Ciara, who works under the name Ciaraíoch, is an artist living in Kerry who specialises in illustration and cartoon work. Ciara also works with printmaking, sculpture, and craftwork that she “foists upon unsuspecting friends and family as politely accepted but suspiciously regarded gifts”. Ciara spoke to The Jumble about creating art with a message of social justice and the recent lock down.
I’d describe my art as a mix of the silly and the serious, with a splash of history, mythology, and wildlife.
For cartoon work, I’m inspired by anything that stokes my own emotions, particularly issues around social justice and feminism. For illustration work, inspiration comes from a mix of interesting people from history and mythology, and the landscape and wildlife that I’m lucky to be surrounded by. And often it’s just seeing other people make cool things and wanting to have a go, too – I’ll try pretty much anything.
It’s not unique to my own work, but I like to try and find something funny to highlight the serious.
“Most of my cartoon work is to do with social justice issues in Ireland, and I try to use them to inform with whatever bit of information I’ve learned from others, as well as to draw attention to issues I think are important.”
The illustration work is usually of people I personally find interesting or inspiring, and I’m often drawn to people who perhaps haven’t had the same level of recognition or fame as others.
I think the lock down has improved my ability to create, purely because I’ve had more time to read and learn and find things that make me want to put pencil to paper. It’s an escape from reality, even for a small while.
When it comes to the local art scene, I’m not personally involved, but in Tralee, the nearest town to me, the art scene always seems very inclusive and welcoming to everyone. There’s no sense of snobbery or exclusivity about it, and that’s the way it should be. There’s room for everyone.