Fintan Wall is Our July Artist of the Month. Read All About Fintan and His Practice.
- When did you first feel like an artist? I would have to say when I was really small, I used to draw and paint all the time, and one of my neighbours had one of my paintings framed in their sitting room and I remember thinking how cool that was!
- Do you have a ‘day job’? My day job is a graphic designer. Art was my favourite subject in school so I always knew I wanted to do something in the art area. My first choice was animation but then after seeing the time-consuming nature of classical animation and how long it takes to create something, I started looking into graphic design and thought now THAT’S more my scene! I studied in IADT Dun Laoghaire and have been working as a graphic designer since graduating, and I am now a fully fledged freelancer. I absolutely love it!
- If so, does it drain or fuel your personal work? I think that they both compliment each other. Drawing is a great way to train your eye and this then informs the graphic design end of things. It’s finding the time to fit both in that’s the main problem, but I manage it (most of the time!)
- Where do you find inspiration? It can literally come from anywhere! I find that a lot of ideas happen after having conversations with people, it might be just a turn of phrase, or a joke, or some sort of play on words and I’ll go, hmmmm, there’s an idea there. I carry a notebook with me pretty much everywhere and I’ll jot down a word or phrase and then go from there. I also am obsessed with instagram, there is such a huge array of talent on there and it is an endless source of inspiration.
- How do you research if you need reference material e.g. Pinterest, Library, personal photos, etc. As above, instagram for inspiration. I also like taking photos, and with camera phones now such high quality, you can snap away to your heart’s content. Google images is also a godsend, when you are looking for something specific.
- Do you work from home or in a studio/shared space? I recently moved into a studio with MART. They have a bunch of studios throughout Dublin and I was fortunate to get a solo studio 2 minutes from my house! Makes the commute a breeze.
- What is that like? It is HEAVEN! I didn’t realise how much I wanted it until I was actually in it, it’s made such a difference to have a separate space from your home life, as prior to being in the studio, I was working from my bedroom and kitchen table, a special shout out to my eternally patient flatmate, he never once complained about the array of art materials strewn all over the place.
- Have you ever experienced creative blocks? If so, how do you deal with them? I think everyone has experienced creative blocks from time to time. They’re part and parcel of the creative profession. I find that my graphic design background stands me well in this respect, it’s amazing what the pressure of a deadline can do for unclogging a creative block. Usually, if something really isn’t working, I find getting away from it for a bit, maybe have a walk, or a coffee, or a pint and then when you come back to it, the solution presents itself.
- Do you ever equate your self-worth with your artistic successes? Almost never! At the end of the day, the only person you are really in competition with is yourself, so if something doesn’t work out quite how I want it to, I’ll go, well, next time, I’ll do it differently. And that usually does the trick!.
- Are you a morning lark or a night owl? 100% Night owl! I try set regular hours for myself, so a working day would generally be between 10 to 6, although, if I’m really stuck in to something, I could work on into the small hours. I am getting better at shutting that down though.
- Does criticism affect you? If so how do you handle it? It depends on how it’s delivered! You’re never going to please everyone, so the best thing to do is listen to any criticism with an open mind and take it on board, but also don’t take it as gospel. And constructive criticism is invaluable, sometimes a fresh pair of eyes can point out something glaringly obvious that you just won’t have spotted.
- What was your favourite commission to date, if any? I recently did some work for Dog’s Trust, they were looking to get illustrations for the reception area of their re-homing centre in North Dublin. I was really pleased with how the finished project turned out and it was so much fun to work on too
- Is your work primarily imagination based or observational? Definitely imagination. My observational drawing skills are pretty rusty. But I’m working on that!
- Do you keep sketchbooks? If so is it daily or now and again? I really should keep sketchbooks, but I don’t as such. I have a bunch of half-filled a4 sketch-pads lying around, and when the humour takes me, I’ll start doodling, but it’s very sporadic. (Also working on that!)
- Do you enjoy location drawing? If so do you have a favourite spot? Again, not a huge fan of location drawing, I would prefer to take photos and then work from them. I get a bit too distracted drawing on location, I would prefer to be by myself listening to music than out and about with the sketchbook
- Do you have a list of favourite pens, pencils paper or art materials? If so what to you love about it/them? I recently bought an iPad Pro with and apple pencil and it is one of the best gadgets I have ever owned. The amount of things you can do with it is unreal, especially with Pro-Create. It’s like having an entire store of art supplies in your hands without having to tidy them up afterwards. For traditional drawing, you can’t beat some Staedtler fine-liners and a decent set of pencils. I also really like Faber-Castell coloured pencils, there’s a real richness to the colour and also they are reasonably priced.
- Do you have any ‘tricks’ or habits if you are having trouble with a piece? Step away from it for a while! Go have a coffee, a walk, go to the cinema, anything to take a break and not think about it. Then when you are not thinking about it, the solution more often than not just pops into your brain.
- What does your inner critic say (if anything)? He says, “stop procrastinating!”
- Which artists are you most jealous of, and why? I wouldn’t say jealous of, but I have a lot of admiration for a whole heap of people. I love Andy Warhol’s prints, and Edward Hopper and David Hockney. I went to see the Leonardo Da Vinci exhibition in the National Gallery and was blown away by it. Oliver Jeffers in my eyes can do no wrong, Here We Are, his most recent book is a thing of beauty. There’s a bunch of people I follow on Instagram that are outstanding, including @vince_low, @marcantoinecoulon, @eileenboeijkens @pixelgustavo @thebutcherbilly, @brandonjamesscott @frantheartist, @littlegoodson, @markconlan, @donnellyillustration, @gautiersalome, @mongequentin, @alegiorgini, @maas.art, @handsoffmydinosaur, @xxmmkoxx, @laughingliondesign
- Would you throw a piece away (or delete it!) if it was not working, or would you just ‘keep at it’ until you were happy? I never throw anything away, I’m a bit of a hoarder so I have countless folders with bits and pieces in them, and sometimes I come back to them, but I have a fear that if I throw something away, I’ll think of a way to fix or improve it so I err on the side of caution.
- What would you do if you weren’t an illustrator? Good question! My ideal job would be presenter of the TV show Total Wipeout, I am obsessed with it! Watching people getting knocked into water in an infinite number of ways and getting paid for it is the dream! But, failing that (as I’m pretty sure that show has been cancelled….rage!), I think maybe an art teacher of some sort, or maybe a photographer. Definitely something in the creative sphere.
Fintan Wall Instagram: @WallHello Facebook: @FintanWallDesign Website: http://www.fintanwall.com shop: http://www.shop.fintanwall.com