Hello my name is Anthony Cooley. I am a 26-year-old artist from Derry, Northern Ireland who works mainly in the area of illustration but also likes to dabble in other areas such as animation and concept art.
Tell us a bit about your background…Since I was very young, art has always been in my blood. My grandfather was a very talented artist himself so I believe it was him who passed on his artistic flare to myself. Growing up, drawing was always my favorite pastime and I put a lot of time into it throughout my school years. I had submitted work to various art competitions during this time and had success with these as I grew up. After school I enrolled in the North West Institute for my foundation degree in art, where I feel I had the best 2 years of my educational life. It was such a blast studying what I loved for a change. After that I attended the University of Ulster (Magee, Derry) for the next 3 years of my life studying design and communication and further nurturing my artistic skills. I emerged from University a few years back with a first class honours degree in design feeling empowered and ready to set the world alight with my artistic skills.
What has inspired your work? Hmmm… what inspires me?… Well actually a lot inspires me in creating my illustrations. I take great inspiration from other artists who are doing the same thing. I guess I kind of feed off of other artists’ enthusiasm for their work and apply such enthusiasm to my own pieces. It’s a big world out there and there are always a lot of positive things happening in the world of art. Other things that inspire me would be music, computer games, film, nature… well pretty much anything to be honest. I often find that when I am at my most uninspired, inspiration can hit like a lightning bolt out of the blue! It might be a word, a noise, a smell, anything. Just the other day I noticed a splash of paint on a wall that had some really interesting shapes to it. Right away the shapes came to life and I started to see characters and scenery within it. I think if one possesses a creative mind they see things most other people don’t notice in every day life. Artists whose work I really like at the moment are graffiti artist Alex Pardee and children’s book author/illustrator Oliver Jeffers who I had the pleasure of meeting recently in London where I took part in a book reading for the release of his book “ Up and Down.”
Where do you work from? …I basically do all of my work at the moment in a small studio I have set up from home. The walls are plastered with imagery that inspires me as I work. Currently I work mainly with digital illustration but hope to expand my studio in time to accommodate fine art paintings and more elaborate pieces.
What are your must have tools / items?….Pen, paper, and a big ol’ mug of tea! 😉
What is your greatest achievement to date?…I have done quite a bit in the past few years in regards to my career. Most recently I am currently working on a children’s picture book that I have written and illustrated. I am hoping to complete it in the next few months where I will then pursue representation and hopefully publication. I’d have to say my biggest achievement to date came in September 2010 when animal rights activists PETA contacted me asking if I would exhibit one of my pieces titled, “ Welcome to the circus ” in their 30th anniversary gala. The event was held in Los Angeles on Sunset Boulevard and my piece went for $1,000, with proceeds going towards the charity. It was quite a milestone in my career, and it made me feel proud to help out such a prestigious charity.
….and your plans for the future?…To the future and beyond is what I say! I can’t wait to see where the next few years will take me. I’m always striving for bigger and greater things, so hopefully my book aspirations work out as I intend to write many more. If all goes my way, I’ ll be looking into developing possibly a cartoon series based on the book and hopefully much more! Watch this space!
Anthony Cooley Illustration on Facebook
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