We are delighted to introduce you to one of our talented Art Wow artists… Niamh McKeown! Based in Dublin, Niamh creates highly detailed designs that are bursting with personality and colour. From text-based designs, to designs around fruit and nature, including the odd boob illustration, Niamh’s designs are uniquely playful and radiate positivity and happiness. Continue reading to get to know the artist and her creative process a little better with this Q+A…
Please tell us a little bit about yourself. What is your name? Where are you based? What does a typical day look like to you?
My name is Niamh McKeown and I’m a Freelance Illustrator from Dublin, Ireland. I spend my days designing Irish style Greeting Cards, Prints and Tote Bags.
How would you describe your style of work?
The style of illustration I focus on is highly detailed colourful designs. I continue to experiment with different colour palettes to create a wide variety of prints. I try to tap into ‘Irishisms’ and traditional Irish sayings with my greeting cards and tote bags. My style of pattern design is usually filled with flowers, fruits and bright colours.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given in life?
Whatever you do in life give it 110% because if you’ve never tried then you’ll never know what it could have been.
What inspires you?
My inspiration stems from Powerful Influential Figures who have changed the course of history in many various ways. Female leaders who dismantled the stereotypical expectations of a woman, Musicians who created an entirely new sound and Artists who share new ways of viewing the world. In life, I think it’s absolutely essential to learn from those who came before and continue forward with their wisdom.
Is there a piece of artwork on Art Wow that you are most proud of? Why?
I love my flower & fruit designs on Art Wow, they were so fun to create and also super versatile on so many products on the site.
If your artwork were music, what would it sound like?
Music inspires so much of my work so it’s really hard to pinpoint a particular sound. I think because my work is so bright and colourful, I’d have to say it would sound like a mix of disco and funk.
What artist, past or present has inspired you?
Frida Kahlo is a massive inspiration for me. An artistic genius, a feminist icon and a manipulator of society and media before social media even existed. The Mexican artist was famous for her self-portraits full of pain and passion, bold, vibrant colours. She ignored the narrow constructs around what is ‘normal’ in society and used her image as a symbol for women who feel shamed and trapped by society’s perfect image. Lets talk about her unibrow – it rejects all stereotypes of how a women should look and I love it! She was a fierce woman who was unforgivably herself and encouraged all women to love the skin they live in.
Who are your biggest influences?
So much of my artwork is inspired by powerful individuals, including; Maya Angelou, Mary Robinson, David Bowie, Elton John, Phil Lynott, Michelle Obama, Amanda Gorman, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Malala Yousafzai
What was the last gift you gave someone?
The last gift I gave was a beautiful bunch of locally grown flowers to my close friend. I always have a bunch of flowers on my desk to brighten the room and I love sharing gifts.
How did you get started as an illustrator?
I’ve been drawing on paper my entire life and last year I decided to try some digital art and I fell in love with it!
If you were an animal, what would you be and why?
I’ve always felt elephants are the most incredible animals, so I think I’d love the opportunity to experience their world, if only for a day.
How did you develop your distinct style? Was it an experimental process?
My style was definitely developed through lots of experimental processes and a combination of my love for fine detail and colour.
What have been your biggest creative challenges to date?
I think my biggest creative challenge to date was learning to develop and change my style. It’s so easy to get caught in the same style of art once you’ve established yourself but it’s exciting to change and stretch your knowledge to create something even better.
In one word, describe how art makes you feel.