Tag Archives: Art

I’m Speechless! Thank You!

This week I was linked to these two amazing drawings by two wonderfully talented women.

The artists are Marissa & Emma. I’d like to thank them for taking the time to draw my picture and I urge you to check out both of their work, they are unbelievably talented artists.



Ireland’s Up & Coming Fashion Illustrator, Holly Shortall!

This week I caught up with a woman whom I consider to one of the biggest rising stars in the Irish Fashion Industry, Holly Shortall. Holly is a talented freelance fashion illustrator from Dublin, with her own unique style and passion for her art. Her art work features monthly in Xpose Magazine and that is just the beginning for Holly. Her talent is undeniable, she’s going to go a long, long way!

Hi Holly! Tell us a bit about yourself and your work.

Hi! Well i’m almost 25 (don’t remind me!) and I have been drawing for the best part of my whole life. It was only in mid 2013 that I decided it was now or never with regards to trying to build up a profile and begin a career with fashion illustrations. I am still pinching myself at some of the amazing opportunities i’v been given, notably my live illustrating for the SS14 River Island press day and my monthly illustrations for Xpose magazine.

What sparked your passion for drawing?

Its hard to say, but I do think I’ve always been a little obsessed with celebrities. I loved Paula Yates, Gwen Stefani and Victoria Beckham from a young age. My Grannys friend May used to keep me all her magazine like Hello and Ok, and would have loved pouring over all the photos of peoples weddings and awards ceremonies!


Have you always been interested in fashion illustration or was it a natural progression for you towards that specific type of art?

Always. I guess I didnt know what avenue I could take and just presumed it was fashion design that I wanted to do. I tried it for a year but it just wasn’t for me. I’m the least mathematical person I know, I literally panic when I see numbers, so finding fashion design had a lot to do with rulers, 90 degree angles and numbers made me put up a mental block, so I found it very difficult!

You do illustrations on commission as well as for fun. Which do you prefer to do personally?

If I was being 100% honest, I love just doodling from my head and designing dresses, but I know all my followers love the celebrity illustrations, so its important I give them what they want! Its also make them more current. Like after the Brits I stayed up a little later than usual to do an illustration of Beyonce, and tweeted it to the designer who made her dress. I woke up the next day to a reply from him thanking me for my illustration and saying it was so cool!

Celebrity illustrations are what I would love to do for a weekly publication like the Sunday Times Style Magazine, another one I’ve been reading since I was small.

Your work has its own unique style. Once you see it you automatically know it’s a Holly Shortall illustration. Is your drawing style intentional or is it purely your own natural style?

Its purely my own style- since I first picked up a pencil, I have only ever drawn on female on an a4 page. I have mountains of drawings from when I was about 4 onwards. I’m so lucky in that my parents have art backgrounds and encouraged me to draw, and also kept all my early stuff.


What publications do you aspire to feature in?

The obvious one is Vogue! They’ve had illustrated covers over the years, and I can safely say that is my life goal. I do believe anything is possible if you work hard. I’m not saying I think I’m amazing, but the respose so far has exceeded what I ever thought it would, so why not have a dream?! I would like to work for a few different magazines, an Irish one, and American one and a UK one.

I really want to do stuff for a weekly publication like the Sunday Times, they have a celebrity characteristic, who signs his pictures ‘Gary’ and I’ve been obsessed with his stuff since I could open a paper. He can nail a portrait in a few lines and you know exactly who it is- I just love that and would love be doing something similar.

You draw a lot of celebrity inspired illustrations, who has been your favourite to draw so far?

I loved drawing Anna Wintour sitting on the front row, Victoria Beckham, The Olsen Twins and of course Beyonce. I really just love drawing!

How long does it take you to draw a single illustration? Can you explain the process?

It really depends and I cant give away all my secrets! But I will say ALOT of time goes into them. For example, if I am doing a commission of someone and specify an outfit featuring a pattern or print, I then have to try source that print or closest match to use when colouring in the picture. I t can be really time consuming but its so important to me that the customer adores their illustration, its a one off unique gift and when I hear people say ‘Wow I love it!’ it just makes me so happy!

What are your goals for 2014

I would love to continue having my work featured in different publications and keep doing my commisions for all my lovely customers. Right now I’m really just know in Dublin so I would love to branch out in Ireland and of course across to the UK is well. I’m a real homebird and don’t see myself living anywhere than here, so the absolute joy of illustration is you don’t have to go anywhere else to do it!





Marianna Harutunian Interview

Marianna Harutunian is one of the worlds most sought after jewelry designers. Her successful career is a testament to her hard work and creativity. She has created designs that have been worn by some of the most famous people on the planet. Her impressive client list includes Lady Gaga, Cher, Nicki Minaj, P!nk and Justin Bieber, just to name a few! Her creations have also been featured on many successful t.v shows like True Blood, Pretty Little Liars and Gossip Girl. Oh and did I mention her work has been published on the pages of top fashion publications such as Vogue Hommes Japan and V magazine.

I think it is safe to say that this woman is a force to be reckoned with.

I had the chance to chat with this amazing lady and find out what goes on inside the creative mind of the Martha Stewart of accessories!

Hi Marianna! Thanks for taking the time to speak with me today. Your story is almost like a Cinderella story, it even involved a slipper! A pair of embellished slippers, which belonged to your Mother. These slippers are what sparked your interest in beading & jewelry making. What was it that attracted you to want to create embellished and beaded designs specifically?

Marianna: I have always loved to create pieces that make people wonder. I guess my thrill is seeing people’s faces when they look at my work.

Your parents seemed very nurturing of your talent. I read that your Father closed the deal on your very first business order, after you created your first necklace. Being an entrepreneur, you have had a lot of success with your designs and have a lot of celebrity clients. Was it a fluid journey to success or did experience any closed doors along the way?

My family has been so supportive and amazing throughout my journey. And yes we have struggled in many ways with sleepless nights and putting it mildly I had no time for a social life for a while. I am blessed to have met amazing people who have also helped me along the way as well.

You create a lot of custom designs, which are unique to each client and are made with beautiful precision. So far, what has been the most challenging piece that you have created?

My first couture body piece was the most challenging and exciting. I was asked to make a body piece for singer PINK for her ‘U+Ur hand’ music video. The challenge was they needed it in 4 days. Well excited as I was I guess I didn’t think twice and literally didn’t sleep much for 4 days and nights and I made it happen. Was very excited to go to Pink’s home for the fitting and I was also invited for the taping of the video.

Can you tell us who was your first major client and what piece was it that they wore or had custom made?

My first major client was for fashion designer Bob Mackie. I would make the pieces that he incorporated in his collection for Cher, Diana Ross, and others. Most of the bling you see on Chers costumes are the pieces that I made.

My favourite piece by you is the Jesus Thorn Crown, which was featured in Lady Gaga’s video and in Vogue Hommes Japan. Several of your pieces have been featured many famous music videos.

Do you usually commission the pieces specifically for the music videos or are they creations you made for your shop that caught the interest of certain celebrities?

The Thorn crown is also one of my favourites. What usually happens is a stylist might catch my work on a celebrity and they will find me and let me know what they are looking for. Most of the time they are looking for original pieces so I am used to creating in such short notice. I love a challenge.

I love that you make jewelry to make people feel glamorous and happy when they are wearing your designs. How important do you think accessorizing is when putting together a outfit/look?

Well I think your accessories is what makes your outfit. I have noticed with my clients that they come to pick out their jewelry before they pick out what outfit they will be wearing. I love the stories I hear when women or men get so much attention by wearing my pieces. This lets me know I’m doing something right.

Your designs are constantly evolving and are so beautifully extravagant. Being an artist, I am sure you experience “idea droughts” every now and then. What do you do to keep yourself inspired and keep ideas flowing?

My brain is always overflowing with ideas. My father says I’m the Martha Stewart of accessories. I can look at any object and want to make it some form of accessory. I don’t look at my competitors or what other designers are doing. I’m usually in my own world just creating unique pieces for everyone’s taste.

Finally, what can we expect to see from you in the future? 

I’m hoping to open up more stores in the US and would love to see my pieces in chain stores. I would also like to do more charity work. I’m planning on visiting Childrens Hospital before the holidays and give out toys and jewelry to those cuties.

Marianna’s wonderful designs are available to purchase on her etsy page.

You can also find out more about her on ilovemariannas.com


ALFAPARF Milano Fantastic Hairdresser Awards 2013

This weekend I attended the ALFAPARF Milano Fantastic Hairdresser Awards 2013 in Silver Springs Moran Hotel, Co.Cork. This is the fourth year in a row the competition has been open to Ireland’s leading and up and coming hair stylists, with a wide range of creative categories such as Fantastic Stylist, Fantastic Colourist, Fantastic Salon etc. The Fantastic Fantasy Hair Stylist Award was won by my friend & MoHH student, Glen Cullen on the night. His model Katie Brill wore the piece entitled “Mystique” with beautiful poise and the final looked breath taking.

The competition was intense and there was so many beautiful looks created on the day. My favorite category by far has to be the Fantasy category, it is really inspirational to see the creative visions of so many talented stylists. I decided to document the preparation at the start of the day, right through to the final judging.


Glen preparing his model for the competition. (Above)

The competitors where given time to fine tune and prepare their look for the final judging in the convention center. The scene was very hectic and electric with energy. The intensity in the room was undeniable. Each stylist was carefully putting together their creative vision with perfect precision and passion. It was inspiring!

Glen’s mood board for the final look. (Below) 







After the final looks where prepared, the stylists lead their models onto the judging floor. The impressive judging panel included, Richard Ashforth, International Creative Director of SACO, Desmond Murray, award-winning stylist and photographer, Desmond Murray Photography; Vivica Davie, Colour director for ALFAPARF Milano; Roberta Artó, ALFAPARF Milano Research & Development Technician and Fiona Connolly, Manager of the Year winner at the British Hairdressing Business Awards.

















After the judging had taken place, the models posed for some pictures.



Glen’s model Katie wears a stunning dress created by Luke Keating (above)







Model’s Rachel, Laura & Katie stroke a fierce pose! (below)


After the day’s competition was complete, there was a special show which was presented my Off The Rails presenter Brendan Courtney, the show showcases innovative and on trend hair styles for this season, the show had everything, fashion, style, dancing & even some on stage hair cuts! Which where demonstrated by the talented Alan Keville.





After the show was over it was on to the most awaited part of the evening, the awards!


The awards ceremony was full of thrills and screams! Each winner was as deserving as the next and after the awards where handed out, each stylist celebrated with their fellow competitors at the after party at one of Cork’s top night clubs, The Bodega.


I had a really enjoyable experience at The Fantastic Hairdresser awards, the creativity and high energy really inspired me. The entire event was entertaining and visually stunning. The stylists showed incredible skill and innovation through their designs and the competition pieces where a testament to how far Irish Hairdressing has come along in the last few years, the pieces where on trend, unique and show stopping.

Until next year, happy hairdressing! ; )


The “Girls with Tattoos” Taboo

Earlier this week I was listening to a radio show and they where discussing women with tattoos. Most people on the show were calling in to say that they found the thought of women with tattoos on their bodies as unattractive. This radio conversation really got me thinking about the topic of women with body art/body modifications and why it is stil a taboo. I wanted to start a discussion of my own about it. Why do people find it so offensive that some women choose to modify their bodies? Some people claim that “it’s not lady like” or “It’s not feminine” etc. I am not just talking about men, there is definitely some girl on girl body shaming in regards to this topic also. It really is a case of judging a book by it’s cover

A personal story I can tell in relation to this topic is one day I was having a conversation with a man who I had known for quite some time through friends, during the conversation he caught sight of my left arm and saw my tattoo on my wrist, his eyes widened in shock and he exclaimed “Is that a tattoo? YOU TRAMP!”. Well, my jaw almost fell off it’s hinges in shock. I couldn’t believe that some one would have the nerve to say such a thing to me purely because I had a tattoo on my wrist? Needless to say I replied I a very calm “Fuck You” in reply! Even though this post is based mostly on women with tattoos, I know plenty of men who have received verbal abuse as well for their body art, I was once told by a friend that a girl in a night club told him he was “disgusting” for being heavily inked. I have also seen people cringe at pictures of heavily inked girls saying “That’s just too much, she looks horrible. Why did she have to ruin her body, she’s actually pretty.” I am paraphrasing but you get the idea.


World famous tattoo artist Kat Von D did a photo shoot promote her fragrance line and tattoo concealer at Sephora, where she had a full body make up cover up. I thought this picture was really interesting because it shows that she is beautiful in each photo, tattoos or no tattoos and I think that is important for people to remember that it’s our body & it’s our choice to modify or add whatever we like to it.

I wanted to see the flip side of this and talk to people who actually ARE attracted to women with tattoos. A lovely story that I would like to share with you all is from two friends from mine Rhys & Joanne. Joanne is heavily tattooed and Rhys told me when he first saw Joanne, it was that her body art was what first caught his eye. “The thing that first attracted me to Joanne was her tattoo’s, in fact the first thing I said to her was “I love your tattoo’s!”. 

I asked Rhys what he thought of people who judge Joanne based on her ink and he stated, “I think they need to take a good look at the world around them and realise we live in a society filled with pierced and tattooed people of all shapes and sizes.” 

Joanne however has experienced prejudice for her body art over the years.“I get a lot of funny looks!! It was much worse when my children where younger. People also assume because I’ve lots of ink that I smoke, drink and take drugs so I can’t possibly be a good mother! For me ink was an escape. I couldn’t get out of my body, so I changed it to one I love”, say’s Joanne.

In order to understand more on the topic of the “Girls with Tattoo’s Taboo” I interviewed Aine, shop manager & piercer at A.W.O.L Tattoos & Piercings in Galway City, who is heavily tattooed & has great philosophy on the entire matter:

“I think how you carry yourself and how you approach situations has as much to do with it as your tattoos do. I never cover them up or feel in anyway apologetic for having them. I know they do not affect my ability to do a job, rent a house etc and I make that known to whom ever I am dealing with I’m sure there are heavily tattooed women out there who have been on the receiving end of some negativity but I find if you are friendly and approachable then people you interact with will be also.”

Aine got her first tattoo at age sixteen of a Celtic Knot on her shoulder. “The first time I entered a tattoo shop I was terrified, I nearly fainted after getting it, I got all weak and my body went cold and it was all a bit much. My friend got an awful dolphin on her hip. We thought we were SO cool!”

Her love of tattoos started when she was about 11 years old,  “I started collecting anything I could find that had tattoo style design on it and I became obsessed with tank girl and other alternative cartoon characters.”

Aine’s body is covered with beautiful art work, including roses on her hands, a sugar skull on her chest, a sacred heart on her neck and many other eye catching designs.

She say’s, “Everyone I come in to contact with usually has some questions and queries but its more their own fascination or curiosity as opposed to prejudice. If someone did say something horrible or treat me differently because of my tattoos it would not bother me in the slightest. I would actually pity them for having such narrow minds

I think it is important to remember that at the end of the day women, tattoo’s or no tattoo’s are all individuals. Who have a right to express themselves and enjoy their bodies. I think the saying “My body is my temple” really applies here, and hey, some of us like to decorate our temples 😉



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