The Arts Interview: Tatsiana Coquerel

The Arts Interview-Tatsiana Coquerel
Born and raised in Belarus, my childhood was heavily influenced by books, music and art.

Born and raised in Belarus, my childhood was heavily influenced by books, music and art.

After secondary school I studied Finance, but my dream was always to be a fashion designer and an illustrator. Maybe this was because my father, Konstantin, was a very artistic person who encouraged me to pursue a career as an artist. His own career was as an engineer but he had several hobbies. For example, he loved taking black and white photographs which surrounded my childhood. He also, created sculptural art from pieces of recycled metal.

Belarus in the 1990s was a place of radical, political and cultural change.

I moved to Limerick when my husband got a job here but emigration also allowed me to follow my dreams. Subsequently, I completed a course in Fashion Design at Limerick College of Further Education. I am really grateful to all the teachers there, because they helped me to create a really good portfolio. This was crucial to me being accepted into Fashion Design at Limerick School of Art and Design (LSAD). Four years as a student, there, equipped me with lots of transferable skills and helped me to understand my role as an artist. The atmosphere in the college is very creative, dynamic and challenging. Since graduating, in 2013, with an Honours Degree in Fashion Design, I have worked as a costume designer with Tommy Conlon on his film ‘Play It Again Son’ as well as working in the Abbey Theatre in Dublin.

As long as I can remember I have always loved drawing and animation.

As a child, I said to my parents that one day I would draw cartoons for a living. They did not take me too seriously and brought me to music school instead, thinking that it was more practical. Although, drawing is my first love, this acquired knowledge of music has helped me a lot as an artist, being a huge source of inspiration. Today, my passion is for making Art Dolls and drawing Illustrations, which is the best means of expressing myself artistically. I make the dolls to order using natural silk, Irish wool, and French lace, utilizing a variety of software packages to generate the designs.

While Fashion Design is more business oriented, Art Dolls are created by artists regardless of the latest trends in the world of fashion.

Sometimes, these dolls can become excellent marketing tools to advertise major brands, like Chanel. Another good example of this is Christian Dior’s Printemps’ Christmas window display in Paris, where some 74 dolls are displayed, wearing little replicas of Dior’s classic creations. They are all dancing, moving, and ice-skating against the background of some really beautiful scenes. Hopefully, in future, we can do something like this with Ireland’s big fashion brand shops.

In order to be a successful artist you have to have a dream and you have to know what you are good at.

Everything starts from that dream. Indeed, if you have sufficient passion you will dedicate yourself to learning today, in order to achieve the most impossible things, tomorrow. Everybody can be an artist but not everybody listens to their sixth sense. You have to believe in yourself and be prepared to experiment, study, perfect your skills, achieve and not to be afraid to make mistakes. It is a long process and you have to face the challenges but I do in life what I am passionate about and that makes me free.

Fashion Illustration, using ink and watercolours, is my life’s passion.

François Berthoud and Mats Gustafson are illustrators whom I greatly admire. They have different styles, of course, but both were revolutionary and successfully reinvented the art form. I am, also, inspired by the work of Nick Park who created Wallace and Gromit. In fact, it is an ambition of mine to one day make a stop-motion animation film using my Art Dolls and am currently studying Advanced Multimedia and Web Development towards this end. My black and white fashion collection (2013) was inspired by the music of Italian Composer Ludovico Einaudi and the hit movie Amélie (2001) was, also, an inspiration for me artistically.

In 2014 I became a member of Wickham Street Studios.

There, I met many very talented artists, with just as many different approaches to their art. Indeed, I learnt a lot from them which has helped me to develop further along my own artistic path. For example, I was, subsequently, a semi-finalist in Dublin Institute of Technology’s (DIT) Fashion Design Awards (2012). Following that, in 2013, I was one of the finalists in the Golden Egg Fashion Innovation Awards and that same year I showed my collection during the Limerick International Fashion Design Week. Last year, I also, successfully, sold my entire stock of Art Dolls and Illustrations at the Christmas Fair, organized by the Hunt Museum.

It is not easy being an artist but I do it because I love it.

Artists, here, receive plenty of support from the Irish Government. Personally, I really appreciate all the opportunities that Ireland has given me over the past few years. However, I would encourage others to be artists, only if they really have a passion for it, and they cannot live without doing it. Being an artist is not a job or a career choice, rather it is a way of life and it is never too late to follow your dream. As an Artist I continue to embrace life with all its many different facets while using my imagination to find a silver lining in every cloud that comes along!

To find out more about Tatsiana Coquerel please see the website: For Wickham Street Studios please access:

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