Slap It Up Ye! (Belfast’s 1st sticker and paste-up expo – click the banner at the top for more info) may be almost a year away but in the run-up to the event, we’ll be interviewing some artists who will be exhibiting their work; you may not have seen their art on the streets of Belfast yet but why not get to know them now, before seeing their work in the flesh next August!?
First up is Tiny Hands Big Heart, an Irish artist currently working in Spain!
Will you introduce yourself?
I’m Amy, a 30 year old illustrator and art teacher from Donegal but currently living in Barcelona!
Where did the name ‘Tiny Hands Big Heart’ come from? The name came from the help of my sister, Hollie! I was trying to set up a commission based illustration business about 5 years ago and she played a big role in getting me off the ground. I probably have the smallest hands for my age.
What originally sparked your interest in illustration?
I was a very indoorsy type of child that always loved drawing and books. For as long as I can remember, it has been my dream to be an author and illustrator of children’s books. Roald Dahl and Quentin Blake will always be my number ones.
How did the transition into mural painting and paste-ups come about? I never really thought that I would ever get into either but moving to Barcelona changed everything. The city is literally covered with art. It is so accepted here and artists have the opportunity to practice legally with the organisation WallSpot. I did my first mural in 2019 and since then things just took off from there! Murals are so much fun to do but take quite a bit of planning and money but the paste-ups are so easy; is laziness and lack of money my answer?
I love how your paste-ups often interact with their surroundings; was that always your intention or did that first come about by accident? The idea for my paste-ups came out of absolutely nowhere. I was on the phone to my mum one day, doodling on a piece of paper and the character just came out! I thought she’d look good on a wall so I drew her out a bit bigger and stuck her on the bedroom wall. Then I noticed the light socket beside her and put a can on top of it. It literally just snowballed from there. I think it’s one of the most organic and accidental projects that I’ve ever worked on which makes it so good. There is absolutely no pressure!
The street art scene in Barcelona looks amazing! Do you have any favourite artists or pieces/walls over there, or anyone you’d like to collaborate with? I’ve been here for five years and I am amazed every time that I step out the front door. There is always something new to see! The art scene is incredible here and it’s done in such a way that it’s accessible to everyone, almost like a “awk sure give it a go” kind of culture? There are so many people that I am obsessed with here, a graffiti stalker if you will. To name a few, Marina Capdevilla, Mali Mowcka, Gemma Fontanals, Elena Gonzalez, Konair, This is Pabs, imon boy and Emily Eldridge.
Do you have any influences, artistic or otherwise?
Just being in the city definitely influences what I make, those colours! Also, I constantly have music on in the background so it’s bound to have some influence on me. In terms of artists, Oliver Jeffers, Fafi, Sally Nixon and Gemma Correll.
How has Covid-19 affected your output? And do you have any plans for when the lockdown is (hopefully!) fully lifted? I know it sounds mental but the lockdown actually kickstarted a lot of my summer projects. Quarantine gave me loads of time to focus on drawing and coming up with new ideas. Boredom can lead to some great things. My paste-ups are without a doubt my lockdown babies! When things finally get back up and running again, I would love to be able to have the chance to collaborate with other artists in the city. It’s always far more fun when you’re working with other people!
Finally, is there anyone you want to shout-out? Shout out to my mum. When I first showed her the paste-ups, her reply was, “Aw great Amy, I always knew you were great at getting attention.” CHEERS MAMMY.