When did you set up your business and why?
Growing up, I always loved drawing, painting and making things, so it was a natural progression to work as an artist.
I studied fine art at college and graduated in 2007. A year later, I joined Bridge Street Studios in Dundalk. This continues to be a great base for my business.
Over the years, I have been working away on paintings and exploring different ideas. I took part in lots of exhibitions and went on residencies.
Around 2013, I began to develop some work into products that I could sell in shops, including prints, cards and brooches.
Can you explain your process?
My process starts with daydreaming about ideas or something that catches my eye. I am always trying to capture an image from my mind.
I take inspiration from animals, nature, colours, patterns, sacred art, mysticism, surrealism and fairy tales.
I paint with acrylics or watercolours on canvass, MDF or paper, depending on the picture.
What is your best seller?
'Foxwood' print is a best seller. I actually painted it 13 years ago and it continues to be popular. It’s a timeless scene of a fox and owl in the woods that has a magical feeling to it.
My brooches always sell well too, particularly the badger, cat, hare and fox. I see them as teeny pieces of art that you can wear and they come in handy as small gifts.
In recent years, one project I did was painting a small picture every day for 100 days.
It was a great discipline, as it pushed me out of my comfort zone. It made me become more confident about working quicker.
They ended up being a mix of themes from teacups to seals to local landscapes. I really enjoyed the flow.
It was interesting to see which kinds of paintings sold best from the bunch. Customers really loved the landscapes.
What is it about your business that brings you joy?
It’s a wonderful feeling that I get to do something that I love and, in turn, people connect with my work. I love that what I do is imaginative and about an inner journey and learning.
What are your hopes for 2023?
I hope to paint as much as possible, as that’s what makes me happiest!
I’m also looking forward to taking part in Louth Craftmark’s exhibition Greater Than > in The Basement Gallery, An Táin Arts Centre, Dundalk.
It runs from Thursday 30 March until Saturday 15 April. We’re a collective of artists, craftspeople and designers based in the northeast.
My painting in the show is 'Forecast Foretold', a hinged triptych that opens and closes. It’s inspired by almanac books and nature.
What advice would you give to another start-up business?
Believe in yourself, trust your intuition and put the work in.
Join collectives and groups to build up a community of like-minded people around you.
Invest in learning and training. I’ve attended great courses and mentoring with the Local Enterprise Office and Visual Artists Ireland.
The Biscuit Factory is brilliant too - it’s an online business school for creatives run by Tara Prendergast.
For further information, visit www.orlabarry.com and www.louthcraftmark.com.