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Beach Meets: Fuchsia Macaree

A steady stream of really strong illustrators have been flowing out of Dublin’s NCAD: buoyed by a splendid teaching staff and great facilities. Woah, that really sounds like an ad…

One of our favourites is Fuchsia Macaree, whose studio – bang in the middle of Dublin, right on the Liffey – has been knocking out really strong work for a diverse range of brands: a lot of whom are Irish. It’s exciting to see a strong market for illustration over there.

Fuchsia’s work is colourful and cheery, without being too cutesy, and a subtle, dark sense of humour. On a recent trip to Dublin, we popped by her studio for a cup of tea and a chat

Hey Fuchsia! How’s it going?

Good thanks! I haven’t messed up 2019 yet so the future is bright.

Couldn’t help noticing you’d illustrated a book called ‘The Great Irish Weather Book’! Looks great, tell us a bit about it! 

I made it over a few months last year with Irish meteorologist Joanna Donnelly and the publisher Gill Books. It’s my first children’s book and I’m really proud of it. It’s aimed at kids aged 7+ but I learned loads of science while I was making it. It’s a treat to make something that will hopefully have a long lifespan and that people will spend some time with.

You’ve been working for lots of clients – many, I’d noted – were Irish clients: Aer Lingus, Irish Times etc – how is it getting work as an illustrator on the Emerald Isle (Convince us to move over!). A lot of people seem to be thriving over there as illustrators atm, which is ace…

I’d say three-quarters of my work comes from Ireland and the rest is from Europe and the US. Irish companies are seeing the value of illustration more and more now, which is great. It also means that you get to work in loads of different areas. I’m a devil for saying yes to nearly every job so today I’m designing an embroidered patch for one client, editorial illustrations for another and some poster sketches for a third. Also in general Ireland is very good and it’s so much fun to live here and everyone’s really nice and more people should move here.

Who are your favourite illustrators working in Ireland at the moment?

OK here’s an all-gals edition: 

Giovana Medeiros – really charming drawings, with lovely fluid movement and warm colours that feel like a hug.

Sarah Bowie – hilarious overheard conversations on public transport. She can express so much about someone with a few strokes of a pen and it blows my mind.

Sally Caulwell – beautiful simple botanical illustrations. I have her Burren Botanicals print above my fireplace at home and I love it. Also, she made Christmas stamps for An Post this year and they made me feel all sorts of fuzzy nostalgic feelings.

Give us your top 5 hangouts in Dublin, for a weekend visitor!

If you can get your hands on a bike, go on a Sunday cycle to The Strawberry Hall in Strawberry Beds for a pint and some crisps. Go through the Phoenix Park to look at some deer, then cycle along a winding road by the River Liffey into the Strawberry Beds. The pub feels like being in the full-on countryside except there’s a motorway on stilts above your head and you’re only a short wobbly cycle home.

A sea swim at the Vico in Dalkey. It ticks every box – you get to look into millionaire’s houses on the way, it’s the most scenic swimming spot in Dublin, there’s often nice dogs there, and you have to step around old men in the nip to get to the sea. 

I went to the tenement museum, 14 Henrietta St, a few weeks ago, and it brings you through the life of a Georgian house from its glam 18th-century original use to the grim tenement days. When I was there learned that at the start of the 20th century there was one toilet for over 100 people and a man came twice a week to flush it. Cool!

The Print Museum often have gorgeous exhibitions that mix social history, graphic design and printmaking. There’s a lovely cafe attached to it too. The Science Gallery is well worth a visit too, lots of interesting and interactive exhibitions, and the shop also has loads of nice designy bits. 

Sounds smashing, thanks Fuchsia!

Go snap up this sensational tote bag by Fuchsia before you do anything else, ever.