Why and when did you set up your business?
It was always my dream to become an artist, but like many people I left art behind after my Leaving Certificate and pursued a degree in psychology and a career in occupational therapy.
After having my third child in 2017, I wanted to regain a sense of self, so I decided to job share and take up art again.
I started doing some painting classes and my art, my confidence and my ability grew steadily.
I went from painting for myself to completing commissions and in August 2021, after developing a body of work during the pandemic, I decided to set up Kim Gaffney Art.
Can you explain your process?
I paint what I love, which is based on nature and the countryside around me.
I grew up on a small sheep farm and my husband and I were so delighted to be able to come back and settle in the countryside to raise our young family.
I primarily paint farm animals, wild animals like hares and foxes, landscapes and floral art.
I use photos that I have taken as much as possible for inspiration for my art. I love creating a loose contemporary painting that is not a carbon copy of a photo or image, but instead has life, movement and feeling. I paint using oils and cold wax.
I realised recently that I tend to paint in a seasonal fashion, so this year my collections are based on and released in each season.
I am also reviving the renaissance method of painting tondos or circular paintings. This for me creates unique art that is seen through a lens and naturally draws the eye in.
My work is also made into limited edition prints, printed in The Copper House Gallery, and cushions that are printed in Donegal and handmade by my mother here in Meath.
I love interior design and the use of prints and cushions in all rooms to soften and add character.
What is it about your business that brings you joy?
The painting and creating for me is the centre of my happiness. It’s meditative and restorative to immerse yourself in art and so rewarding when you create work that people can identify with or feel moved by.
I love nature and my whole ethos of my artwork is bringing nature in, bringing all that’s natural around us and filling your home with it.
A clever fox in the corner of a playroom, a youthful hare nestled in a little girl’s bedroom, a curious cow or some pink peonies bringing joy and colour to a kitchen.
I also love seeing images of my work from customers and where they have placed them in their homes.
I am also surprised with how much I am enjoying the business side; I have grown my social media from scratch and built my own website without any other input. I am learning new skills every day!
What are your hopes for your business for 2022?
I would love to have an exhibition later in the year showcasing my circular art, displayed in line with the seasons.
I am just getting used to the world of social media and it is an amazing tool to connect with people and other artists, so I would love my business to continue to grow online so that I can connect with a wider audience.
I am looking forward to connecting in person with other local artists and galleries. I am also exploring a new opportunity for large wall hangings made using my original art paintings.
What is the best piece of advice you would give a start-up business?
Reach out for support and information everywhere, as starting out you can easily feel overwhelmed at times.
I have had amazing support from the local enterprise office, Visual Arts Ireland and The Biscuit Factory, which is an online mentoring group for creatives, as well as linking with other artists.
Don't be hard on yourself and be patient. Sometimes you feel you are getting nowhere and then a break comes and all the hard work pays off. Most importantly, believe in yourself!
You can find Kim's original paintings, fine art prints and cushions on her website www.kimgaffneyart.com or follow her on Facebook and Instagram @kimgaffneyart.