London 2013 - Claudine O’Sullivan

Claudine O’Sullivan

‘Tanzania’, 2013

Watercolour, ink and pencil on Khadi paper
100cm x 170cm

Exploring the origin of coffee and its links with water access in Tanzania. This portrait hopes to express the important impact of the coffee trade on the people of Tanzania in their struggle for clean drinking water and sanitation. I have also produced an accompanying illustrated booklet, further discussing the role of coffee production and the water crisis in Tanzania.
London 2013 - Claudine O’Sullivan

Claudine O’Sullivan winner of the Coffee Art Project London 2013, she interpreted the concept of coffee with her amazing piece titled ” Tanzania”.

By exploring the origin of coffee and its links with water access, this portrait hopes to express the important impact of the coffee trade on the people of Tanzania in their struggle for clean drinking water and sanitation. With attention to details, precision and talent the piece was absolutely powerful and profoundly connected to our cause.

London based illustrator, graduated at the London College of Communication explains her work and practice: “My practice is fueled by exploration; I am inspired by traveling and fascinated by people, places and the unfamiliar. My work involves a mix of drawing, collage, photography, writing and social engagement.”

Claudine O’Sullivan interviewed by the Coffee Art project team.


INTERVIEW WITH claudine o'sullivan

Q. When did you start drawing?

A. Since I was a child I’ve always loved drawing, I used to always draw my mum and make up clothes for her, and I loved drawing horses and dogs too. I was never good at sport so drawing and art was my main hobby as a kid.

Q. Describe yourself in 3 words. If you can!

A. That’s so difficult!!! I think I’m quite ambitious, sensitive and most of all clumsy…

Q. What does your art mostly represent?

A. I mainly focus on drawing people and work a lot from personal experience; people I’ve met and the stories I’ve heard. When drawing I’m really interested in facial expression and subtle gestures.

Q.Which kind of art world are you close to?

A. I’ve always loved painters Lucian Freud and Francis Bacon. I like the level of discomfort in their work, and the life long, obsessive nature of their practice as artists. I am also very inspired by  photojournalism, as I see my own practice as a sort ofbalance between illustration and journalism. I really love Dan Eldons’ travel journals, a travelling journalist who died at 22, Dan documented his travels and experience in really powerful and visually beautiful journals, a vibrant mix of photos,drawings, maps, diary entries and sketches.

Q. What do you feel when your creativity starts flowing?

A. As mentioned, I’m really inspired by people I meet and new experiences. Most of my personal work is inspired by my travels around India, experiencing a new culture and meeting new people is my favourite way to work. Its totally immersive, I travelled around with my sketchbook and camera, and recorded everything, from colours I saw, conversations I had and things I felt. This is my favourite way to research. In London, I’ve worked with some charities and support groups, again meeting people and hearing their stories and struggles, its this personal attachment to who I’m drawing that inspires me to represent something more than just likeness in someone’s face.

Q. What you would like to do in your future apart being an artist? Do you have any other dream?

A. My professional dream is to be an illustrative journalist or campaign designer. After my time travelling and working in India, I began working on a weekly art project and campaign with Domestic Violence charity Southall Black Sisters and another Art Project with Homeless charity SHP. It’s my dream to be able to work with organisations like these, CAP and Project Waterfall professionally, I would love to do more illustrative campaign work. Travelling is a massive dream of mine, now that I’ve just finished college I hope to stay in London for a while, to work and save money so I can hopefully go travelling again.

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