Mary Smyth, is another artistic and creative relative. My paternal grandfather was Mary’s maternal great-grandfather. Mary and I have been working on a project which you can read about in this interview.
1. When did you realise you were good at art?
I always enjoyed art as a child and in school. I took part in many workshops and competitions with the, Aisling Children’s Art festival, Longford, when I was very young and did facepainting with Backstage Youth Theatre, Longford.
2. Who encouraged you in your artwork?
My parents and teachers definitely influenced me when I was very young.
3. What influences your art the most?
I follow a lot of traditional and digital artists online which are a continuous inspiration and influence on my work. I especially love figures and characters and the various ways people explore their shape.
4. Why did you decide to study animation?
Studying animation was something which could’ve gone another way. I was very torn when choosing my discipline in college. It wasn’t until final year that I felt progression in my digital work and started to experiment with ways I could enjoy the medium. I often take a multi-media approach, sometimes creating 3D models / sculptures and adding them into my scenes before using traditional animation over it. Every so often I paint!
5. Tell us about your project for animating my book, ‘The Reckolahesperus’. What processes are involved?
Eileen approached me a long time ago on animating, ‘The Reckolahesperus’. It involves traditional 2D animation, lip-sync, motion design and effects. We recorded the speakers ourselves and the designs are based off the original illustration work in the book. We are hoping to share it into film festivals soon.
6. You have been doing a lot of work with various groups in the local community. Tell us a bit about those.
I work a lot with schools and festivals. Currently I am working with Hannah Carleton on an online scrapbook art and creative writing challenge for children during lockdown called ‘Household Hero: Scrapbook Challenge’ on facebook and youtube (https://www.facebook.com/HouseholdHeroLongford/) where we post a weekly challenge and videos to help the children. It is supported by Creative Ireland Longford and Longford County Council. During this year’s Cruinniú na nÓg ( Meeting of youth), animations from school projects I held this year with St. Joseph’s National School, Gaelscoil Longfoirt and St. Mary’s Drumlish National School will be screening for the first time with Still Voices Short Film Festival. I have also worked with Cruthú Arts Festival, Backstage Youth Theatre, Aisling Children’s Art Festival and Ardagh Heritage and Creativity Centre with various promotional artwork and children’s animation day workshops.
7. What are your dreams and ambitions for your art in the future?
I am enjoying research in college and would like to continue that for another year. I am open and looking forward to what happens after that. I definitely want to be working in film and animation and to travel with it but who knows what the future will hold!