The Michael O'Connor Poster Collection is made up of approximately 2800 international posters; ephemeral and historical items dating from the late 1960's to the early 1980's. Michael O'Connor of Listowel, County Kerry, categorically amassed the collection over the course of 20 years, at great personal expense. He generously donated it to Limerick City Gallery of Art in 1989. This eclectic and personal collection grew alongside Michael O'Connor's years, taking its shape from the line of his life. The collection contains posters from diverse provenances, such as celebrated American graphic designers, little-known Czechoslovakian graphic designers and the Polish Poster School - an aspect of the Polish cultural phenomenon that lasted from the late 1950's through to the late 1980's.
This exhibition was curated to be dynamic, vibrant, eclectic and honest; it reflects the nature of the Michael O'Connor Poster Collection as a whole. Due to the vast and delicate nature of the poster collection, it has rarely been seen by the public; this exhibition of posters is the largest to date.
MA by Research Publication
The Michael O'Connor Poster Collection was donated to Limerick City Gallery of Art in 1989. It is made up of approximately 2800 international posters. In the context of the collection, this 2-year MA by research looked at how cultural institutions seek to balance the seemingly contradictory tasks of making donated collections readily available to the public, and effectively preserving them for the future. The MA took the form of a 12,000-word thesis, and an 80-page designed publication visually expanding upon it, now held at Limerick School of Art & Design and Limerick City Gallery of Art.
The book is rare and ephemeral, much like the poster collection. It is perfect-bound and soft-back, with a gallery-white, matte cover. It is therefore easily marked by the reader and the passage of time. In this way it is connotative of the archives that were pored through in researching the project. The book is elegant, flawed and at times somewhat awkward. Through glitches, abstract photography and illustration within a formal framework, it combines classic and modern design elements. Within the book there are several layers of information, which may be read in different ways. In this manner the dense content of the thesis is rendered accessible.
Research & Development
Examples of visual research & development for MA by research publication.
ISTD AWARD WINNER 2011
Flatland tells the story of A. Square - a two-dimensional square living in a two-dimensional world. Of all the Flatlanders, A. Square is selected by a Sphere from Spaceland to have the near-incomprehensible reality of the third dimension revealed to him. The society in which A. Square lives maintains a strict hierarchy, the Circles - or Priests – being the topmost layer of authority.
This is a signature from a hypothetical book. The grid is based upon that of late 19th century books, as it is to this time that the story of Flatland dates. The Sphere's revelation is unobtainable for the reader, as it is for A. Square; contained within the section tipped-on to the front of the signature. The cutting of the traditional rectangular text block (shortening it to an almost-square text block) represents A. Square himself, as does the cropping of the traditional rectangular page. The piece has a definite and constant grid to reflect the rigid structure of Flatland society. This grid is broken throughout – though never fully - to represent A. Square's ultimately fruitless struggle to change this society.
Unbend Leg Out
Album art designed for Dublin-based independent record label Unbend Legout, in collaboration with Oli Ryan.
Slant is an eight-page supplement designed for the Guardian newspaper. The supplement features an article on the ‘Bungalow Blight’ in the village of Bunowen, Connemara, County Galway. It explores the effect that one-off modern housing has had on this rural area. Much of Bunowen’s rugged landscape has become effectively obscured by sleek, jarring, often-empty holiday homes; it has become impossible to enjoy an uninterrupted view of the area.
The Fourth Wall
The fourth wall can be defined as the imaginary boundary between any fictional work and its audience. Traditionally, actors on stage used the fourth wall as a means through which to ignore their audience entirely. In this way the audience may become lost in the action of the play. With the dawn of post-modernism, however, German theatre practitioner Bertolt Brecht pioneered a style of acting called Gestus, which required the actors to alienate their audience by using selective realism. This resulted in Brecht's audiences never losing themselves in the action of the play, instead remaining observers throughout.
On January 28th, 1933, a performance of Brecht's politically committed play, 'The Measures Taken,' in Erfurt, Germany, was disrupted and closed down by the police. This self-directed project documents this performance. It takes the form of a hard-back book, and consists of a prelude introducing the reader to the concept of the fourth wall and a typographic interpretation of the play itself. The book employs three separate but interweaving layers of information to represent different elements of the performance in question. The first layer of information is representative of the action within the play, the second of the 'control chorus' employed by Brecht to mediate between his audience and the action, and the third of the audience itself and the occurrences surrounding the play on this night.
Molson Coors Events
The Discover the World Crate was designed for Taste of Dublin in 2016. I was responsible for creating all renders and artwork for the interior and exterior of the crate. The Crate was awarded a Bronze APMC award in 2017.
The Archway Bar was designed for The Big Grill in 2018, to launch Franciscan Well’s new lager.
I was invited to design the National College of Art and Design Ceramics, Glass and Metals Degree Show Catalogue in 2011. The catalogue was designed to be minimal, quiet and elegant to provide the graduates with a platform that would enhance their work.
This specimen sheet/poster for the font Franklin Gothic is designed to portray the characteristics of the typeface, and to demonstrate its potential.
A selection of logos/lockups.
Guinness Storehouse Postcard
This souvenir postcard was designed for Guinness Storehouse and Insight Marketing & Brand Services in 2016. It welcomes the holder into Guinness Storehouse; it is a rare look at an open St James’s Gate.
Quills similar to the one on the reverse of the postcard were often featured in much the same way on 18th century postcards (the time to which the storehouse dates). Arthur Guinness would have signed his famous 9,000 year lease with something similar.
Through the stamp, signature and quill, the postcard allows the holder to take something of Arthur with them when they leave the Storehouse.
Tayto Summer Snacks
FMCG Checkout Award Winner 2017 APMC Category Winner 2017
Out of home and in-store POS campaign designed with Insight Marketing in 2017.
Fyffes Christmas Card
Story and illustration created for Fyffes Christmas card in 2017.
Fyffes Peel Different
Above the line campaign designed for Fyffes bananas in 2018. The campaign had to remain on-brand for Fyffes in terms of colour and font choice, while feeling fresh and exciting for the brand.