Some Character - Niall O'Lochlainn
Illustrator, Street Artist and Art Teacher to-be Niall O’Lochlainn discusses his creative characters, the world of full-time art, and his ambitions for the future.
Niall O’Lochlainn has a unique style. His characters evoke faces we’ve all seen on the streets of Dublin, with their scruffed up grimey grizzled look and the little details, like a burnt out cigarette hanging from a lip or beanie pulled tight against the cold. Niall has worked with many organizations and artists in the street art and graffiti scene including his long-time collaborator Shane Ha, well known graff writer Vents, and mural for SUBSET at their Grey Area Exhibition II. Niall shared with us his perspective on his artwork and ambitions for the future, check it out:
I’m Niall O’Lochlainn - Illustrator / Character Painter / Art Teacher to be.
I’ve been into art since the start. It was never something I wasn't doing as a past time. In some ways I’d expect to be better at what I do considering how much drawing I did as a kid/teen.
The art I make is set in the area of illustration with the inspiration mainly drawn from a mix of music and other illustrations. If I had to break it down, I’d say the main ingredients of my inspiration are hip hop, rap, graffiti illustration and ‘street culture’ (if that doesn’t make it sound too square).
I find the times I really work best is when there’s nothing on my mind and I’m listening to music. If the moods good you'll definitely see it reflected in the work, like if I’m listening to Wiki / Ratking EP, the characters will look grimey, pissed off and kinda scruffy, but if I was listening to something like King Krule the faces will look a little lost, maybe let down…and kinda scruffy.
I’m currently studying to be a secondary school art teacher, which is a nightmare of a course to get through but getting to work with kids and art is a good daily activity. It’s a job that leaves me time to paint on the side without having to do it for money. I gave it a go trying to be a full-time artist for a year or two, but the hustle wasn't for me. You've got to be good at putting up with cold studios, chasing payments and dealing with clients demands, and to be honest, none of that was for me.
Going forward, I’ve some exciting tricks on the way. I’m meeting with the lads from High Rollers about potentially doing some merch together, so I’m excited by the idea of that. I don’t skate, but I like what they're about, I’ve a lot of time for anyone pushing any street culture like that in Dublin. So hopefully we can make that work.
Other than that, it’s getting out to paint that’s on my mind. I’ve been hibernating the last while but I had a lot of fun painting my piece for Grey Area II so the plan is to take time for similar pieces like that. Shane Ha, who I paint with a lot, is pushing to do pieces with strong backgrounds and foregrounds, so the plan is to join him in that and step it up for 2019.
Have a gander at Niall’s art in the gallery below. There are some cracking pieces in there. For more updates on his latest projects, follow him on Instagram here.