Balti Meets: Artist Niall O'Lochlainn
Having worked with companies such as Airbnb, The National Lottery and SBG, Dublin native Niall O'Lochlainn has gained serious notoriety within the Irish art scene, whilst also creating a distinctive style for himself along the way. We recently had the pleasure of asking Niall a few questions about his inspirations within Dublin, the most memorable project he's worked on thus far and also the creation of his online store (which is to launch very soon). Check the Q+A below along with some of Niall's incredible work.
The Balti Club: Hey Niall, how are things? Last Saturday you took part in an art battle named ‘Life Styles’ against fellow artist Shane Ha. For those unfamiliar with ‘Life Styles’, what exactly is it?
Niall: Things are good! Last Saturday saw the first of 'Life Styles', which was a live Illustration battle where I went head to head with Shane Ha. We had 100 minutes, an 8x8ft wall, and a limited colour palette to create a piece each. Shane came out the winner but it was an amazing day and hopefully the first of a series of battles.
The Balti Club: Had you studied Art during school and college or was it something that you just grew up doing?
Niall: I’ve been drawing since day one, I was fortunate enough to have a teacher in Primary that taught ‘cartooning classes’ after school. I have a degree in Product Design but I think I owe a huge percentage of my development to the taking of those classes. It was at the same time Gorillaz came about who's style was really influential!
The Balti Club: You recently had some of your work for sale at the ‘Show and Tell’ Christmas Design Fair in Dublin. Do you have any plans to start selling you work off of your website?
Niall: Ye, I’ve had a few distractions but I hope to have the store online after this weekend with some prints and totes. I’ll also have t-shirts for sale in the new year so stay tuned.
The Balti Club: You’ve worked with some notable brands over the years. To date, what’s been your most memorable project?
Niall: Personally the most memorable was probably a poster I did for ‘Blue Moon Lost Wednesdays’ in the RHA. It was the first real commission I got that I stood proud beside. It got a good response amongst the right people and it gave me a boost that got me out of a bit of a creative block I had for a few weeks back then.
The Balti Club: Following on from the previous question, are there any brands in particular that you would like to work with in the future?
Niall: Carhartt, The Grifters and Alis are three brands I’m determined to get involved with long term but for now I’m looking to get involved with more local publications like District Magazine and This Greedy Pig. I really like what they're about.
The Balti Club: Favourite Artist?
Niall: Aryz, check him out if you haven’t already!
The Balti Club: Have you any projects that you are working on at the moment?
Niall: Ive some projects I’m working on with different Irish Hip Hop artists which is exactly what I want to be doing. I plan on doing a solo show in spring but sometimes these things fall apart so I don't want to say too much yet.
The Balti Club: Pens and paper or spray paint and concrete?
Niall: Give me a nice biro and and an a4 sheet and I’m yours.
The Balti Club: In terms of your characters and illustrations, is there any particular area where you draw your inspiration from? (be that a city, a particular memory, or a particular time period)
Niall: In short, a lot of my inspiration comes from graffiti, hip hop and urban culture. I've never been able to make music or write graffiti so I think what i make is a visual representation of that.
The Balti Club: New York or London?
Niall: New York is producing some pretty amazing artists and musicians right now. I’d love to go work with Letterracer NY on some projects.
The Balti Club: Winter or Summer?
Niall: Aw man Summer! This cold nonsense gets old quick!
The Balti Club: Favorite medium to work with, and why?
Niall: I love doing black ink drawings on paper. They are slow to produce, you've so much control over the materials and process which can often be lost when it comes to printing or digital reproduction. You know your blacks are going to be black and you can choose what ever surfaces and paper weights and textures to create on. It can be a bit disheartening when a piece has to be compensated because of a printers limitations.
The Balti Club: We are lucky enough to live in a city that’s always had a strong cultural and artistic heritage. Can you ever think of a time that growing up in this city would have directly influenced your work?
Niall: Thats a pretty Interesting question, Hip hop and graff didn't exist until the 70’s and they’re what Inspires me the most. Dublins at a pretty healthy state in terms of both cultures. If anything, Dublin’s recently produced a load of creatives in their early 20’s that are really inspiring to be around right now. People like Soft Boy Records, 1815, District magazine, are bringing new platforms to Dublin which haven't existed yet.
The Balti Club: Night in or night out?
Niall: Quiet nights out, i’m getting old.
The Balti Club: Thank's a lot Niall for taking the time to do this Q+A with The Balti Club. We've no doubt that theres big things to come for you in the New Year and we look forward to seeing your future projects!
You can keep up to date on Nialls work via his instagram link below.
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