Patrick Horan

Design specialist and animator whose career developed through a love for a 'personal, colourful style'

Patrick Horan

Design specialist and animator Patrick Horan

Born and raised just outside Limerick City, in the village of Clonlara, I went to Parteen NS before attending St Munchin’s Secondary School.

Here, I got massive encouragement from my art teacher, Marie Barry, who always told me to focus on my creativity day-in, day-out. It was here that I decided for certain that I wanted to build a career around art and design. Then, in March 2012, I entered the ‘Doodle 4 Google’ competition in high hopes of having my artwork displayed to millions on Google’s homepage. It was the first time that I had created a piece of graphic design. My entry entitled; ‘To Turn Back Time’, was a mashup of hand drawn and digital elements, which led me to dive into the realm of illustration, typography, and brand identity design. Later, this work was to become my calling card for entry into Limerick School of Art and Design (LSAD).

There is a certain level of creativity that runs through both sides of my family.

My aunt, Bridie, for example is a very talented painter and theatre actress, while a few of my brothers and sisters are quite gifted, when it comes to drawing. They went on to pursue different careers later on in life, though. By comparison, I knew that I was an artist at heart, for as long as I can possibly remember. Indeed, the encouragement that I received from family and friends really pushed me to go and do great things.

During my first year at LSAD I tried out both fine art and design courses before coming to the realization that ‘Visual Communications’ was the right choice for me.

This involved the study of graphic design, which also pays particular attention to the development of practical design skills, such as concept development. Advertising, animation, motion design, typography, packaging, and photography, became new areas of employment to choose from. Eamon Spelman was an outstanding tutor who always encouraged me to push my work further and not to be afraid to take risks. Meanwhile, course tutors, such as Adrian Byrne, Clodagh Twomey, and Joe Lane, really helped to steer my design work in a new direction in preparation for the ‘real world’. Finally, Tamlyn Young constantly helped me to develop deeper insights into photography and film.

LSAD encourages participation in competitions.

My commemorative piece, ‘Bones of The Somme’, was awarded membership of the International Society of Typographic Designers. It was held in Pentagram Studios in Notting Hill, London. As my final year came to a close, I presented print and screen media work in my ‘FAN/STERIA’ project, which was also part of the ‘Decode’ Degree Show. This was created to inform those who are interested in pop music about the behavior of their loyal fans and followers. Subsequently,, my animation piece entitled, ‘Towards an Educational (R) Evolution’, presented to the Royal Society for the Arts (RSA), in London, was awarded overall winner of the international Student Design Awards (2016). That same animation was then exhibited and awarded a Commendation in the IDI Student Awards. These milestones helped to pave my way towards a career as a Junior Designer, for Dynamo Creative Agency, with roles in the Today FM and FBD Insurance rebrand projects. Indeed, I will soon start a new journey as a Design Specialist for the new Deloitte Digital Studio based in Dublin.

My talent for design came directly from a love of cartoons and playful colours, along with years of watching my older brothers play gruesome story-telling video games, at a very young age.

My style has been described as minimalist, and usually lets the characters (or typography) tell the story through simple applications. Meanwhile, I continue to be inspired by things that I see and find as I stroll around the city, (for example, handmade posters, flyers for exhibitions, and painted signs). This inspiration can alter for certain projects though, depending on what I am looking out for. As an aspiring digital and motion designer, I find music videos, cartoons, video games and interactive websites, to be very intriguing, while telling their own unique story. I try to apply my own narrative, however, be it serious or playful, accompanied throughout by my own personal, colourful style.

Being an artist, or a designer, should come naturally over time, rather than being something that you force yourself to become.

It means waking-up in the morning and being excited about working on a project, not just feeling like it’s a task. Personally, I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for a great college education. I learned so much more from listening to, and working with, others, living in the type of environment that really pushed my skills to the limit.

Right now is ‘prime time’ if you want to be an artist, or a designer, especially in this hi-tech world.

Be creative, promote yourself online and connect with people globally, through social media platforms like; Twitter and Instagram. I don’t think that many artists, or designers, struggle in the current economic climate. It is all about the need to make it somewhere that drives you forward and that really pushes you to get your name out there, through small or large scale projects. Limerick, today, has an abundance of start-ups such as the Fab-Lab studio, along with Piquant and Ormston House. These cater for people with a wide range of creative interests and who want to make a name for themselves. Crucially, we can all work together to make amazing things for our creative community!

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