did you know you wanted to become an artist?
I always knew I wanted to do something creative. Woodwork and Art were the only two subjects I cared about in school. I suppose leaving college I knew I wanted to get a studio and work at it. Then it became a need and sheer determination to keep doing it.

How do you create your work?
I spend a long time drawing and planning out a painting. So each work is done individually and helps inform the next painting. When I am happy with the drawing I transfer the ideas onto wood or paper and begin to paint. The process from start to finish is time consuming, where each painting takes at least 4 to 6 weeks and because of the unforgiving surfaces I use, it has to work out, or I'll have to start the process all over again.

Tell us a bit about "The Honourable Gentlemen series" Where did the idea for these characters come from?
This idea came about from watching a lot of politics on TV and how ridiculous and absurd it can be. How each person addresses each other or argue about current affairs but don’t really care at the back of it. So I decided I wanted to question this notion of ‘Honourable’. I wanted to create these gentlemen that were ridiculous and dignified at the same time. I created 6 in total. It's meant to be humorous and playful though, as the characters act as hybrids or hosts for the organic elements or perspective lines I used to mask or disrupt the pictorial plane. 

What music is currently on your studio playlist?
Stiff Little Fingers and Mogwai are regulars, Warpaint and Daughter I have been listening to lately.

What do you do when you're not painting?
Drinking coffee and thinking about what to paint next.

What under-appreciated artist, gallery, or work do you think people should know about?
Pieter Bruegels ‘The Triumph of Death’ has always messed with my head. That someone could paint like that and then return to his usual genre of paintings of peasants and landscapes. It's such an amazing painting with everything you want in it.

Whats next for Mr. Leahy?
I have just moved to Callen, Kilkenny for the RHA Tony O’Malley Residency Award. I am in the process of a new body of work and figuring out new ideas.

View Paraic's work below and here.

Shane Berkery

August 14 2015
Shane's paintings at this year's NCAD graduate show this summer really caught our attention, so we decided to share his wealth of talent here. His work seems beyond his years for such a young guy and we look forward to seeing what he has in store for his upcoming exhibitions. Read on for an insight into how he works...

Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Shane Berkery and I paint.

When did you know you wanted to become an artist?
I’ve always enjoyed drawing and painting and when I was around 10 I thought I wanted to be a comic artist. The real decision to become an artist followed my choice of college course in my final year in secondary school. It was going to either be art or medicinal chemistry but art seemed like the more natural and exciting choice. 

How do you create your work?
I usually decide on a size, make the canvas, then find an image that inspires me and paint from it. I work quite fast and feel compelled to work large scale.

You were born in Tokyo and this seems to have influenced the subject choice for your graduate exhibition.
In Japan I came across a huge amount of amazing black and white family photos from around the 1950s/60s. I look very similar to my grandfather when he was my age and it interested me that I could easily picture myself in the photos. The strong sense of connection to such a detached time and place, a sort of false nostalgia, was definitely one of the main aspects of the photos that compelled me to work with them.

The paintings reflect an older era in japan, how did you arrive on this choice for your works?
My influences are constantly changing so my paintings won’t always be 'Japanese-themed’ as such, but for now my heritage is a very important part of my work as it is providing me with lots of good quality material that inspires me to paint.

What music is currently on your studio playlist?
Maybe some jazz from Charles Mingus, rap from Bones and some chill music from Spooky Black. I’m lazy about finding new music so wouldn’t mind stumbling across a big tasteful playlist that I can rob for myself.

What do you do when you're not painting?
I tend to hang out with my friends or simply relax and take it easy.

What under-appreciated artist, gallery, or work do you think people should know about?
One of my favourite contemporary painters, Friedrich Einhoff (not sure how under-appreciated he is but I would not have heard of him if I hadn’t come across one of his books by chance). Also I think there is very strong work coming from NCAD graduates this year such as Alex DeRoeck and Luke Byrne.

Whats next for Mr. Berkery?
I will be showing some work in the 'Emerging Artists Exhibition' at St. Patricks University Hospital, James St., Dublin 8 from 7 Sept. – 16 Oct. 2015 and also in 'Contemporary Art at Christmas' at Mason Hayes & Curran Law Firm, Barrow St., Dublin 4 in Dec. 2015.

I am planning a large scale solo show for sometime soon after that.

Check out Shane's work below and here.

Austin Richards

July 10 2015
Dub Austin Richards has undergone a journey from Designer to Cannes Award winning Art Director in a relatively short space of time. He has worked for some of the biggest agency names in 'AdLand' in both Dublin and now London, ranging from Mother to R/GA to Grey and has just finished up a stint in Crispin Porter+Bogusky. He has also created some fun side-projects, read on for more details...

Who are you, what do you do?
I am Austin Richards. I am an Art Director working in the advertising industry.

Tell us about your journey from designer to Superstar Art Director.
Not sure Superstar would be considered apt!! Ha. The design career came about after studying it in college. While working in the industry, I felt like I was a good designer but would never be a great one. And creatively, I felt restricted by the parameters of design. Art direction came a lot more naturally to me and I hoped it would result in greater success. 

You recently moved to London, why? How does it compare to Dublin in terms of creativity and work life?
The London move didn’t come about for career reasons, but obviously it helped that it’s a central hub for advertising. I’m not sure Dublin versus London is a fair comparison. The two markets are completely different in size. I’ve always thought the Irish advertising industry should be looking to places like New Zealand instead, which despite its small population, has an amazing record at awards shows like Cannes. They use their size to their advantage, brilliantly: With smaller budgets, they really innovate to make every dollar count. Plus, they’re daring, pushing for work that’d never get through the approval process of a larger market. There is definitely the talent in Ireland to compete at that level. As for the work life in London - it’s great. You have to work incredibly hard but the rewards make it all worthwhile.

Where do you get inspiration and have your travels influenced your work?
I get my inspiration from great ideas. And they can be found anywhere. I just love seeing creative solutions to problems, whatever they are. I find the more traveling you do, the more people you meet who are different to yourself, who have all new problems and all new solutions for you to learn from.

What’s your opinion on the rapidly changing world of advertising from traditional to digital?
This question has been asked a lot over the last ten years, but maybe it’s time we stopped asking. As a creative, I only ever saw ‘digital’ as a new medium, with a new set of opportunities. A creative’s primary job in an advertising agency is to come up with ideas, and a great idea is media neutral. The digital medium only affects how you express that idea, and it opens up all sorts of incredibly interesting avenues for creatives.

How are you finding life as a freelancer in London and what would entice you go full time again?
Freelance can make for a great work/life balance. The industry is so full of late nights and worked weekends. Freelance then adds in chunks of time off, which you wouldn’t have in the full-time world. However, if you want to continuously create top, top work, you need the time and opportunity that is afforded to full-timers. Opportunity would entice me back.

You had a very successful side-project “ReMovies” tell us about the inspiration and the process of getting a side project from your head to the real world.
With side projects like the ReMovie posters I created with Des Creedon, there’s no client. So the only thing stopping you from making it a reality is yourself. And there was plenty of motivation to make it happen. At the time, I was working in Dublin, but looking to move abroad. Unfortunately, Irish work can struggle to get global traction and I saw side projects as a way of bridging this gap and opening doors in London and further afield. So when numerous side projects started turning up on a bunch of international sites like Creative Review, Creativity and even the front page of Campaign Magazine, it started to pay dividends. Creative directors started getting in touch with me because of the work, which was preferable to being a complete stranger wandering around knocking on doors.

The process is quite liberating yet scary. Side projects don’t have the same restrictions as brand work, so you run out of your own excuses pretty fast. This should lead to better work, but the many stinky projects I did that went nowhere taught me that’s not always the case. My next one is gonna be absolutely savage though. I told myself that yesterday.

Favourite project you’ve worked on and why?
Something like The One Percent Difference. It increased charitable donations all over Ireland and enabled people to democratise their giving. Any project where you can bring an idea to life for a good cause is definitely up there. Plus Bill Clinton heard about and thought it was a great idea, which was surreal and awesomeballs all at once.

What’s next for Austin?
I will try to become that Superstar Art Director you mentioned earlier...

Check out Austin's work below and here (portfolio) and his latest side project here (ReMastering The Universe).

Sean Molloy

July 03 2015
Previously hailed as one of Ireland's top painting graduates by the Irish Arts Review, our latest creative feature is NCAD Masters Graduate Sean Molloy. His fusion of historic imagery and neon patterns are a uniquely fresh marriage of styles and technique. Read on for an insight into Sean's work.

Who are you and what do you do?
I'm Sean Molloy and I'm a Dublin-based fine art painter. My current painting practice focuses on works drawn from the baroque painting canon employing the techniques of the old masters to reconstruct and re-contextualise the original works.

When did you know you wanted to become an artist? 
I knew from a very early age that I would be working with images as I covered my copy books and exercise books with crude and downright rude drawings in biro and pencil.

Describe a typical day in your studio?
A typical day in the studio begins with reading and replying to me emails/surfing Facebook, pottering about until guilt sets in then I get stuck in to the work. To quote Graham Linehan in his description of his work practice as a writer I like to 'creep up on the work', so there is a degree of dossing involved before the real work begins.

The core of your images have an old style yet the application of pixels or stripes give it uniquely modern feel. How did this style develop?
My time in college provided me with a space physically and psychologically to experiment. Each experiment seemed to be an attempt to subvert the facility I'd developed over the years previous to re-entering college. In hindsight I seemed to be apologising for having any such facility, but the thoughts of unlearning to paint this way did not appeal to me in the least. Evidence of this was the way in which the imagery and my technical approach would emerge as I continued to experiment. I decided near to the end of my undergraduate degree that I would embrace all the technical wizardry I learnt over the years to allow something to gel, and the results were quite exciting. The following two years on the MFA program helped me consolidate this approach, it was an approach that didn't require my making a virtue out of technique for technique's sake, but one where I could harness these skills and find ways to fracture the surface that traditional fine art images present to the viewer.

The pixels and stripes are an oblique reference to digital imagery and particularly the speed and ease of access we have to them.

When I combined the old masters style imagery with these computer-inspired elements they seemed to be at home on the same surface.

What do you do when you're not painting?
I tend to obsess about painting materials and manuals on painting techniques, when I'm not doing that, I play guitar and piano for my own amusement.

If you could change one thing about your career to date what would it be?
To have fully committed to being a practising fine art painter a bit earlier in my life, other than that I can't say I'd change anything.

What's next for Mr. Molloy?
I'm currently working on body of work for my debut solo show at the RHA Ashford gallery scheduled for Nov 13th to Dec 20th 2015.

Check out Sean's work below and here www.works.io/sean-molloy and here www.saatchiart.com/Molloy

Richard Gorman

June 20 2015
Richard Gorman spends his time between Dublin and Milan creating bold, yet simple, compositions of colour, in which the tension between the shapes leaves a lasting impact. The Dublin native also travels to Japan regularly, where he works with a traditional paper mill creating works on handmade washi paper. From paint, to print, to paper pulp, Richard is constantly growing as an artist and exhibits worldwide. Keep reading for an insight to his work and process.

Who are you and what do you do?
Richard Gorman. I make paintings, prints, works on paper and occasionally sculpture.

When did you know you wanted to become an artist?
I drew and painted when I was small but I did not commit to making things until my late twenties – a decision that I have never regretted.

Describe a typical day in your studio?
I live in my studio rather than working in my home. If I am in Italy breakfast is cappuccino at about nine. I stretch and prime my own canvases so I might begin with that and scan email. Lunch might be a sandwich or pasta in my lively street in Milan, then back to the studio to paint. I usually work in a series of 8 to 10 paintings.

I work until seven or eight then aperitivo and dinner – alone or with friends.

You have close ties with Japan. What brought you to there to develop your art?
My friend Mika Sato when I visited to meet her family. As a result I met my gallery Yanagisawa  and the papermaker who was to have such a great influence Iwano Heizaburo.

What do you do when you're not painting?
Drink red wine, eat, watch films, read, see friends, contact friends, try to plan new adventures and projects. Travel a lot.

You've recently ventured into designing for clothes label Hermes, how did you find that transition?
In fact it was not a transition at all. I painted a painting, which is what I usually do, they made it into a silk scarf, which is what they usually do. We collaborated in the colour choices.  Hermes then asked if they could use the motif of the scarf in the autumn winter collection 2015/16 and I readily agreed – they are family respectful quirky and wonderful to work with. 

What under-appreciated artist, gallery, or work do you think people should know about?
Painters Chung Eun Mo, Nathalie du Pasquier, Eithne Jordan.

If you could change one thing about your career to date what would it be?
I would prefer not to have got Parkinson's!

Whats next for Mr. Gorman?
In September I go to Japan to make very large sheets of handmade paper 296 x 160cm using dyed paper pulp to be displayed in Tokyo Shinjuku Isetan Hermes.  I am now painting for exhibitions Assab One Milan and the 1722 Palladian Villa in Ireland Castletown House.

Check out Richard's work below and at the links:
Kerlin Gallery
The Mac Live
Stoney Road Press
Meet the Artist: Richard Gorman (Video)
Richard Gorman 46/B | Kerlin Gallery (Video)

Tom Bourke

May 17 2015
This week's creative is the tall man from Sligo, Dublin based designer, Tom Bourke. We caught up with him before he leaves these shores shortly for Toronto. Read on for a look at his fine design and screen printing skills.

Who are you and what do you do?
Hi, I'm Tom Bourke and I'm a Graphic Designer from Co.Sligo but now based in Dublin. My main interests are identity and branding but I'm experienced in anything from web to packaging.

When did you know you wanted to become a designer?
Pretty early on - my dad was a printer and designer so I grew up around pantone ink, Letraset and paper stocks. He got a Mac when I was 8 and the love affair started with me making beautiful versions of my name using TypeStyler containing every style of drop shadow, gradient, wave effect and glow I could. I'd like to think I've improved since.

What influences your work?
I think Graphic Design always has and always will be really trend driven. Theres a fine line between taking inspiration and copying but its hard not to be influenced by what you see other designers producing. Out of the myriad of design sites out there I like FormFiftyFive, BP&O, YCN and Visuelle.

If you could change one thing about your career to date what would it be?
I did a pretty vague Multimedia course in DCU for my undergrad. It was a great basis for learning software but had little in the way of design theory and design teaching. Because of that I worked for a couple of years and then did a Masters in Graphic Design in Edinburgh College of Art. In a lot of ways that course had too much theory but between the two I think I got enough to get me where I am today. In hindsight I should have done a design/visual communications undergrad in the first place and got into the design world a bit sooner.

Tell us more about your screen printing work
ECA had a great print studio and equally great staff. When I came back to Ireland I was anxious to get printing again but always found the print studios in town overpriced. So a couple of years ago myself and my girlfriend set up The Print Press. We wanted to make limited edition prints that were affordable and were different to the clichéd Irishisms and maps that seemed to be the only prints on the Irish market. I set about making a vacuum print bed from an old coffee table - which worked surprisingly well and we were off. We sell on Etsy and through that get a good amount of US sales. We also sell through our own store www.theprintpress.ie 

How important are side projects in your opinion?
I think they can be massively time consuming but completely worth it. The printing is a great side project because it has no computer involvement beyond the illustration stage. You can see the print developing before your eyes. Side projects can be a bitch when the print goes wrong on your fourth or fifth colour though.

Dream project?
My dream project at the minute would be working on anything in Toronto - see below!

Whats next for Mr. Bourke?
A move to Toronto. I'm going in June so I've packed up my agency job here and I'm job hunting at the minute. The standard of design over there is great. The design studios are larger than in Dublin so a lot of them have worldwide clients, in the same way only a big advertising agency would have here. I think the opportunities available will be better. We'll have to wait and see.

Check out Tom's work below and here.

George Simkin

May 08 2015
George Simkin is our latest feature and owner of the finest profile pic to date, perfect for our first feature of the Summer, kudos! Read on for some design-y / illustration-y words of wisdom...

Who are you what do you do?
I'm George Simkin, I'm a freelance designer & illustrator living and working in London

Would you say you have a particular style when it comes to design?
Not sure I have a style, I always take each brief or project as its own, so each one can have a style very different to the next. I would say I have a similar theme which is bold, colourful and expressive. 

What influences your work?
Everything really, I find design blogs, books, the worst. For me mainly, just weird stuff I find walking. I walk everywhere and usually where I get my best ideas. Wired buildings, wall textures, crap handmade signs, just watching people walking around London. That influences me. 

Tell us more about your illustrative work.
I was always interested in illustration in Limerick School of Art & Design (LSAD). Even though it was a design course I was always interested in illustration, but think I was too scared to try it, didn't think I could do a good job at it. I reckon it wasn't until about 3 years after my course I really concentrated on it. Then Puck Collective asked me to be part of their collective, which was a massive push to create more illustration work. For us its all about being positive, doing our own exhibitions, drawing clubs, talks. It really gives me the voice to do whatever I want.

How important is collaboration in creativity?
Collaboration is everything to me, either with the client or with friends, or people you just like. It's amazing how much people are up for getting together and doing things. I have sometimes just directly emailed people I admire, asking to do some collaborations together and it has worked. 

What's your view of the London design world and does it compare to anything in Ireland?
London for me is a great design hub, sometimes it's up its own arse, but I'm sure you get that in every city. It's where you focus your work on, and I work with people I respect and love or just want to have fun with. Otherwise what's the fucking point. I can't compare to Ireland as I have never designed there. But from what I see from over here, Ireland has such a massive voice in the last ten years, things like OFFSET, really show what Ireland can do.  

Where would you take us for a pint in London?
A place called the Victoria just off Roman Road where I live. It has this old Jamaican woman who makes Jamaican curry in the back for customers and of course, the best Stout in London!

What's next for Mr. Simkin?
More exciting exhibitions with Puck Collective, working on some branding for some great new burger start-ups in London, I get to taste all the menu, Not bad :) Also keep walking for miles so silly ideas can invade my little brain. 

Check out George's work here and here and below.

Lucia Orlandi

Apr 24 2015
Ms. Orlandi, a Limerick native, has been making a name for herself in adland on both Canadian and US soil for a number of years and recently became Associate Creative Director at R/GA (NYC), arguably the World's top digital agency. FTLO wrangled 10 minutes of her time for a chat...

Who are you what do you do?
Lucia Orlandi - I'm an Irish Art Director & Designer currently living in Brooklyn. I work primarily in digital advertising & design, spending my days at R/GA where I'm Associate Creative Director. 

You've worked outside of Ireland for sometime do you see yourself returning and what are your reasons? 
It's been over five years, which is a bit nuts when I sit down and think about it! I spent three years in Toronto before arriving here. Moving back to Ireland is something I get asked about a lot, I do eventually see myself moving closer to home, but not for a while yet. I get a lot of energy and inspiration from new cities and communities, so I'd like to stop off in a few more places before heading back to Europe, and even then somewhere like Amsterdam might come calling. I very much don't have a set plan about it, and I kind of like it that way.

How do you create your work/what's your process?
It varies from project to project, I've been lucky to work across a variety of different things so it's never the same. Typically there's a brief, you wrap your head around that and then spend a chunk of time brainstorming, and really ideas can be sparked from anything. I then break apart and question things (over and over), until something sticks. A huge part for me over the past few years is crafting the overall story to sell the idea through and working with mentoring more junior teams. 

Where do find inspiration?
All over the shop. I'm constantly on the look out saving links, capturing on my phone, and collecting random bits and pieces. I get a lot of general inspiration from the things and people I encounter every day. Sites like It's Nice That and Nowness are daily visits, and I'm in love with the art direction of The Gentlewoman magazine lately.

How important are side projects in your opinion?
So important to keeping your sanity in advertising! For the past five years I ran The Clink, a music site – it was a very different outlet for me as it involved writing and also a bit of photography. Lately I love doing side projects in quick bursts, they're at times a bit random (like this: www.drakelintscroller.com), and really just serve as an outlet for me to play around with design & code, and also to just have a bit of fun. 

I have a tonne of ideas daily, only a fraction of them ever get made, but every once in a while I'll get a burst of energy and pull something off over a few days and all nighters.  

What do you think of the ever changing landscape of digital advertising and how do you keep up?
How technology has changed our day to day lives and interactions over the past couple of years is fascinating and has made it an exciting time to be working in digital – pretty much anything is fair game and the chance to make something that is engaging and useful most definitely keeps me on my toes, and with an iPhone that's constantly full thanks to the constant itch to download every shiny new product. 

Dream Project?
Working on a digital piece within the music industry, whether its a live experiential event, branding or advertising for a label / artist. 

What do you do to switch off?
In general I have a hard time switching off, living in New York you're constantly surrounded by noise and activity, its both exhilarating and exhausting.  But there are also pockets of quiet. The Met, Moma or The Museum of Moving Image are great places to get lost in for a few hours.

What's next for Lucia?
I'm excited for the next few months in work to sink my teeth into a few work projects. There's also a sneaky side project or two in the pipeline. After that who knows!

Check out more of Lucia's work below and here.

Work created for L'Oreal at the Golden Globes

Work created for L'Oreal at the Golden Globes

Petria Lenehan

Petria Lenehan

Mar 13 2015 / Photography by Rich Gilligan
Petria Lenehan has established herself as a beacon of fashion design over the past few years, having recently made the move from her native Ireland to NYC and with the launch of her new website, FTLO took the opportunity to chat to her about fashion, Ireland, New York and more...

Who are you, what do you do?
I am a clothing designer specialising in womenswear made from traditional fabrics. The collection is  produced by skilled makers in Ireland, and made from the finest Donegal tweed, Irish linen and Scottish cashmere.

How do you create your work from concept to final execution? 
I begin with an idea of a new shape I want to create . I then draft a pattern and begin by cutting and sewing a sample from the pattern. It may take 2-3 samples to get the shape and fit right. I then work with skilled makers in a small factory where the final sample is made in the desired fabric.

How would you describe your work, what influences you?
I work with quality materials from specialised makers- fabrics that are steeped in tradition, hard-wearing and long lasting. I am inspired by vintage workwear, ethnic clothing and textile traditions. The garments are cut in one free size to allow the wearer to move freely within. The clothes are meant to be a source of nourishment, worn year after year as a kind of uniform. Comfort is crucial as are materials that age well,  when clothes are treated as tools to be really worn and used. 

What is your opinion of the Irish fashion industry at the moment?
With very little manufacturing left in Ireland, unfortunately a lot of designers feel the need to go abroad to work.  Having said that, there are a lot of talented Irish designers both abroad and at home doing exciting things and making their mark. I do hope that with the current global resurgence in localised and ethical production, there could be potential for a stronger industry at home to help nurture and encourage that talent and creativity.  

You recently moved to New York, why?
I moved to New York to open myself up to a bigger audience and stronger market and to live and work in a creative environment. My husband, Rich Gilligan, works as a photographer and was also very keen to work here. There is a positive "can do" attitude and openness in New York and we were both very attracted to that. 

What do you do to switch off?
I love just spending time with my daughter; reading, cooking and listening to music. 

What's next for Petria? 
I am currently working on my online store which will be live for AW15 and I am beginning to sell to a couple of exciting stores here in NY. Over the next few years I hope to grow the label slowly by adding pieces to the collection and building up a strong online presence alongside some new stockists.

Check out Petria's work below and on her brand new site here www.petrialenehan.com

Print Block

Jan 23 2015
Print Block have featured at no fewer than three FTLO events. As well as exhibiting on numerous occasions with FTLO, they have collaborated with us in the past to create a print workshop open to all. More about this exciting Collective below... 

Who are you, what do you do?
We are a textile print Collective, based in Cork Street Dublin 8. We run a membership based textile screen printing studio, as well as create a range of printed textiles for the market.

How do you create your work, what's your process?
The designs and inspiration within Print Block are unique to each member, however together we share a common execution, the use of repetition as an aesthetic tool, and hand silk screen printing as a process.

This common ‘limitation’, results in a paired back aesthetic that is modern, impactful, and confident, with subtle variations in line, texture and colour. A unique result that is the craft of screen print.

What is it about textile printing specifically that has led to the creation of Print Block?

Honestly, there was nowhere else to go. Fine art print facilities are really well represented in Ireland. Across the country you have some wonderful print studios that are accessible via workshops or via membership, but try finding anywhere to print 6 metres of fabric and you’ll come unstuck.

Other options are to outsource your screen printing, but all major suppliers have a minimum order, which, for a start up, requires considerable investment.

Another option is to digitally print, which has no minimum order, but is still extremely expensive and lacks a certain quality that is inherent in screen print.

We felt we needed something in-between, somewhere to experiment, trial, test out, explore, design, share advice and work together, so Print Block was born. For two years we met in coffee shops, bars, hotel lobby’s and basically anywhere with wifi and a table. 

In June 2012 we received a small start up fund as part of the DCCoI’s Future Makers awards and in August 2012, we opened the doors to our studio in Cork Street.

This year Print Block exhibited alongside other Irish designers at London Design Festival. How was the collective's work received over in the UK?
The response was really positive, we were pleasantly surprised. Coupled with the fact that we were showcasing alongside some of Ireland’s best designers and craftspeople, didn’t do us any harm.

When you squirrel away at something and then its put on a stage, you know it so intimately it’s hard to look at it in any other way, you sort of think… yeah its ok. 

But in this instance, because we were extracted from the set up and display, it was all done for us, that was a really good thing. For the first time I could see our fabrics through someone else’s eyes, and I have to say they looked pretty great. 

I also think people really appreciated the quality. Screen printing has a certain beauty and tactility that is not yet replicated by digital print. Silk screen printed fabrics look amazing from a distance, and up close, give you something even more, and I think people really respond to that.

Dream commission?
I think they may be different for everyone but I think on a whole, we’d love to design a commission print for Heal’s. They are an institution, and they work with some incredibly talented young designers, so to be one of chosen ones, would be amazing. 

Whats next for Print Block?
At the moment we are being showcased as part of ID2015, “Design Island”, a showcase of Irish Designers and Craftspeople who live and work on the island of Ireland. The photographs are on display in Dublin Airport’s Arrivals Corridor as well as T1 and T2 departures. It’s quite an honour for us and we were very grateful to be asked.

Also for the first time our range of fabric swatches are currently stocked in www.dust.ie on Camden Market near Portobello, where you can order fabrics by the meter.

In the Spring we are launching our first “product”, a silk scarf design from each member that will be limited in edition.

A number of us are also involved in a year and long project, that will result in an exhibition of work with our ‘sister’ studio, if you will, in Malmo,  www.textiltryckmalmo.se in Sweden. Their set up is what we have based ours on and we’ve built a good relationship with them over time, so we thought we’d collaborate on a project together.

We are always developing our workshops too, so keep an eye out for upcoming ones in the Spring.

Check out Print Block's work here & below...

Paul Bailey

Nov 15 2014
For our first two-part interview, and to celebrate 1 year to the day of Creative Features here, the busiest man in London took some time to chat to FTLO about his many many projects, enjoy...


How did you come to be a lecturer, would you prioritise that now ahead of your own design or is there a balance?
Upon graduating from the MA Communication Design course at CSM, I sought out ways in which to fund my practice. I applied for an Associate Lecturing position at a small university outside London. The application was successful. On my first day, I was informed that I was in-fact the Course Leader for the BA Graphic Design course. Not what I'd signed up for, by no means, but I remained there for two years before taking up a post at the London College of Communication. Lecturing has continued since to play a large role in my practice, but my perception of it's function, capacity and potential has shifted considerably working alongside fellow tutors who approach and employ pedagogy in productive and exciting ways. 

Concerning the priorities of my practice and balance of one against the other, at the minute, I find myself in a fortunate position to have time and space to teach, design and research. 

Does your lecturing inform your own work?
Absolutely. Too much to say on this, too little time. Sorry!

How important is collaboration to you?
Ah didn't realize this question was coming! Echoing what I mentioned before, I find it hard to imagine a practice that can operate without a collaborative aspect. I often refer to Gordon Pask's 'Conversation Theory' or William Burroughs' publication, The Third Mind, as fine articulations of the fact that we are simply better together. 

You recently spoke at Limerick Art College, was it surreal to be back there on the other side of the lecturing counter as it were?
Yes, I was genuinely honored by the invitation and then that quickly switched to fear. It was actually a terrifying thing to do - to stand up in front of a room full of people you respect and hope they will reciprocate by the end of the talk. I think it went okay. The entire weekend was great in-fact. An excellent line-up of speakers, events and exhibitions bringing people from all parts of the world back to LSAD - a really effective reminder of the excellence Ireland continues to cultivate.

What's next for Paul Bailey?
Well, at the minute, I'm working hard towards the launch of the newly designed MA Graphic Media Design course at the London College of Communication in September 2015. Please do keep an eye on developments here: http://www.arts.ac.uk/lcc/courses/postgraduate/ma-graphic-design/

I'm looking forward to a trip to India to present a paper at the National Institute for Design with a colleague from LCC in Jan 2015.

I've just begun work on two new book commissions. One publication will accompany the first major retrospective of Maud Sulter (1960–2008) in Glasgow: an award-winning artist and writer, curator and gallerist of Ghanaian and Scottish heritage who lived and worked in Britain. The second is a book to mark the first five years of the artist group Vulpes Vulpes [http://vulpesvulpes.org/], known for hosting exhibitions, performances and educational workshops in the UK. 

A new collaborative poster developed and designed with fellow members of the Design Displacement Group [http://www.designdisplacementgroup.com/] will be presented in the streets of Warsaw, Poland as part of Manifest - a festival marking the 50th anniversary of the First Things First manifesto in November: http://www.manifestfest.pl/  

I'm curious about the responses to a brief I co-wrote this year, The Rhetoric of Exphrasis, for the International Society of Typographic Designers Education Programme [http://www.istd.org.uk/education/2015-student-briefs].

A newly designed poster will be exhibited at the Jan van Eyck Acadamie, the Netherlands, as part of their upcoming Magical Riso, 1001 Printing Experiences, programme in November [http://www.janvaneyck.nl/en/home/riso-expertmeeting/]. 

And finally, I'm excited to see my contribution to the upcoming Open Books [http://open-books.tumblr.com/] publication, a project by Charlotte Cheetham [http://charlotte-cheetham.tumblr.com/] and Sophie Demay [http://www.sophiedemay.com/index.php]  

There are also some stirrings of a PhD, but we'll see about that...

Nov 10 2014


Who are you, what do you do?
My name is Paul Bailey. I am an Irish graphic designer, researcher and educator based in London, UK.

What brought you to London?
Whilst nearing the end of my studies BA Visual Communication, Limerick School of Art and Design, Ireland, I'd begun exploring practices on the periphery of graphic design and sought out spaces to pursue this inquiry. It was around this time, London called. I moved over to complete the MA Communication Design course at Central Saint Martins, UAL, London and have been here, for the most part, ever since.

How do you create your work, what's your process?
It's interesting for me now to consider what is work and what is not. Meandering between various roles, be it directing and teaching upon a graphic design course, responding to commissions and/or pursuing my own independent research, I've given up trying to understand when and what is work - and more to the point, what is not?! 

Concerning a process, these are varied. A large and key part of what I do depends upon and responds to collaborative engagements. I enjoy this. I see this as a way of moving past our own priorities and exploring alternative perspectives. I also get bored very quickly. This might be a more direct reason for bringing others into the fold…

Can you tell us more about your particular area of interest in graphic design?
Again these are varied. I'm interested in the design of graphic design education and currently in the process of re-designing the MA Graphic Design course at the London College of Communication to launch September 2015.

Following a research residency at the Jan van Eyck Academie, in the Netherlands last year (2013), my research now circulates around modes of reading and watching against the backdrop of new information environments. An open inquiry to begin with has lead my practice outside of the frames imagined/perceived of design and in a sense enabled my outputs to appreciate and be infected by 'foreign' languages - most notably that of installation recontextualised through graphic design.

I also continue to take on commissions independently and through an occasional design studio established with Benjamin Schwab called We Draw Lines. It's interesting to track where the commissions come from, be it friends establishing new and exciting ventures or new acquaintances making contact in response to projects ran at the university, outputs for exhibitions or other projects. 

You seem to have an ongoing relationship with the book as an object, can you tell us more about this?
Yes, my research and experimentation has circulated around this for some time beginning with an interest in the book as a physical object i.e. reading the form rather than the content of the book considering ideas of dependency, proper usage and context. I've completed a number residencies in Belgium and the Netherlands (as noted above), which has opened this inquiry up to question the acts and terms of engagement that we engage with and operate through when we read and watch. An online exhibition 'Looking for/through/with/amongst/beyond around Content' [http://www.projectprobe.net/probe/22] deals with this ideas specifically. 

Would you consider yourself a 'conventional' graphic designer?
I find this question difficult as the term 'conventional' is wildly open to interpretation, but hey, so is the term/title 'graphic designer', right? Let's put it this way, I enjoy the opportunity to open up a discussion about what it is we do as graphic designers. I aim to do this through my own practice, less concerned by the terms or methods typically employed to frame graphic design practice.

PART II next Saturday Nov/15

Check out some of Paul's work below and here.

EimearJean McCormack

Oct 17 2014
EimearJean has featured at a number of past FTLO's, the Galway based artist gave us some insights into her work...

Who are you, what do you do?
EimearJean McCormack. I am a visual artist working mainly with print based media.

When did you know you wanted to be an artist/printmaker/designer?
From a young age I always wanted to study fashion but I ended up studying Fine Art! I think I’m still figuring out what I want to be but it helps having a background in print as it feeds into a lot of different disciplines.

How do you create your work?
I utilize a range of techniques in my work usually combining traditional print processes such as silk screen-printing, etching & photo intaglio with book arts and digital printing. Silkscreen is an incredibly versatile medium and by far my favourite to useMy most recent work is inspired by the open plane of vast natural environments, manipulating perspective with reflective flats and geometric man made structures. Much of the imagery from this series is a combination of found photographs, glass negatives, slides and landscapes I documented using a Mamiya 7 medium format camera.  I usually do most of the cutting and pasting by hand before scanning and manipulating the negatives in Photoshop to generate a series new positives for printing.

You create a lot of work for the restaurant Ard Bia in Galway ranging from their pottery collections to illustrations for their book. How do you find the transition between creating personal work and commissioned artwork?
Most of the commissioned work I do is illustration based so it makes it easier to separate the two, as I don’t usually focus on illustration in my own practice. Commissioned projects tend to take up a lot of time though so I do find it a challenge at times to prioritize my own work.

Where would you take us for a pint and what's your favourite culture spot in Galway?
A predicable answer I know but It would have to be Tigh Neachtain! Best culture spot would be 126 Gallery because it provides an excellent contemporary exhibition programme with very limited resources.

What's next for EimearJean?
I’m currently working on a new series of pottery for Ard Bia titled the ‘Arctic Series’ but in terms of my own work its time to get back in the studio…

View EimearJean's work below & here.

Sorcha O'Raghallaigh

Sept 26 2014
Hailing from Offaly, Sorcha O'Raghallaigh is possibly Ireland's most progressive and exciting young fashion designer. She is now based in London where she has made quite a mark for herself...

Who are you, what do you do?
Sorcha O'Raghallaigh, I'm a fashion designer. I have a London based label, which has a big focus on craft and hand made objects. I mostly produce one-of-a-kind, limited-edition pieces.

How do you create your work, what's your process?
I have to start with good strong research, mostly my research is visual but I like to come up with a concept or sometimes a little story that links everything together. I'm very textile based so usually the next step is experimentation with texture by creating small swatches of embellishments, knits, crochet etc. From there I place these textiles on a mannequin, I then sketch out all my ideas, I choose a line up or collection of designs, then we make each piece! 

Has growing up in Ireland influenced your work?
Religious iconography is something I'm continually drawn to and reference within my work I think this influence definitely comes from growing up in quite a catholic Ireland. My love and appreciation of craft  I feel also stems from growing up in Ireland.

Why did you move to London?
I moved to London to study at Central Saint Martins.

What has been your favourite project, why?
Working on Selfridges "Bright Young Things" was my favourite project. I was given a window in Selfridges' Oxford Street store to design and create an installation. I really enjoyed the process of extending my ideas beyond clothing and expanding them into a space. The Selfridges team were really incredible to work with, they were open to each idea and worked with you to enhance each aspect of the installation. I loved each stage; from designing the window, making miniature models, to physically making each part of the set, even installing it was fun.... well it seems fun, now I think I was really nervous at the time! We had to install everything through two consecutive nights while the store was shut, the windows were blacked out so you could only kind of see how it was coming together in the reflection, you could just hear crazy drunk people every now and again on the other side of the windows tearing down Oxford Street. The whole experience was quite surreal looking back, from a creative aspect it was a dream but also to have my work displayed in an iconic shop for two months was a privilege to say the least!

Dream commission?
Hmmmm that's a tough one I don't think I can pin it down to one... but... I have always wanted to make something for Grayson Perry//Claire... I was lucky enough to attend one of his talks about 5 years ago it was completely fascinating and inspiring... I've been obsessed with him and his work ever since.

Do you see yourself returning to Ireland?
Never say never, I do love Ireland, but for now I feel really at home in London. 

What's next for Sorchs?
There's a few exciting projects in the pipeline! You'll have to watch this space! 

View Sorcha's work below and here.


June 14 2014
This gent has featured at two previous FTLOs, here's what the bearded man has to say...

Who are you, what do you do?
I ask myself that question all the time. To the best of my knowledge my name is Dan.

Angry faced man with general disdain for humans and love for nature.

I guess I would call myself a graphic artist in that I like to produce works that are graphic in style. Clean edges and bold colour. I paint with brush, spray with can and draw with tablet.

Do you have any formal training in visual arts or are you self-taught?
I went to college for a minute. I studied animation. I think if I had taken a year out before  I started I might have stuck with it - but hey, I probably wouldn't be writing this sweet ass interview for you guys so it was definitely a good call. Besides, I've been drawing all my life so I’d say self-taught.  

What's your process from concept/initial inspiration to creating work?
Depending on the task, I usually start off like most with pen and paper and just scribble out the rough flow of the piece. 

The flow and composition are one of the most important things to nail first. Then I will work on individual aspects until I feel confident.  After that I'll go to the canvas or tablet and just do the thing.

I don’t like to think it out too much so I can enjoy the process until completion and not get bored. If I plan too much it feels like I have already done the piece and there is nothing left to discover. 

What does a typical day in your studio involve?
It’s really not anything special or fun to describe. I get in there sit down, stick on some music or listen to a documentary and get stuck in. Occasionally I'll take a break and go shout at the kids in the street.

Is there anything in particular you try to achieve with your work?
I concentrate on nature and natures’ struggle/glory. I don't like to paint man-made objects really. No straight lines or inanimate objects thanks. I want my work to have nice flow and look clean. If people can’t tell the difference between hand painted and tablet work that's a plus. 

Whats a favourite collaborative piece you created and who was it with?
I don't really get to do that much work with others. Not as much as I would like. Last year however I was invited to the ever productive city of Belfast to do a huge piece with Sligo girl FRIZ. Our styles marry quite well. It was great fun and hard work. I really hope I get to do more large scale works in the future it's very rewarding.

Where would you take us for a pint and what's your favourite culture spot in Kilkenny?
HA! Guys you know me too well!  If the weather was kind we would brown bag it and I would bring you on a walk of the lovely river Nore. We could check out some sweet mallards and we could explore some of the old ruined mills. 

What's next for DanLeo?
I have a solo show in the pipeline. It’s going to take some time to get it together, I mean business! Working on a new print run and I’ve started to get back into toy making. The science in that is pretty heavy and expensive so one must tread slowly. Hopefully there will be some casts available later this year that I can be proud of.

Loads of other bits and bobs too, Looking forward to painting outside this summer most of all! Hopefully in a few different countries.

View DanLeo's work below & here.

Aran Quinn

June 09 2014
Illustrator, animator, designer, sound fella. Aran Quinn is this week's creative talent...

Who are you, what do you do?
How are ya, I'm Aran Quinn, and I'm an illustrator/animator/designer currently working at The Mill Plus NY. I was born in Australia, grew up in Ireland and loving life in NYC.

When did you know you wanted to be an illustrator /designer / animator?
Twas a bit of a last minute discussion for me. I always loved painting and drawing but never took it too seriously. I walked around the national film school of Ireland (IADT) on an open day and stumbled into the animation studio. I knew straight away that I wanted to be a part of it. My parents were kind enough to let me take 2 weeks of my final year and put together a portfolio submission for the hand in date…. it worked out really nicely and ever since it has flowed really well for me.

How do you create your work?
It's always different with every project. I'm a pretty indecisive lad outside of the art world…I'll stand staring at two chocolate bars for far too long over thinking it….which one to buy???!?!?! But with my work I wrap up a clear picture in my head and I don't second guess myself. I usually go for simplicity. I Always, always start with image reference hunting and the finished piece normally looks like a big cocktail of them all. I like to have the character design set out first and then base the environment on that. Try to stay loose and never get precious with anything. Leaving a piece overnight and coming back to it works out big time too. I'm fortunate enough to be engulfed by talented designers around me so I ask a lot of them what they think of my WIPs… always nice to be told, that's crap, but this is what could make it better.

Dream commission and why, go...
Uff, there'd be a good few dream commission jobs. I'd say receiving a big bucket of money to make short films from scratch, where the only client is my team and myself would be the ultimate dream job…and for some reason we have to travel loads for research.

What brought you to New York and is there a difference in the creative scene and opportunity in NY by comparison to Ireland?
I caught a flight to NY one week after graduating for a 3 month J1 stint… got lucky with timing, visas, the people I met out here and all of a sudden 3 years have gone by. I've only done a few internships in Dublin back in the day so I won't act like I know what's what about it. I see and hear great artists making a voice for themselves in Ireland and I really hope the small community keeps growing. My Irish friends here miss it and would love to be working in Eire, but the grass is always greener and there's loads of things to weigh up so I reckon it's a matter of taste. NYC is definitely a city of extremely ambitious girls and boyos, so I don't think I would have progressed as quickly as I have if it wasn't for the co-workers I'm lucky enough to be around. NY is flooded with designers and illustrators but this city mainly attracts advertising and commercial gigs which ain't too fun…I for one can't wait to press skip on a youtube advert.

Do you see yourself returning to Ireland?
Absolutely, I love Ireland and see it as the motherland, but at the same time I'm not too attached to it. I'm terrible at planning anything far ahead but I could picture myself there when I'm older. great friends and family make it tough to not have that picture…but  I love traveling and discovering new places so I really couldn't say anything's set in stone. love the idea of central Europe as place to call home but it's all too far ahead in the future to put serious thought into… all in good time.

What's next for Aran Quinn?
I've been working on a short film for the last year and a half that's close to the finish line. The mill has very long hours but whenever there has been downtime and weekends to spare I've put my free time into it… just takes aaaaages to make an animation by yourself. It's a cell animated piece about a far away planet. won't say too much, but think David Attenborugh, wildlife documentaries, strange alien-like animals and a few boners and tatas here and there.

Check out more of Aran's work here and below.


May 16 2014
Stencil Master ADW featured at our most recent FTLO exhibition in Brooklyn NY with two pieces, he's our creative feature this week...

Who are you, what do you do?
I'm ADW, an Irish stencil artist. 

Do you have any formal training in visual arts or are you self-taught?
Ever since I can remember creating was all I ever wanted to do, or knew how to do! After graduating from school with an A+ in desk doodling I moved onto art college. I started a foundation course in art and design which landed me a place in Ballyfermot college where I studied classical and computer animation for four years. It wasn't until 8 years later (after various soul zapping jobs) did I pick up a scalpel and spraypaint and began to experiment with my own creations. I got the bug and haven't looked back since.

What's your process from concept/initial inspiration to creating work?
The initial motivations and inspirations can be born from many things, sometimes you can visualise the piece straight away or sometimes the elements need to bake for a while before you have a better mental image. Once I have a good mental image of the picture I design the image on the computer where I can work out the layers to make the overall image. Print, stick to card and begin cutting. The length of time it takes to cut the stencils can vastly change depending on the size and details of the piece. Once you have the stencils cut, then the work really begins!

Is there anything in particular you try to achieve with your work?
I like to engage the viewer and get them thinking and hopefully raise a smile or two.

What's a favourite piece you created and why?
Everything I have created to date has it's place. I'm constantly learning, evolving and experimenting. When I begin a new piece I feel like this one will be my favourite, until it's finished and then I begin the next one.

Where would you take us for a pint and what's your favourite culture spot in Dublin?
It would have to be the courtyard in the Bernard Shaw on a sunny day, it always has some great art to inspire and a great atmosphere.

What's next for ADW?
I just had a solo exhibition in March and still coming down after the high. I have some upcoming projects this summer and hopefully a trip to Berlin and Spain... we'll see what happens after that!

View more of ADW's work below and here.

Ruth Medjber

May 09 2014
Some rock n roll snaps from Dublin based super photographer Ruth Medjber in this week's creative section...

Who are you, what do you do?
I'm Ruth Medjber, Dublin born, DIT graduate, lover of beats, bells and whistles and I'm a professional music photographer. I shoot promo shots, album covers, live gigs, everything that's music related. I've been working for various magazines including Hot Press and now NME for more years than I'd like to tell. I've been known to flit between Dublin and London to maximize shooting potential & needless to say I know the Ryanair safety routine off by heart.

What's your process from concept/initial inspiration to creating work?
Most of my concepts for photoshoots happen in the pub chatting with the bands in question. You have to really know who you're working with and in Ireland that tends to happen best in the pub. We'd throw some ideas about and then I'd get to work hatching plans and figuring out where to get 10,000 bouncy balls, coloured smoke, or how exactly one makes a rainbow in a photo studio without flooding the place.

What drew you towards music/gig photography?
I was working at these all ages gigs in Temple Bar when I was about 14. We had this photographer guy that would pop in every Saturday morning and shoot the bands. One day I struck a conversation with him and said "you know, I'm a photographer too" to which he responded "well where the fuck is your camera then?". It was the kind of kick in the arse that I needed and a great introduction to the charming cut throat atmosphere of the photographers pit. So from then on I shot the bands every Saturday and on all the tours too. I got to know all the young musicians in Dublin and I was having such great craic that I decided to try everything possible to turn it into a career. 

Is there anything in particular you try to achieve within your photography?
I try to garner respect for music photography as a valid artform in Ireland and not just a hobby for music lovers. Music photography tends to be a bit shunned by the professional art community in Ireland. They see it as fickle and irrelevant and would never consider it to be "fine art". So that's my new mission. I want music lovers and art lovers to start appreciating music photography for what it is, art. Live music photographers have got very limited amounts of control of what's going on around them, it's quite similar to documentary photography in that we have to deal with our subjects the same way as street photographers do. We have little or no interaction with the musician while shooting a gig. The tricky thing is that you're also trying to capture beautifully aesthetic art works that people would be proud to hang in their homes. It's extremely difficult to do, so once I've mastered all that I'll let you know!

What was a favourite project/client you've worked with and why?
I have a few bands that I have worked with since those days of Temple Bar Music Centre, albeit in slightly different formations. A band called Codes would probably be my absolute favourite. I've shot them live about 50 times and every time they amaze me more and more as they really consider their visual performance as well as the musical side. We've had promo photoshoots up snowy mountains, in lakes and forests. Every time they approach me for their next shoot I know it's going to be even better than before. I think once you're working with a band for so long you begin to really understand them, their ideas and their sound. It makes it easier for you and them to get exactly what you want out of a days shooting. I'm really happy that so many bands bring me back for their next release, gig or tour. You end up with a rake load of photos and some really lovely mates. 

Where would you take us for a pint and what's your favourite culture spot or venue in Dublin?
My favourite venue is the Olympia. So many memories from that place. I queued for 12 hours outside waiting to catch a glimpse of a band (I'm not saying who due to sheer embarrassment) when I was 14 and I got my first press pass there when I was 16.  It was a venue of firsts for me, as it is for so many people. It's great to see a lot of my friends now playing on that stage. As for pints, the plan of action would be to meet in Brogans for a pre-gig pint, hit the Olympia for the gig, crash a box, realize the standing crowd are having way more fun, join them, dance like we're in Switch circa 2001. After buying some knock off merchandise outside we'd saunter to P-Macs, followed by the Parlour Bar in Wheelie-Bins where we'd sing awful songs on a badly tuned guitar until 6am. Then leggit down to Shan's for a curry and a horrific bottle of "wine". 

What's next for Ruthless Imagery?
It's festival season, so for the next 4 months I'm covered in mud. After that I have a big plan of action that should culminate in 2015. It's a bit early in the game to be giving secrets away on that front I'm afraid though but you'll all get a kick out of it I hope. 

View Ruth's work below and here.

Sean & Yvette

April 15 2014
Another talented duo here in the Creatives section; photographers Sean and Yvette have featured at FTLO God and FTLO Progress, here's what the busy snappers have to say...

1. Who are you, what do you do?
We are two photographers Sean and Yvette. We collaborate together on commissions and when not doing that we pursue our own project led photography.

2. What's your process from concept/initial inspiration to creating work?
Usually, you feel compelled to make a piece of work and then it takes over.

You begin with a great deal of research to figure out how to approach the subject and plan what you are trying to say. This is the fun part when you are excited and inspired.  Then comes the shooting when you are filled with a healthy dose of both drive and self-doubt. The edit is hugely important, this is a good time to ask some close friends, especially frank ones, for their opinion. Finally and hopefully, with a bit of time, you resolve it and want to share it.

We have been trying to understand why we are drawn to certain subjects and have found that it comes from somewhere other than the mind.

3. How do you go about winning new business/gaining new clients?
A whole host of ways, though the website is key these days.  It is always surprising to hear of how clients have seen something in your work that they would like to use in their own way. 

After that, I think it is about building relationships with people and putting your all into every shoot.  Once you develop a mutual understanding, it becomes more of collaboration. 

4. Is there anything in particular you try to achieve within your photography?
Ultimately, to do great work that will hold up over time, whether in commissioned or personal work. The ideal is that the images resonate with the viewer.

5. What was a favourite project/client you've worked with and why?
Last year we were commissioned by a luxury flooring company called Ebony & Co to document their forest to floor approach. They sent us to Connecticut in the States to spend a week photographing the process; forests, craft and men with beards; dream job! Since then, we have worked for them in Russia, Portugal, Holland and Germany, it’s a great symbiotic relationship.

6. Is there a particular environment you prefer shooting in?
We love working with portraiture and landscape so when the two are combined, it is perfect. It’s always a bonus if there is a boat involved!

7. Where would you take us for a pint and what's your favourite culture spot in Dublin?
Is it too predictable to say Grogans?

8. What's next for S&Y?
We just got a commission to do a city travel piece in Budapest for a few days so that should be fun.

View Sean & Yvette's work below and here.

True Batch Brew

Mar 28 2014 
Sheena & David Fortune have both featured at FTLO, Sheena's graphic design work and David's paintings, the two have now turned their creative powers to starting their own business and they're brewing up a storm! Here's the low down...

Who are you what do you do?
David and Sheena Fortune, co-founders of True Batch Brew. We love beer and brewing, and our aim is to bring the craft of all-grain brewing into every home in Ireland. We produce all-grain craft brewing kits and believe we cracked a 7-step method that makes brewing in the home very easy and accessible for people.

How did True Batch Brew come to being?
We had been into sampling different types of craft beer for a few years. Through traveling and working abroad we got to see the choices available in places like the U.S. and Europe. We love discovering new flavours and the story behind the brewer. 

After you turn to craft beer most people will agree you tend the find the macro produced beers pretty tasteless and boring. So craft beer became a slight obsession. After a while we started to think about attempting to brew our own. Because we love craft beers we were interested in learning about traditional brewing methods. So we weren't really interested in extract brewing kits, and all-grain craft brewing kits weren't available in Ireland. We wanted to produce it like craft brewers were – the holy grail of homebrew – all-grain brewing. As American and European measurements vary, we found it difficult to source concise instructions. We found ourselves having to do a lot of researching, trialling methods and experimenting with flavours. After a few brews we started producing pretty tasty beers and began to share them with friends and family. We found that other people were just as interested as us in how to brew. And so, over a few beers, True Batch Brew was born.

How have your backgrounds in design & painting influenced TBB?
David (Painter): For me the influence has been to experiment, just as I do with painting – trying different things out. The great thing about these kits is that they are small batch brews – one gallon – so you can have a go and try something different. Worst case scenario it doesn't work out, but you're not left with 5 gallons of waste. Likewise my painting work is expressive and experimental. If you're scared to take risks it'll show in the work. 

Obviously with the brew there are scientific methods you need to stick to (temperature, timing, sanitation etc), but at the heart of a great brew is a creative, experimental flavour combination. A recent failed attempt was a chili and oregano amber ale. Obviously this didn't quite work (tastes like Difontaine's pizza after a night at the Workman's)! But it was fun and next time I'll tweak the recipe and better the brew. Coffee porters are great and a simple starter – the possibilities of flavour combinations in beer are endless.

Sheena (Graphic Designer): It's always nice when you stumble upon something in your personal life that you can turn into a design project. I often find myself looking at design porn on Pinterest and blogs and there's a wave of stunning branding and packaging design in the beer industry at the moment. I want in on that. For me, True Batch Brew is very much in its infancy in terms of design. For now, it's a matter of trying to balance the fact that I'm funding the project and have a budget, with the other side of me that wants to explore the limits of what the design could be. Any designer out there has this struggle on a daily basis with clients. It's even tricker when you are your own client. It's a really fun project to be creating though and I'm excited about what the future holds.

We have three recipes at the moment (Porter, Pale Ale and Amber Ale), and we have purposely designed the kits uniformly. After all, when someone picks up a kit, the beer they produce will be their own, not ours. We'd love for them to be proud of their brew and apply their own personality to it. We're hoping to eventually move into setting up our own micro brewery, where we'll really get to experiment with the personality of the beer from a design perspective.

What's your process?
We are constantly testing different ingredients in our brew, and usually have several different brews on rotation and at a time. We consciously only brew using the equipment we supply in our kits, so we know how easy it is to brew with them in a small space. We play with hop quantities, varieties of hops etc. We're also conscious of the fact that we're home brewers, and we've a lot to learn from the incredibly talented craft brewers at home and abroad, which is why we always keep up to date with new experimental beers. Trial and error is a huge part of the process, and often the most fun part is sharing the beer and getting people's feedback at food markets and beer festivals. We get giddy watching people try our beers, knowing the time and effort that went into them. We're launching our new Fox Hop Amber Ale kit this weekend and have a bunch of free samples to give people to try. Craft beer fans are usually very honest, so we're looking forward to see what everyone thinks. There has been a lot of trialling gone into this recipe.

Is it difficult to launch a new creative business in Ireland?
If you have the passion and enthusiasm for your product that will help you at the start. This project has been our baby for a long time. It takes a lot of nurturing and investment of time and effort. We have to say though that the brewing community in Ireland have been hugely supportive and have given us a lot of guidance and acceptance so far. Likewise the feedback from people who have tried our kits has been massively positive. 

Why beer (or do we even need to ask)?
It comes back to passion and enthusiasm. We love good beer, and once we discovered we're capable of brewing really tasty craft beer ourselves we wanted to spread the word. Anyone can brew at home, and it's fun! It doesn't take a huge investment for people because we've done the ground work for them. The recession has also made a lot of people more conscious about supporting local produce and suppliers rather than paying for over-priced watered down beer. As well as brewing our own beer, we try to support local Irish brewers. We've met a lot of them through True Batch and they are passionate and highly skilled at what they do. I think that comes care and attention comes across in their beers. We really just want more people to enjoy quality beer. 

Will either of you return to your 'day jobs' or is TBB enough of a creative outlet?
David: I'll always paint, but at the start this project took a lot of time and my studio practice did suffer. But recently I've started to get more studio time. I think creatively they work well alongside each other. 

Sheena: I'm currently working with a design studio in Dublin who have been hugely supportive so far. The past 6 months have meant many late nights at the studio working on this project, and even testing our homemade beers out on my Creative Director! It sounds clichéd but I do love what I do and generally being busy, and I can't imagine me not designing full-time. I'm learning a lot from running the True Batch project and I'd like to think that helps my studio work. 

What's next for TBB?
We mentioned earlier we're launching the new amber ale kit tomorrow, (Saturday 1pm, at 57 The Headline in Dublin) and all are welcome to pop in for a brewsky. We're planning on releasing a new recipe for each season, so the next brew will be released in the Summer. We'll be touring Irish brewing festivals and markets this Summer, meeting new people and spreading the good word of TBB! We're learning more and more about brewing as we go and our long-term goal is to open our own brewery.

Keep up with True Batch Brew here. Cheers!!!

Geppetto (Paul Mahon)

Mar 15 2014
Mr. Mahon has been on the FTLO roster since 2009 and has been a regular fixture since, here's what this multi-talented character is up to...

Who are you, what do you do?
Paul Mahon, I'm a Filmmaker / Visual Artist from Kilkenny, Ireland. I mostly work with video, but on occasion I've popped over into the visual arts to dabble with some experimental stuff.

What's your process from concept/initial inspiration to creating work?
Normally there's a brief of some sort, so I ponder during other projects, I just keep pondering til it hurts. Then the hurt becomes an idea... And you go through with that idea.

What's your favourite commission to date and why? 
I really enjoyed working with Jerry Fish last summer, such a great artist, very open, and so trusting in my work. That's the sort of work I love. Also I really enjoyed The Invisible Phonebox as it took me away from video, it's nice to take a break from your norm I guess. 

What's your ideal studio environment?
My ideal studio is one where I can stay in my pyjamas for as long as possible. Which is handy as I work from home. I'm very easily distracted so I prefer to be alone at my desk and work late into the night. Solitude suits me best.

Do you consider collaboration as an important part of how you work?
It's sort of the only way of getting a decent job done. One of the things I'd pride myself on is picking the right people or collaborations for certain projects. I like to make all projects under the Geppetto banner, a collaborative project where everyone gets there input.

Where would you take us for a pint and what's your favourite culture spot in Kilkenny?
I'd bring ye to Billy Byrnes beer garden, tis a lovely spot. Ye'll get to see some whopper work from DanLeo on the walls and if we're lucky the Kilo1977 will be on the decks. 

What's next for Geppetto?
There's an EP in the mix at the moment, which is pretty exciting. Video wise I'm really hoping to push into the commercial side of things and pick up some solid clients. 

Take a gander at Geppetto's work below and here.

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Colm Mac Athlaoich

Feb 21 2014
Multi-talented artist Mr. Mac Athlaoich featured at FTLO Movember creating portraitures of people's Mo efforts. Colm took a few mins to answer some question for this week's Creative feature (also the second week in row that Grogans & IMMA have been touted as the places to go):

1. Who are you, what do you do?
I'm Colm and I'm an artist living in Dublin, Ireland. At the moment I'm working with wood to make large scale modular artworks. When not working with wood I'm painting, drawing and etching. I make work for galleries and publications.

2. When did you decide you wanted to be an artist and what brought about the decision?
A failed entrance audition into the Royal Academy of Music in London to study the trumpet led to the idea of studying art in Dublin instead. This was the game changer and I have been making art ever since, and playing the trumpet! I did pack in the art for a while to become a full time musician but the call of nature was too strong, it wasn't long before I was foraging back to the pencil case of my soul.

3. What's your process from concept/initial inspiration to final execution?
I would say I'm constantly figuring that one out and it varies for one project to the next. Somewhere during the process my designer girlfriend has her say and that seems to be quite pivotal in the decision making! Inspiration of late has been in all things natural, botanical and monumental, my last solo show was titled 'Botox', and featured work based on the augmentation of the natural form, but more importantly for me was that colour, layout, form and style took precedence over any conceptual idea behind the work, it was very refreshing to work this way.

4. Would you consider yourself to have a 'style', how did you achieve this?
I think I've had a few styles in my day but one thing that has stayed with me is my line and my palette. But stylistically I would say I look to illustrators who have a strong drawing style like Tomar Hanuka or James Jean, at the same time wishing I worked like Oliver Jeffers. I keep notebooks on the go all the time and this has kept me drawing on a regular basis.

5. How often do you create work?
I would have a reasonable weekly output of drawing or woodcarving. I have just finished a large commission for The Hot Stove restaurant in Dublin which took three months to complete, leaving a blanket of wood shavings and sawdust all over my apartment. During the past two years I have worked in a Printmaking studio so I've had my etch on and I've been a regular at the press.

6. Where would you take us for a pint and what's your favorite culture spot in Dublin?
I would bring you to Grogans on a sunny day for a pint and a toast, or for a lock-in The Royal Oak in Killmainham is a good random boozer. While you're up in that neck of the woods IMMA is always worth a look, the recent retrospective on Irish creative genius Eileen Gray was incredible.

8. What's next for Mr Mac Athlaoich?
I fly to Cuba in four days then on to Mexico, I'll be documenting the whole journey and I expect my experiences will manifest themselves into something later in the year, what form I don't know yet but I've often thought my travel journals would make for an interesting book. I have decided to commit fully to illustration and art in 2014 so I expect there will be a lot more output from Mac Athlaoich in the coming months!

View Colm's work below and here.



Feb 14 2014
Awesome duo designgoat are our Valentine's Day Creative feature, here's what the gents have to say:

Who are you, what do you do?
We are designgoat, we are Ahmad Fakhry and Cian Corocoran. We are industrial designers and makers and we work across all sorts of mediums from furniture design to interior design, product design and food design. We like to sound all wankery when we say we design experiences.

What's your process from concept to final product and how do you source your materials?
Every project starts with a lot of sketching and figuring out what it is we need to do for the job. If its an interior it would all be about how it works for staff and customers. We do a lot of sketching together then we do a lot of 3D modelling to make sure that the scribbles we have done translate into something that works and looks great. Then we often move into prototypes in the workshop. Once everything is figured out we make final piece in the workshop too. This may take a week, a few weeks or a few months depending on the job. A lot of coffee is also consumed.

In terms of materials we try to stay local. Over the years we have developed relationships with suppliers and fabricators working in steel, wood, glass textiles and some strange materials.

What does a typical day in the designgoat studio involve?
Typical day in the designgoat studio would be a 9am start with a 9.05 coffee. We tend to chat over the day in the morning and make lists. Some days we will be on site or at meetings, though a full day in the studio is split between workshop and desk. Cian tends to spend his time in the workshop while Acky works in the studio more often. 

What is a favourite collaboration/job you've worked on?
We have been fortunate enough to work with some great clients, working on Indigo & Cloth was a real pleasure and continuing to work with them is great. Brother Hubbard has been a great one and we are currently doing some more work for those guys. Getting to work with Ross Lewis from Chapter One was also an amazing experience!

Is there anything particular you try to achieve in your work?
Simplicity and detail.

Where would you take us for a pint and what's your favourite gallery/culture spot in Dublin?
For a pint, its hard to beat Grogans, I'd like to give you an obscure place but a Guiness and a toasty outside grogans is hard to beat, maybe a cocktail in The Exchequer. We have worked with IMMA and the Science Gallery so it would seem biased of us to mention them... but they are great spots for education and inspiration.

What's next for designgoat?
2014 is looking good so far. We are working on some really nice interior projects and we hope to have a new collection of our own work to follow the Gray collection we released last year. Oh there may be a ping pong table too.

View designgoat's work below and here.


Stephen Murphy

Jan 31 2014
Nice guy Mr. Murphy featured at the first FTLO with a haunting leather-masked portrait painting, Steve has since moved on to the UK, here's some more on this talented painter from Cork...

I’m Stephen Murphy, I’m a Cork boy, born and bred and a proud member of the tradition of painters to emerge from the Limerick School of Art and Design.

I’m a product of the Irish cultural and economic diaspora, having moved to Cambridge in 2009 to support my girlfriend while she studied for her MA in Children’s Book Illustration and we’ve been here happily ever since.

I’m very fortunate to have a day job which blends seamlessly into my creative life, I’m the Art Technician in one of England’s premier prep schools. It’s like working in Hogwarts, and I’m kind of like the school’s version of Hagrid. My daily highlights include drawing pineapples and giraffes, making African tribal masks, and important lunch meetings with 7 year olds to discuss the Tooth Fairy’s Euro/Sterling exchange rate.

I’m there almost 4 years, I get to work with wonderful colleagues and enthusiastic & gifted students and it’s been one of the defining periods in my life.

I paint at home every evening and night without fail, and feel a nagging neurological itch if I’ve gone too long without making art. I paint until about 2am each morning, as I feel more in tune with my creativity later in the day. I’m naturally nocturnal, so having a day job and responsibilities are a Godsend as it keeps me in touch with normal life and in a routine.

My main mode of expression is painting, I like it for its abilities to create a kind of timeless, contemplative, “staring” space from a single viewpoint, presenting truths and creating artifices, but I do dabble in other mediums including drawing, print and sculpture.

I think that rather than using one medium exclusively, you’ve got to use the most appropriate one for the message you’re sending, as they all have their own inherent strengths and weaknesses. Oil paintings have the weight of history behind them and carry a certain level of decorum and expectation, candy coloured drawings hold a whole lot more potential for regressing the viewer back to their childhood, and paper punch collages are alien territory for everybody, which is exciting

I want to get into photography but I’m a bit too embarrassed because photographers are the coolest and I’ll look like a dweeb to them.

I’m inspired and influenced by the hedonistic and unapologetic lifestyles of contemporary American photographers like William Eggleston and Ryan McGinley, Picasso’s input into the invention of new art materials and modes of expression, other Spanish Masters like Velázquez and Goya, and enigmatic painters like Michael Borremans and Andrew Wyeth. There’s loads more things and people which I could mention, but these spring to mind first.

Consistent themes in my work are the exploration of the shared human experience, childhood and both the beautiful and the abject. One of the things that I’m proudest of is that people tend to have a reaction to my work, and that it always resonates in some way. I’m especially happy when people have strong adverse, vocal and negative “gut”reactions, as with time and thought they normally see things differently after considering the picture for a while.

I’m still undiscovered, luckily, as being a starving artist means that by definition you have loads of integrity. I have had a few career highlights, including winning first prize at “The Shinnors selection”, an exhibition of LSAD students work juried by John Shinnors in 2004, having my first solo exhibition in the Normoyle Frawley Gallery in Limerick, entitled “Epiphany, serendipity and synchronicity: Illustrations of the human condition”, exhibiting alongside my idols like John Shinnors and Michael Canning, being artist in residence in the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation in Connecticut, USA, winning the Cambridge Drawing Society's Young Artist of the Year award and most recently exhibiting in the BP Portrait Award in the National Portrait Gallery in London.

As always though, it's not about what you've done and where you're been, as much as what you're going to do and where you're going. It would however be remiss of me not to mention that without people who have been kind enough to invest in me, I'd be nowhere, and nothing.

View Steve's work below and keep up with his latest news here.


Keith Lawler

Jan 24 2014
Mr. Lawler featured at the first FTLO with a cracking video he created for the band he formed Giveamanakick. Currently Keith is in the UAE plying his creative skills. Formerly at global ad agency Saatchi & Saatchi he is now one-half of creative team The Mules / Tweet: @the_mules. Here's what Keith's up to...

Who are you, what do you do?
My names Keith Lawler and I'm an advertising creative working in Dubai. I'm an Art Director by trade but I don’t think that describes what I do very well. I come up with ideas that attempt to push a brands visibility forward in innovative and fun ways.

Why did you decide to work in Dubai?
I was on holiday in Dubai to visit a friend a couple of years back, I had all of the preconceptions of the city that everyone outside the Middle East had back then, you can't drink alcohol, all the women are hidden inside and it's a very unfriendly and audacious place. Two of those myths were shattered within the first day. I hadn't considered living here but once I got to like it I started to look for an opportunity. I noticed that the entire city is designed and finished to an unbelievable level but any advertising I saw was very poor so I thought, here's my opportunity to make it better, to get into a brand new city growing at a phenomenal rate and help form it's culture. I went home after the holiday, sent my book around to all the agencies and four months later I started with Saatchi & Saatchi Dubai. 

How has your experience in Dubai compared to Ireland in terms of creativity?
There are huge differences between Dubai and Ireland creatively. You can't rely on colloquialisms or rhyming when it comes to lines, they all need to work in Arabic so everything needs to be very visual. We do a lot of work for the Saudi Arabian market too so cultural sensitivities need to be monitored heavily. This does make you work harder to get to a genuine human truth in your work, something that transcends cultures. Often this dilutes ideas but sometimes, with good collaboration from Arabic creatives, you can really touch on some great territories. The presence of a really good planner that can give great local insights is a must. However, Dubai has a really transient nature, people tend to come here for two years, get some global brands under their belts then fuck off. This really makes it hard to develop lasting and more importantly, trusting relationships between agency and brand managers. By the time you have gained their trust enough to do something mental, they’re gone. This is annoying... Irelands creative scene is a lot more solid than this; you might have gone to school with the client, college, know them from home or whatever, that is not the case.

Do you see yourself returning to Ireland anytime soon?
I often think about coming home but not just yet. This country and this region are booming. It's absolutely the place to be when it comes to growth. I heard that last year the global economy was starting to get back on it's feet. The UK experienced a 34% growth in 2013, the US 28% but the UAEs economy has already grown by 106%, fuck me! It's a place to take a chance, give your ideas a go and you won't lose the house on them. There are lot's and lot's of negatives about the Middle East but none of them are the weather, the quality of life, the tax free, the blue ocean, the great food, amazing architecture and the Irish bar downstairs. Ireland is home, I will be going back soon but not until I've left a lasting impression in the sand.

What's your process from brief to final execution?
I love getting a tight brief; sadly I don't get them very often. I am currently freelancing so that makes it a little harder to turn down shit briefs. When I was in Saatchi, terrible briefs would come across my desk all the time, "Saudi teenagers like chocolate and like fun" Are you fucking joking me, this is a brief for Cadburys and that's the insight! So as soon as our halfwit suits got their shit together to give us a decent brief we had already come up with our own insight, completely ignored everyone and done most of the work. I would say that my recent experience has been, get the brief, reject the brief, make up our own brief, have a great time doing whatever we want, get the brief again, throw it in the bin and then present to the client. The client usually signs off 100% of the creative at the presentation and then 2 months later we ask why we haven't been briefed to create the work. The answer to that is usually, 'Oh ya, the client loved your ideas but they're going to wait until next year to implement them'. Then the client leaves Dubai and we do a fuckin shelf wobbler! These days I’m less focused on waiting for the great brief to fall into my lap and just going ahead with making the work and selling the ideas later. Just because an idea didn’t get made doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea and shouldn’t see the light of day. I think ideas, especially innovative ones are interchangeable and should exist regardless of a brief. Just do it and then sell it to a client later!

What are you more passionate about music or art direction, why?
 I am passionate about creating anything new in general. I love music more than anything and always will, if I'm working on an ad brief I'll be listening to something, I love to switch off while playing the drums and think. Drums are a great instrument to level your mind. I find monotonous repetition so inspiring, I'll listen to music like Ministry or Killing Joke to get inspired, it just puts my brain into a rhythm and I find it really easy to think. Also the sound of a lawnmower or crackling fire is great. I think that Dubai has made feel a little sour towards Art Direction. The Art Directors here are traditional, I mean 20 years ago traditional. The writers do the ides and the Art Directors lay it out. They are often self-obsessed Photoshop pricks without a thought in their head, they remind me of jocks in school... They consider a TV shoot to be the Holy Grail, even if it's a piece of shit TV commercial. I'm an ideas type of guy, I love the visual, I love words and I love technology. I think any Art Director worth their salt these days needs to be able to write, think and produce whatever they need to. If it was a fight between Art Direction and music, music all the way. 

Do you think collaboration in creativity is important?
Collaboration is so important, it's what drives you to do better. Whether that's trying not to let your partner down, trying to get a better idea than them or whatever. An idea that stays in your head can only go so far, it needs to be kicked a bit, criticized, broken and twisted, eventually a bloody and beaten thought will remain and if it's survived all that then it's worth keeping. You can only get that through working with people. Neil and I started The Mules last year for that very reason, we were sick of working alone and we had some ideas that needed to have the shit kicked out of them. We sat down and said, let's form a team and instantly kicked the shit out of that idea until we had decided to create a team of international smugglers, sending seemingly random objects all over the worlds to get attention. We couldn't do it traditionally; we had to do it creatively. That's what being a creative person is all about; thinking and rethinking every problem to make it different, create something new. 

Where would you take us for a pint and what's your favourite gallery/culture spot in Dubai?
Hmmmmmmm, depends on who's buying, booze here is expensive! There are the most amazing bars architecturally here but they are fucking soulless. The place for me is McGettigans, where everybody knows my name. I live upstairs and it's got me through thick and thin. I watch all the hurling matches down there and it got a killer beer garden. For a culture spot I would say Alserkal Avenue, there's some great galleries down there and there's often gigs on too. Dubai lacks a music scene, bands have to get a license to play, ya I know! There is one decent venue called the Music Room that's pretty scuzzy and you can't beat checking out 13 piece Philipino bands tripping over each other trying to do Bon Jovi covers.

View some of Keith's work below and here.


The Project Twins

Jan 17 2014
The Project Twins are James and Michael Fitzgerald, an Irish based graphic art duo. They work together in a range of disciplines including art, design and illustration on both personal and commercial projects.

Tell us a little about your background - what path led you to what you're doing now?
We both studied Visual Communications in Cork Institute of Technology. After graduating in 2005 we spent a couple of years working in different Design and Ad agencies. Not long after this we left our jobs to go traveling, comfortable in the knowledge that there was plenty of work going for when we were to arrive home. This turned out not to be the case. We both got back to Ireland at the end of 2008 and there were very little graphic design jobs.

During 2009 we started doing a few freelance pieces between us and it was towards the end of 2009 when we started to think that maybe we set up working together. In January 2010 The Project Twins had officially begun. We knew at the start that we didn’t want to define ourselves as just a graphic design studio. We liked the idea of working on a range of visual projects, from our own artwork to illustration, design and art direction. We spent 2010 working on some different design work mainly for festivals. We still hadn’t really developed our own visual style or way of working. We wanted to start working more in illustration and still with a lot of free time on our hands we started an illustration project called ‘An A-Z of Unusual Words’ in 2011. The project took about 10 months to complete and really defined our visual thinking and how we approach a project. It was after this when we joined Illustrators Ireland and things really started to kick off for us. 

The A-Z project turned out to be the best thing we could have done for our careers. The project got picked up by a few well known design blogs and within a couple of days of this our site crashed with the amount of traffic going to it. Within a couple of weeks we started getting calls from various agencies to commission work. Since then we have been commissioned to do illustrations in Australia, America, Ireland, Uk, Asia and Europe. At the same time we were taking this same visual approach and bringing it into out own art. We wanted to see how this graphic language could translate into our own personal work, which lead to some various group shows. This included shows in The Glucksman and Visual Carlow. Now we work from Sample-Studios and have recently joined Cork Printmakers.

What does a typical day in the studio involve for the Project Twins?
Most days would start at around 10 with a coffee, check the emails and a bit too much time on Facebook. They can vary a bit depending on what commercial jobs we have on. Whether it’s an illustration job for a client or a piece for an exhibition we tend to approach them the same way. We start each project together. This involves teasing out ideas with a lot of dialogue and very quick sketches over and back. This would be the largest part of our work. Once we get a solid concept the image tends to come together quite quickly. We have an agent in Australia, that gets us a lot of editorial illustration. These have a fast turn around but are extremely good to work on. We try to divide up time between commercial and personal work so some days we are working on an illustration and other days we could be making a 20 foot piece for a show. Working across a few projects keeps it really interesting for us and we feel that they all can feed into and influence each other. We generally try to finish up at about 6 or 7 to keep some form of structure to the day but when we are busy on a project we could quite often work late at night and sometime early into the morning.

Where do you look for inspiration when first tackling a new brief – blogs, books, art, travel, a jog?
When we get a new project the first thing we do is try and break down the brief to get a good sense of what it is about. Ideas might come from within the brief, or if it’s an editorial illustration the article itself can throw up a lot of concepts. In general inspiration can come from a lot of sources such as books, blogs and really researching the topic. A lot of ideas for our personal work can come from anywhere from something we might have read to something a comedian might say. We like how comedians can use wit and humour to deal with certain darker themes and observations on human behaviour. A lot of our personal work takes a similar approach.

What has been a favourite recent commission / client and why?
We are lucky enough to work with some really great clients that trust what we do. Not sure if we could pick a favourite. We enjoy working on editorial illustrations as these generally come with just the article and not much direction after that.

One of our biggest clients has been ING Bank in Australia. We have been working with Droga5 Ad Agency on the ING campaign for the past year and a half. They are a really great client to work and are really open to any wacky illustration we might come up with. We have created almost 40 illustrations for them so far and have worked on 3 TV ads with them too.

Cork City's best kept secret?
Not sure if Cork has any secrets. Cork people tend to talk a lot! I think the best thing it has going are the availability of cheap artist studios, which are helping to keep artists working in the city. The space we have in Sample-Studios is great especially when we want to work on some really large pieces.

What's next for the Project Twins?
As we have recently joined Cork Printmakers, we plan to do a lot more screenprinting. We will be in a group printmaking show in San Francisco in a couple of months and plan to exhibit a lot more this year and hopefully have our own show during the summer. We also have some good commissions on the go at the moment too. We are working on some nice illustrations for a company in Norway and designing a series of icons for a new client in Australia. We would also like to start looking into getting an illustration Agent in the UK and perhaps the States later in the year.

Check out the lads' work below and here.


Jamie Saunders

Jan 10 2014
Mr Saunders exhibited at FTLO Change in March 2010 before jetting off to New York City, here's what this ace photographer has been doing since...

Who are you, what do you do?
Christ, I wish I knew. I'm currently working as a retoucher at gloss studio. I spend my time making pretty girls "prettier" and generally making things look like we presume they should, or wish they did? I still havent figured that out quite yet. But my heart is in Photography, its my sweet passion and my creepy vice. 

After working as a retoucher i found that it gave me a new eye to looking at images and has greatly influenced my photography.


What brought you to New York?
The movie Taxi Driver.

How has your experience in NY changed your work and thinking?
Its made me really think about what I'm shooting. When I first moved here I found that NYC is so iconic that a lot of my pictures seemed cliche or told too much. In a new place everything is interesting and I found it hard to distance myself from being a tourist to making work I wanted to make. Its made me rethink what it is I'm trying to do. 

I learned to really appreciate a looser style of shooting, almost like an 'inward' street photography style. Its something I have been experimenting with and want to make a project out of, but I think it will be a while in the making as its the complete opposite of what I usually do.

Also everyone in NYC is fucking insane.

What's your process for shooting from concept to final photographs?
I don't have a very set process, usually the concept comes first and I try and work from there. Other times I see an image I want to make and I think about making that image for a week or two, and before even taking the picture, its inspired a concept. Most of the time I have a number of scenes or places I want to photograph that I think would work in a project. I am also constantly thinking about a few different projects, slowly completing some and haven't figured out how best to execute others. 

When I take pictures I usually don't look at them for a few days, I'll let them brew on the computer, only then do I check to see if I screwed up or not. Then I always try to look at the project as a whole and see whats working. Sometimes I'll go back and reshoot images during different weather or another angle. Then I will tweak the contrast and colour in Photoshop and match all the images of a project to sit well together.

I love to print work out hang it on the wall and live with it for a while, but that doesn't happen often enough, thats a great way to pick out the weaker images.

Is there anything particular you try to achieve in your photography?
I always try to create a sense of quiet or stillness, for some reason I love that. The new topographics and objective art were great inspirations to me, but thats some fairly boring stuff at the end of the day. I think its great when there is a good strong concept paired with beautiful images and thats something I'm always aiming to achieve.

Where would you take us for a pint and what's your favourite gallery/culture spot in NY?
Nights and Weekends, its a swanky hairdo hipster bar, but they make my favourite cocktail; the "Silky Johnson", this isn't a joke. But to be honest for good oul pint I favour any dive bar, the kinda place you can do whatever you want without worrying about the repercussions.

For culture I would take you on the subway to the Brooklyn Museum, the Subway ride is one of the best cultural spots in NYC. The best people take the subway from the freaks to the crazies and everyone in between. 

Also the Brooklyn Museum puts on damn fine shows that always amazed me.

What's next for Jamie?
I keep getting the yearning to get my hands on something real, NYC has me in front of a computer far too much. Sculpture? Whittling? Maybe I'll move to the wilderness and live like a real man (but not in the winter).

Check out more of Jamie's work here and below.


Meagan Hyland

Dec 27 2013
Super talented designer Meagan featured at FTLO Resonance in May 2012 with a fantastic typographic piece, here's what Meagan has been working on since...

Meagan Hyland is someone who watched far too much television as a child and now as an adult still watches too much television except now she spends too much time on tumblr too. Usually this would be a bad thing but Meagan has somehow harnessed her knowledge of cult movies, books and forgotten television shows into pop culture themed art and design, she also hates talking in the third person.

A graduate of Limerick School of Art and Design, Meagan's work blends her love of pop culture and minimalistic design most notably in her on going poster project Meagan's Movie Alphabet where she reinterprets films into typographic posters using only the first letter of the name. Recently her design for the movie Stoker was placed 2nd in the top ten alternate movie posters of the year as voted by Shortlist magazine.

On the back of the movie alphabet, Meagan's illustration and design work has been seen in cities ranging from Dublin to New York, most recently collaborating with Damn Fine Print and Hollywood Babylon to create the movie poster for the Lighthouse cinema's screening of Working Girl, Damn Fine Print's Sounds Damn Fine exhibition, Gallery 1988's Crazy 4 Cult: Back in New York exhibition and Gallery 1988's literary themed Required Reading show in LA. 

In 2014 she hopes to take a much need break before jumping back into finishing the second round of the movie alphabet and working on a super secret project that for legal reasons she is not allowed to talk about just yet but will be screaming it from the rooftops soon. She thinks this is a fitting sign off "when it comes to design there are no mistakes only research".

View Meagan's work below and here.


Ken Deegan

Dec 20 2013 
Our Christmas Creative is a gentleman from Dublin working in Pentagram, the most prestigious design studio in the World, on Pentagram Partner Eddie Opara's team. Here's what Ken's has to say...

Who are you, what do you do?
I am a senior designer at Pentagram New York. The projects I work on are generally split evenly between identity, print and interactive design.

What brought you to New York?
I was interested in working abroad for the year after I graduated. A new year-long visa for the US became available that summer so New York felt like a good opportunity.

How has your experience in NY changed your work and thinking?
My experience certainly here has helped evolve my approach to design thinking. I work in a highly collaborative environment so I value discussing projects in their infancy with other team members, bouncing concepts back and forth until it's time the initial deadline looms. 

What do you think of the Irish design industry at the moment?
I'm really interested in what is going on at home. Thanks to various social networks and studio's updating work online I get to keep an eye on what's going on, so I don't feel completely out of touch by being abroad. My thoughts on the Irish design industry may be a little biased but I think the standard of work from some studios and designers at home match up and easily surpass a lot of the successful studios here. 

One thing I haven't come across is an agency or studio heavily focusing on interactive projects. This may be down to client needs. New York clients from all different industries are really embracing technology and advancing their ways of doing business through the use interactive design—be it touchscreens, digital signage, mobile applications or just more advanced web systems. 

Where would you take us for a pint and what's your favourite gallery/culture spot in NY?
Great question. I'm going to offer two answer as I'm in two Boroughs everyday so I feel it's appropriate.

I vouch for McSorley's Old Ale House in the East Village for a pint of either light or dark beer (as that is all they offer). I was recently blown away by the Chris Burden show in the New Museum on Bowery, L.E.S. so that gets my vote right now but in general they host really fantastic shows.

Maison Premiere in Williamsburg for an Old Fashioned — even if you wanted a pint I would twist your arm into going here, it's a great spot. Brooklyn Art Museum is a great place to spend a few hours.

What's next for Deegs?
Very tough question, I'm really happy where I work, I like the projects I do and the people I work with. These are really important for me to have in the working environment. Truthfully, I'll stay in Pentagram a while longer. I really do want to get back to Dublin at some stage so that may well be the next big move. 

View some of Ken's work below and over on Pentagram's site.

Makr Shakr: Design by Ken Deegan/Pentagram.


Mr Steve McCarthy

Dec 13 2013 
The talented Mr Steve has been a regular fixture on FTLO's roster since 2009, here's what he has to say, enjoy!

Hi my name is Steve, I make pictures for a living, and I've been getting away with it for 3 years now. I say 3 years, but I've been saying that for several years, so I could be very very old, and my friends and family are genuinely worried about my mental health, which means being asked by FTLO to write a little about myself, and my work, is probably them just trying to humour a very sad deluded old man.

Art is not a word I use lightly, it's something I don't think Illustrators are allowed use, unless the person you're buying a drink doesn't know anything about it, in which case an Illustrator will flap around the the word art like swearing in a foreign country where no one can understand you. Like shouting C**T! in Minsk, which, I imagine, is the exact same amount of fun as describing your own work as art.

I draw pictures, doodle, sketch, scrawl, make and illustrate images, but it's not art, sure it's work that transcends borders, pushes boundaries, closes gates and leaves doors slightly ajar, but never art. Half the time I'm trying to be clever, 99% of that I'm trying to be funny, but more than three thirds of that is just exploring ideas. 1 time out of 100 it's for fun, and that's why you do it, whatever your excuse or explanation to create work may be, sometimes the most fun and exciting work will come out of nowhere, and it's that work, of mine and others, I find to be the most engaging, work that feels like it was fun to make, and the closest to shouting C**T! in Minsk. 

Steve McCarthy is a Dublin based Illustrator who spends his time telling people he writes children's books and draws for a living. He's currently working on many very important and exciting projects that are all very relevant and cool. You could describe him as tall but not overbearing, with a normal amount of hair in normal places. He doesn't feel totally comfortable writing this in the third person, but then who else would say such nice things?

Peruse Mr Steve's fantastic work below and here.


Zoë Wong

Words by Mr & Mrs Stevens / Dec 6 2013
Born and raised in Hong Kong and Galway, Ireland, Zoë Wong graduated BSc(Hons) from Trinity College Dublin before moving to NewYork City to study Fashion Design at Parsons The New School for Design. Following graduation in 2009 she worked with International brands - TSE, Libra Leather and Pour La Victoire. It was during this period of apprenticeship that Zoë cultivated her knowledge of craftsmanship and raw materials, working in the fields of knitwear design, leather and shoe design. This innate respect for form, tempered with a modern sophistication, is evident throughout her work. In 2010 she explored the world of retail with her much-loved vintage store, Horse & June. After three years of invaluable experience at the buying/ sales coalface she folded the operation to concentrate upon her eponymous label, Zoë Carol.

Zoë Carol is at the vanguard of a new wave of Irish labels, informed by economy of expression and confidence of execution.The designs are characterised by a lack of girlish frivolity, displaying instead a calm self assurance and poised femininity.The Zoë Carol design language is spare, with uncomplicated tailoring conveying a minimal, timeless modernity and lightness of touch.Texture and structure are always at the fore, underscored by a neutral, organic colour palette. Simple clean lines and functionality are a defining feature of these effortless (future) wardrobe classics.

In the new year, her work will culminate at Scoop International in London, the international exhibition seen by buyers and visitors in January. The inspiration for this Fall/Winter 2014 collection comes from National Geographic photography of majestic Antarctica. Specifically, the region of the 'Dry Valleys' is alluded to. This landscape of rocks and glaciers is so called because of the scarcity of retreating snow. This reveals the rough hewn landscape of jagged rock and exposed mineral threaded stone from which the colour palette of the collection is drawn - cool greys, contrasting graphite, touches of metallic silver. The regions textures are reflected too in the use of Irish tweed and wools. The glacial lagoons of Jökulsárlón, Iceland inspire elements of semi-sheer silk and metallic silver. Shimmering notes amongst the rocks. 

In the meantime, Zoë has found time to revive her much-loved vintage store once on Drury Street, Dublin with a 28 day online Pop-UP. On this internet flash sale, you will find special pieces that have been redesigned through the eyes of the Zoë Carol label to thoughtfully echo Horse & June's mantra of "nostalgic modernity". 

The Zoë Carol FW13 collection can be found at Atelier 27, 27 Drury Street Dublin or online at www.zoecarol.com

The Horse & June Online Pop-UP can be found at www.horseandjune.goodsie.com


Sinéad Lawlor

Words by Roisín Flanagan / Nov 29 2013
Sinéad Lawlor is a Dublin and Brooklyn based Irish fashion designer that is internationally known for her love of colour, print, and texture with an intricate knit. Fast becoming Ireland’s greatest fashion export, Lawlor, after graduating in 2007 from the Limerick School of Art and Design, underwent three years in Istanbul working with the country’s top designers before embarking to Amsterdam with further creative projects and eventually, to New York in 2010 where she completed her MFA in Fashion Design and Society.

On inspiration, Lawlor cites people (who we are and our perception on things), culture and society as the foundation of her creative process and admits to having a love of people watching especially street style, which all ignites her passion to create and design. She aims for her work to have some Sophisticated Swagger and reveals her Spring/Summer 2013 collection zoned in on the monochrome of colours. With a firm vision in mind of what she wanted her collection to be, Sinéad began gathering colours, and from that started to photograph these objects. Her final prints for her S/S ’13 collection came from photographing colour coordinated buttons that had been collected over many years in old jam buckets that she discovered from a psychiatric hospital.

With her designs having been exhibited worldwide as part of group and solo shows, one of Lawlor’s own highest personal achievements is her work being shown at New York Fashion WeekSpeaking about the highlight of her career to date, Lawlor states; "Seeing my work printed in the New York Times and on Style.com. Actually, seeing my work featured is always a highlight!”. In terms of Lawlor’s fans, their highlight would be the designer finally producing her first solo show in August 2013 in St. Louis which was part of the St. Louis Craft Alliance. On her solo show success, Lawlor says; "Having a whole gallery to fill with my own work is something every creative dreams of. It was an incredible experience."

Currently back in Dublin, Lawlor is busier than ever being in the early stages of working on a new small capsule collection for Spring/Summer ’14, getting her website up and running as well as collaborating with some interesting creatives on future projects. It seems the future of design is beaming brighter than ever for Lawlor. Watch this space.

Check out more of Sinéad's work featured on PSFK.


James Cooper

Nov 22 2013
FTLO worked with James on his Foreign Cities music films project in May 2012. Now the Aussie Director is based primarily in New York, we caught up with JC to see how he's adjusting.

Who are you, what do you do?
I’m a displaced Australian with an unhealthy addiction to Vegemite and no possible way of getting my hands on the stuff because I’m now based in the West Village in New York. Smart move drongo. I direct stories for the small screen, your device screen, and one day soon, the big, old-fashioned silver screen.

How has the transition from Art Director to Director been?
One word. Intense. And magical. That’s two words. Did I mention I am looking to work with writers? About a year ago I jumped out of a big agency and into a small wooden ship with the word ‘director’ painted by hand on the side. I set sail for the screen. I didn’t know if the directorial winds would pick up. Thankfully, they did. Those trade winds have since taken me to Bolivia, Galway, Venice Beach & Hollywood in Los Angeles, London, Dublin and New York. My art direction and design skills still play a big part in my directing process as I’ll often board up each shot of a script in detail for the DP – in essence ‘designing’ what the viewer is going to see in the edit. I’m big on visual composition and being very clear with my DP on what lens, angle, time of day and mood I want to create with each shot.

What brought you to New York?
I came to New York to work on the creative for a feature film that’s currently in post both in New York state and LA. It’s been a flurry of creative activity and fun. And late nights.

How has your experience in NY changed your work and thinking?
To say New York has changed my life would be an understatement. New York has given me a fertile platform to allow positive change to permeate both my life and creative work, which are actually one in the same. Visiting New York City for a few days feels like a triple Jaeger bomb after a heady night out. But LIVING in New York City is like an Olympic sport. You gotta be on your A game every day. From the moment you wake up there is the very real chance that you could kick one of those personal or creative goals you’ve always dreamed of. There’s also the thought that you could land face-down on the sidewalk wondering where it all went wrong. That’s what has become clear to me in New York: everyone here is hustling, and that’s OK here. Hustle away. People respond to that. In New York your heart and brain will be pushed on all levels – and people are all going through that together. It’s like New York City is a living, breathing organism, and we’re all growing together – it’s like a relationship: a gorgeous plant growing from being watered. Some days New York waters you: other days you need to give a little H2o back to New York. You share your energy with someone and it starts coming back at you in waves, because now you’re contributing, you’re a member of this moving, breathing thing: not just a spectator. Actually, do you know what? I think I want to write a book about the first 6 months in New York...

Where would you take us for a pint and what's your favourite gallery/culture spot in NY?
Great question. Really hard to find good stout over here. A pint would be Lucky Dog in Brooklyn mainly because of the CD Jukebox and the always random crowd. I had a first date with MoMA yesterday. She was gentle with me, but boy that collection blew my mind. I’ve studied that stuff for years and to finally SEE those original works right in front of me. It was too much. I’m going back for more.

What's next for JC?
I’m in post for a series of commercials right now which will be released in the New Year. I worked with a great crew on those and I can’t wait to share those around. I’m accepting script submissions for my first feature (there’s a plug) as I want to start shooting that mid next year. I hope plenty more commercials, a few docs and quite possibly some painting. But before all that, my first thanksgiving in the US!

Check out two of James' beautiful short films below and see more of the award winning Director's work here.


“Coolest Block”

Dont mind me.jpg

Mick Minogue

Nov 15 2013
Serial FTLO-er Mick Minogue is an illustrator, craftsman and all round creative whizz.

Here's what Mick is up to right now:
I will be taking part in Gallery 1988's annual Crazy 4 Cult show in NYC again this year. The second year in a row having the hugely successful show in NYC. I am pretty excited about this after last year's show. As pop culture art shows go this is definitely the biggest. Titan have just released a book on the last few shows which I am delighted to be amongst the pages.  

For each show the artists are given a list of classic cult movies to be inspired by to make a piece. I only ever make work based on a movie that I genuinely love or have a personal connection to in some way. Last year I chose Point Break because its one of the greatest movies ever made but also because without that movie and Die Hard I would have never hit puberty.

This year I have decided to go all out and do something new. Over the 2 years I have been producing work and instantly shipping it to the states for gallery shows. The only audience who has seen it in the flesh has been abroad. I wanted to change that process for this my final gallery show of the year. I will be moving into the Project Library in Temple Bar in Dublin for a week as part of the Making Space residencies. Throughout this week I will be making my Crazy 4 Cult gallery piece letting people visit as I work and check out how I go about making and doing. 

The piece I will be making will be based on Home Alone 2, seeing as the show is in NYC in December I felt it very apt. So I will be turning the Project Library into a total Home Alone experience. I will be boobie trapping the space with traps from both films, be making special limited edition prints based on the detailed 3D piece I will be making and then exhibiting before shipping it off to NYC. There will be live performances on the night from some special friends and the whole things promises to be super festive and an exciting way to see out what has been a busy year.

Check out more of Mick's work below and here.

Photo by  Andrew Nuding

Photo by
Andrew Nuding

Rich Gilligan

Nov 15 2013
Rich featured at the inaugural FTLO with a typically awesome skate photograph (see below).

Rich first discovered photography through early nineties skateboard magazines and the Sonic Youth 100% music video. He promptly decided that as it was unlikely he had the skills to become a pro skater the next best thing would be becoming a skate photographer working for a wide range of international skate magazines, which he did.

From this background and keen interest in documentary photography he began working commercially on a wide range of commissions in fashion, advertising and editorial portraiture. In 2012 he published his first book called DIY for which he travelled for 4 years documenting the landscapes and people residing in home-made renegade skateparks worldwide. The first edition of this book recently sold out.

He holds an MFA in photography from University of Ulster, Belfast and a BA Honours degree in documentary photography from the University of Wales, Newport. His work has been exhibited worldwide with recent exhibitions in Dublin, London, Berlin, Dusseldorf, Los Angeles and Copenhagen Photo Festival 2013.

Rich currently works between Dublin, London and New York and still skates as much as he can. In early 2014 a revised edition of his book will be released internationally.

Check out more of Rich's work below and here.


Rich's photograph "Conhuir Lynn- Bushy Park" exhibited at  FTLO God  exhibition in 2009.

Rich's photograph "Conhuir Lynn- Bushy Park" exhibited at FTLO God exhibition in 2009.