Whilst The Art of Ping Pong‘ exhibition, we were transfixed by the work of North County Dublin born Claudine O’Sullivan. It’s the balance of realistic form and abstract colour we thought. Scribbling her livelihood as an illustrator in London we love the way she is able to bring to life these streams of colour into expressive and powerful forms, Just check that roaring bear, pretty damn powerful right. We caught up with Claudine to find her story on being an illustrator in London…mulling over ping ping paddles and the doodles upon them at the KK Outlets ‘
When did you know you wanted to be a artist?
I’m still getting my head around it to be honest. It’s something I’ve always loved doing, I’ve been pencil crazy since I could hold one. I feel so lucky to be getting recognition for it. It was definite an accident! There’s no art background at all in my family so it wasn’t an obvious route to take. I come from quite a musical family, although sadly I haven’t inherited that talent. My parents ran their own business, I think that has given me both confidence and a practical mindset in approaching a self-directed career path.
How did you develop your style?
It’s quite hard to pinpoint. Materials wise I’ve always been drawn to coloured pencil, I’ve actually been using the same type of pencils for over ten years at this stage. Stylistically I experimented quite a bit in university, I think that eventually led me to the aesthetic I have today. If I had to pinpoint a time, I think my combined use of line and colour work began to emerge in my sketchbooks from a trip to India a few years ago.
What inspires your work?
London is a really fun city to get lost in, I’ve been here for almost seven years and I still haven’t covered it. One of my favourite places to hide away and sketch is the Hunterian museum in Holborn, its a small but fascinating medical display, so I doodle lots of creepy things in jars. As much as I love the city I also love to travel and escape to somewhere green! I’ve been lucky to see a lot of Europe overn the last few years which has been really refreshing. But being here has given me a huge drive to work hard. It’s a very energetic city and I think that’s rubbed off on me and my creative approach.
How long does it take you to complete a piece with all that colour?
It really depends on the piece, but usually about 30/40 hours for an A3 pencil drawing – its’ a slow process. I rarely ever finish a piece in one sitting, even if it’s tiny I will work on it, cover it, have a night’s sleep and finish it with fresh eyes. Summer is definitely the best time of year for drawing – no matter how many fancy bulbs I invest in you can’t beat an early sunrise and a late sunset. Scale wise I’ve done a couple of large pieces, although challenging I really enjoy it. I painted a 8x8ft piece for a live Tiger Beer event in Dublin during the sumer and have recently painted a billboard for the Wellcome collection – which was a one day (freezing cold) project in Shoreditch. I’ve also had some work scaled up as part of an interior fit out at MTV in Camden, this also included a full length glass frit design which was really fun.[URIS id=58820]
What’s on the cards for next year?
I have a couple of editorial projects in the pipeline as well as a new brand collaboration which is exciting. I guess we’ll see what happens after that, I try not to think too far ahead! I’d love to do more interior work, designing for a larger scale is really exciting. I’m really keen to collaborate with brands and different types of designers, it’s where some of my most interesting work has evolved from. This year in particular has been really amazing. The recent The Art of Ping Pong show was super cool and had a really great line-up, plus raised money for a fantastic cause.
AND there you have it. You can see some of Caludine’s work at Bear in Mind on Thursday 3rd December at Kitchen Table Projects, 87 Great Portland Street, London, W1W 7LU for one night only AND also as part of the London Illustration Fair, Friday 4th – Sunday 6th December on the South Bank along with over 70 of the UK’s freshest illustrators, designers, print makers and publishers. Keep up to date with Claudine’s doodle on her Instagram.