Interview with Collage Artist Ciara Phelan

Interview with Collage Paper Artist Ciara Phelan

Becoming a widely known collage artist amongst a broad spectrum of features such as Wired US, The Guardian and New York Times along with projects such as Orange, Toyota and Gap and having been exhibited in London, Beijing and even our current residence Brooklyn, it would seem that Ciara Phelan wouldn’t need much of an introduction.

However, I’m more than happy to introduce such a talent to our blog as Ciara. She is a freelance designer and illustrator who particularly enjoys collecting vintage ephemera and cutting things out of paper and assembling them into visual explosions of color, shape and texture. Without further adieu please enjoy getting to know a little more about amazing collage artist Ciara Phelan.

Interview with Collage Paper Artist Ciara Phelan

Tell us a little about your background – what path led you to what you’re doing now?
I was brought up in a very creative family, my grandmother was a seamstress and my grandad loved to work with wood so from an early age I started sewing, knitting, drawing and generally being creative. Then when it came to A levels I just opted for subjects I enjoyed such as fine art, photography and graphic design. I think thats when I unknowingly sealed my fate and took my first major step into the creative industry, I didn’t really now what I wanted to do I just enjoyed creating images and experimentation. When I left college I went on to study Graphic Design at Brighton University where met lots of amazingly talented friends. After graduating a lot of us moved up to London and thats where I have been ever since.

What does a typical day at work involve for you?
I try to get into my studio at a decent time as I always feel like I’m on the back foot if I have a lazy morning. Generally I arrive in the studio before 10 and set about answering emails and planning my day. I have three notebooks that have are for my on going projects, the first is for my freelance work, the second is for Many Hands and the third is for a new homeward business I ma setting up called Mini Matter. I use these notebooks to remember everything I need to do, I think I would be lost without them! I then settle down to work and break up the day with many cups of tea and chats with my studio mates. In the evening I might spend time working on personal projects or I might meet some friends or go home and crash.

Interview with Collage Paper Artist Ciara Phelan

Are you involved in any upcoming shows or events? Where and when?
I’m actually taking some personal time out at the moment as I have had a hectic few months. I am using this time to develop my homeward so I have purposely not signed up to any events or anything that might distract me! I do have a talk schedule for a Festival Called Eye Candy in Birmingham. I am giving a short lecture about my work. Other people include the talented Mr Bingo and my better half Owen Gildersleeve!

Are there any particular places that you would love to showcase your work?
I would love to decorate the Turbine Hall at the Tate. I’m fairly sure that’s never going to happen but its a great space and their budgets are extensive to say the least!

Interview with Collage Paper Artist Ciara Phelan

What websites do you use for inspiration?
I don’t go on the internet for inspiration. I usually try to get out and go to charity shop or an exhibition. There’s lots going on in London so its great to just explore the city and be inspired by the unexpected.

What did you wanna be when you grow up, and are you surprised where you ended up?
I wanted to be a Veterinary Nurse when I was younger, I’ve always loved the idea of working with animals and I didn’t quite have the stomach for surgery work. If I wasn’t working in the creative industry I would definitely be working with animals in some capacity. I am surprised where I have ended up, mainly because I didn’t know my job existed until I started university. Sometimes when people ask what I do I fib and say Graphic Designer as if I say Illustrator I usually get the response “oh so you like to draw stuff?”. I can’t draw to save my life so its difficult explain that one!

Interview with Collage Paper Artist Ciara Phelan

What have been some favorite recent projects/clients/collaborations?
I recently co-founded an online store called Many Hands where I sell prints and products. This has been a great project as it allows me to be creative outside my freelance work. It helps me stay creative and push my work in new directions.

If you could collaborate with anyone in this world, dead or alive, who would it be?
I would love to collaborate with Charley Harper. I think his work is amazing, his style and execution is exceptional and his main subject matter, nature, is one of my favourites.

Interview with Collage Paper Artist Ciara Phelan

What’s the weirdest thing you have ever done with paper?
I once drove over some paper to get a tyre mark, it didn’t work!

If you could do a different job for a day what would it be and why?
I would like to work in an animal sanctuary, I’m not sure how I would be affected by lots of sad animals so it would be good to find out.

Interview with Collage Paper Artist Ciara Phelan

If your work had a soundtrack, what songs would be on it?
My work is quite playful, vibrant and a bit retro so it would definitely have some Beatles tracks such as I am the Walrus and Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. There would also be Day Dream Believer by The Monkeys and Good Vibrations by the Beach Boys.

Is there anything else that you would like to share with our viewers?
Nope :)

Interview with Collage Paper Artist Ciara Phelan

Ciara, thank you again for taking the time to do an interview with us! We are looking forward to more of your awesome work in the future. To our viewers, please share your thoughts and if you know of any amazingly talented paper artists please drop us a line!

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