Artist Profile: Caolan Teague

Self Portrait for The New Normal Zine

Caolan Teague is a final year Graphic Design and Illustration Student at Belfast School of Art. Apart from drawing, Caolan’s main hobbies are playing guitar, listening to vinyl records, and eating pizza. Caolan chatted to The Jumble Magazine about finding inspiration, collaborative projects, and the Belfast arts scene.

My art takes on a lot of different styles, so I find it difficult to describe it with one sentence, but I am trying to narrow it down to a more consistent, overall style. That said, I find the things I keep consistent are strong and limited colour palettes, varying weight and textures in my line work, and interesting subjects. 

Inspiration for drawing comes from different sources in different ways. Depending on the mood I’m in, I can think of little ideas for spot illustrations off the top of my head and get to creating. However, when completing bigger projects I tend to do more sketchbook ideas and research using tools such as social media and books for references and influence. Recently, I’ve been really into works on instagram by @sonnydraws, @flesh.png, Livia Fălcaru and Rupert Gruber. I enjoy looking at other artists’ colour palettes and subjects, using these as part of the influence for what I create. My university work has recently been influenced by more serious themes such as climate change and the environmental effects, as well as the mental strain climate change can cause to some people. 

Page from Zine project illustrating environmental impacts in Japan 

I feel like the subjects I choose are influenced by my own personal interests, such as music and the environment. My line work seems to set my work apart from others in that it tends to be a little wiggly and overlapping, giving it a unique appearance compared to more crisp clean lines seen in other illustrations. Along with this, I tend to use textures along with colour to give my artwork a bit more life as opposed to using flat blocks of colour. 

Before lock down I was in the middle of my second semester at university. When that was cut short I had to adapt my work so I could complete my projects at home. This involved a complete change in style and direction which really paid off in the end. I took part in creating a lockdown zine “The New Normal” which involved myself and several of my classmates and was curated by Elle McGreevy. I feel this collaborative project helped kickstart a chain of drawings which I created more for enjoyment than necessity as with my university work. Since then I’ve been trying to get ideas out on paper as soon as they come to me and try to develop them into fun little illustrations. 

The art scene in Belfast is really buzzing at the moment, it’s great to see so many different types of creativity emerging. I’m a big fan of street art and I feel like the city has some excellent pieces that really showcase the talent we have living here. Along with art, music is also a big part of my life so going to local band gigs has a really good atmosphere. I follow several local artists such as Fiona McDonnell and Cathal Duane who are constantly putting out amazing illustrations, which I love, as it makes me aspire to be creative and be playful with my work.

 You can check out more of Caolan’s work on Instagram and on https://caolanteague.com/

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