Katie Ireland - Illustration
About Katie Ireland
When did you start taking an interest in art?
I've pretty much always been interested in art. I've always been drawing for as long as I can remember. The first time I considered that I could actually draw was when a drawing of a cottage I did was included in a Keith Drury collage painting (which is still in City Hall). After that I just kept drawing and doing art through school. I studyTextile Art Design and Fashion but my work in Unique is illustration and I suppose the reason I chose textiles was partly because I took up fashion illustration as a hobby in 3rd year of grammar school and also because I hope to be a costume designer in the (hopefully near) future.
What course have you studied or currently studying?
I'm studying Textile Art Design and Fashion and I'm in my second year. I specialise in print and garmet construction.
Who or what inspires your art?
At the minute Belfast inspires most of my art, particularly the art that I have in Unique. As for my work for my course, some is influenced by the work I do for Unique and my other influences come from my travels, mostly to Asia - somewhere I've gone nearly every year since I was a child. At the minute I am designing garments with shapes taken from Belfast architecture and Chinese traditional dress. This way I combine my two favourite things - architecture (something I once thought I'd be studying) and Garments.
What do you hope people take from your work?
Hopefully people enjoy looking at my work, I wanted to make something a little different from the usual watercolour paintings of Belfast that I always saw, and also something more affordable that everyone can enjoy looking at. I hope my work helps portray Belfast as the great place it is and helps people to notice the beautiful buildings around them and perhaps help others capture the nostalgia that certain buildings have for them.
Do you have any other interests?
My main interests are obviously my illustration/ art and costume/ fashion design,I don't think I'd have a side business while studying if I didn't love it and want to spend all my time doing it. Due to my interest in costume design I spend quite a bit of time watching TV dramas, particularly period dramas (though I tend to do that while working on art). Another interest I have is languages, particularly French at the minute, mostly just reading books and blogs etc not so much actively learning it, most of my time is spent on art/ uni. I also particularly enjoy traveling and amateur photography - I'm working on photographing as many buildings and features in Belfast as possible, in part to help me with the illustrations I sell but also as a project in its own right.
What is your favourite memory of your time at Ulster University?
There are so many favourite memories that it's hard to know where to start. I suppose it's all the opportunities I have got through either my course or Unique. All the events that I have got to attend, the people I've met and networked with, the opportunity Unique gave me to start selling work that facilitated me starting my own business. And of course a highlight from last year was being awarded the Provosts Unique Art Shop award - I couldn't believe it, that was awesome. This year I guess so far my favourite memory was being asked to sit on a panel for Belfast Design Week, that happened because I was able to set up my own business.
What is next for you creatively?
There are so many things I want to do and achieve. There are products I want to make for my business, some of which I would need to secure funding for. There are projects I would love to do, involving my illustrations of Belfast. I would love to produce a range of prints or garments that bring my uni work and business together. At the same time I want to develop a career within the film industry in costume design and explore all the career avenues open to me. I'd even love to get some work experience in education - I particularly enjoyed volunteering for Unique's Children's Workshops and I'd love to show to schools and the younger generations that there is a future in choosing to do art and design, something my schools never encouraged me in.