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#TheEmployable Artist in Residence #Artist No 1. Anthony Cooley

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.

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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!

Useful links;
Anthony Cooley Illustration on Facebook

Anthony Cooley on Twitter

Email; anthonycff@hotmail.com

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5 Responses to “#TheEmployable Artist in Residence #Artist No 1. Anthony Cooley”

  1. Looking forward to see the children’s picture book! The Great Balloon Journey looks fantastic, is this the book you are working on or is this one published? Your drawings are great, they are so different from what you usually see. Good luck with it all! [Saze, entrepreneur & Mum of 3 :-)]

    Posted by Saze | February 7, 2012, 9:11 am
    • Hi there Saze – I will forward your comments over to Anthony as I know he will appreciate the kind comments

      Posted by theemployable | February 7, 2012, 11:42 am
    • hello saze! thanks so much for your wonderful comments on my work! i’m actually working on a new book based on the character ” Bear ” that i have created. About half way through now, but keep your eyes and ears peeled for news on it! No publishing deals as of yet but i’m hoping this one will be the clincher! ; ) cross your fingers and toes for me!



      Posted by anthony cooley | February 7, 2012, 4:54 pm
      • Good luck! Just an idea, have you ever tried to test drive your books (try with a local school..offer them a little thank you note on your book for example)? so when presenting them to any publisher this might give it this little push you might need.
        Fingers crossed!

        Posted by Saze | February 7, 2012, 6:15 pm


  1. […] To kick things off we are happy to introduce Artist #No1 – Anthony Cooley – Please suppo… […]

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