We are Barry and Sinéad, husband and wife and founders of Naniken Studio. Naniken came from the name of the river that flows through St. Anne's Park in Dublin. This was the place where in 2020 we set up our popup shop for the first time and began selling our work together. A sense of place is something that is really important in the pieces we create. Naniken gives us the opportunity to develop creatively together and continue to explore the world around us in a way that resonates with our valued customers.
Many of the pieces we sell feature St. Anne's Park and its surroundings. The park captures the imagination so easily, as it is teeming with the Irish wildlife that features prominently in Sinéad's work and the eclectic mix of follies and fairy tale buildings we both love to capture.
Naniken is the place where we share our work in a way that lets you bring it home and enjoy it for many years. We have invested a lot of time researching and developing a method that optimises our work for print. The vibrancy of the colours and crispness of the edges just have to be right. We pride ourselves on creating excellent quality gallery quality giclée limited edition prints on acid free archival paper. More often than not they are indistinguishable from the original, and sometimes possibly better :) Each piece is hand signed and the number of prints limited to ensure exclusivity.
Meet the artists
Many of my pieces reflect a love of that moment when light, colour or composition capture my imagination. I draw a lot of inspiration from my hometown, Enniskillen and County Fermanagh. The light, water, atmosphere and pace of life have captured my imagination for many years and I expect that they will for many more to come. I am always thinking of the next way I can capture big sunsets reflecting across the county on summer evenings over the ever present Lough Erne. I also love flying around Enniskillen in my head imagining a combination of buildings that could compose a view and how I can take on the challenge of capturing it in a way that resonates.
Living in Dublin gives me a rich tapestry to work from. The cityscape gives me the opportunity to capture new perspectives on scenes from a quick outdoor sketch of someone standing at a traffic light to a view that encompasses Dublin bay. Combining this love of perspective with vibrant colours and a style that lets the excitement explode and flow across the page gives me the opportunity to bring a unique sense of place to the viewer.
After graduating from the National College of Art and Design I have spent many years creating commissioned design work, illustrations and animations. Now I split my time between that work and Naniken Studio which allows me to have some fun creating some personal work and explore illustration techniques and themes I enjoy.
Having grown up in Clontarf I draw a lot of my creative inspiration from my local natural environment and the water's edge in Clontarf and St. Anne's Park and the many animals and birds that live there. From the heron who stands in the pond in St. Anne's, so still and beautiful, to the geese flying over Dollymount, I love the way their little home patches can be so remarkable to us.
I love the interplay between our built environment and the natural environment and the narrative with its inhabitants. These include the Herbert Simms bathing shelters that vibrantly dot the seafront along Clontarf and the magical follies and trees in St. Anne's Park. The happy moment that captures the spirit of the animal as you glance at it in front of a beautiful or magical place is something that really appeals to me.
I like to combine hand drawn and digital techniques and play around with interesting compositions and colour palettes. I also like to work with lino-cutting and hand-printing techniques which give a unique look and there's nothing like the reveal of a handprint. Some of my work has also been designed for the screen printing process. My pieces usually start of as an idea of the narrative between a place and an inhabitant. I will usually take a lot of photos, including details I like such as particular leaves or plants. Working with sketches first I will create a composition I like, simplifying scenes and including shapes and elements to create the essence of a place. I like to use a minimal colour palette with strong complementing colours that give my illustrations their unique look.