BeKreativ: A Blast Of Colour With Fuchsia MacAree


Posted July 31, 2016 in Design

NCH – 25 sep-3 oct-22 Desktop

Fuchsia MacAree is one of the country’s most bankable illustrators. Her bold and bright designs have adorned everything from billboards to books and it’s this recognisable style that has led her to two of her biggest ever commissions in 2016. Soon MacAree will start seeing the fruits of her largest scale project yet: an almighty mural on the side of Google’s data centre in West Dublin. We caught up with her just as she had begun her other big project for the year, the Designer in Residency programme for Facebook where she is bringing her own brand of wit and whimsy to the social media giant’s office space.

Can you tell us about the process of pitching for the Google data centre project and how it came about?

That started in Spring 2015, I got an email from a woman in Amsterdam who does work for Google and was then introduced to the team in New York who work for the “Creative Lab” – which is essentially just a place for experimenting and creating fun stuff. I had a Skype chat with them where I wasn’t really sure whether or not I was being interviewed so I was really nervous! After that I gave them a proposal, which they kind of told me to just go mad with and try and do something that you could see from space, which made me go a bit like ‘OH JESUS’ but then I sent them on the proposal and it turned out that I was the only person they had asked to submit something. Then over the next few months I worked on it and had a few rounds of feedback and now everything has been approved but I’m still not allowed talk about…what…it is!

Last summer a team came over to do some filming for this documentary series they’re doing about it. The reason they’re making the documentary about the data centre is to let people know that it’s there but also to tell them a bit about what a data centre is and about all the security that goes into keeping people’s data safe. They want to dispel the scariness of it I suppose, and it’s so impressive how it’s done and it’s amazing to be in there – the amount of information that goes through it is absolutely bonkers so it makes fun to explain.

Fuchsia 5

How was it getting feedback from a client like Google?

All the projects I do, people generally come to me because they already like my work so I’ve never felt like I’ve had to change things to a direction that I’m not happy with. With Google I presented maybe five or six rough sketches to them and then they said – OK I think we’re going to go in that direction and I would do a few a few slightly more detailed sketches in the next round and they would then pick their favourites from that. So they obviously had a lot of input and were directing it but they didn’t put any ideas in my head or prescribe to me what I had to do. It was still 100% my stuff and ideas that came out of it.

It was mad to work in that way because I’m way more used to working on smaller projects or projects where the brief isn’t so open. Also my studio on the quays looks over the Liffey and I’d be looking at the other side of the quays and measuring on Google Maps how big the space that I would be working on would be in comparison and it was terrifying. I was coming up with some stupid ideas that I thought might be funny I just had to look over and realise ‘oh no, I mean that is just going to be gigantic, I can’t do that…I have to be sure about this.’

Fuchsia7

 

Tell us a little bit about getting involved with Facebook’s Designer in Residence programme, how did that come about?

I got involved with that through a woman called Josephine Kelleher who’s a curator for Facebook and curates the art in all the offices in the ‘EMEA’ region which stands for Europe the Middle East and Africa. She’s based in Dublin and asked me to do it because I’ve worked with Risograph printers before which are a mix of screen printing and photocopying and create really easy to make really lovely looking A3 prints. The room I’m based out of is called the Analog Lab and they have a laser cutter and a 3D printer and a Risograph printer and a badge maker. The purpose of that is to do some experimentation and engage all the people that work in Facebook and allow them to make things with their hands and show them the possibilities of the gadgets they have in there. It’s a mixture of briefs and self-directed stuff so when Pride Week was kicking off we brainstormed some projects around that and then we made some stuff for Father’s Day but other than that I do more general projects that tie into the concepts of inclusivity and openness and kindness and all those kinds of things.

How does it feel to work with people who don’t have a strict design background?

I suppose it’s a much more casual thing in Facebook because people drop in and out and one of the aims of it is really just to make it seem less scary to work with these kinds of things. When you’re in school doing art I think you feel less self-conscious about your work but once you’ve been out of the habit of doing art for a long time you can be afraid to make that jump and explore your creativity. I’m there really to bridge the gap of it, so say for the badges that we made for Pride I went and made all of this pictures that could be used to make the badges and I show everyone how to use the machine and then they can go away and make their own things and bring them in to make their own designs. Similarly with the laser printer I show them how to use it and then hopefully it sparks something off in someone’s head and then they see that it’s not a faraway thing and you don’t need to be a professional to use it.

Fuchsia 3

 

After working on such big scale projects what feels like the next step?

I have no idea. I feel like these two projects are so huge and creatively fulfilling that when everything finishes I think I’m just going to go on holiday for a while! While I’ve been doing these things I’ve been turning down a lot of commissions because I just want to concentrate on what I’m doing and not thinking too much about commercial stuff. I have such creative freedom to just play around, and ideas are being fired off all the time. That said, with turning down all these commissions I don’t know what’s going to happen in October when Facebook and Google are finished! They’re both very high profile things so I don’t know what that will lead to but I have absolutely no idea what to shoot for next, I feel like the rule book has just been thrown out the window completely.

I think one thing I would be interested in is doing more painterly stuff, and one thing that will change when I finish is I’m going to take on less work but spend more time on that work. In the last few months I’ve been taking a lot on because I feel like I can’t say no to anything and I end up having a lot of late nights. It would be good to have the time to actually experiment with myself and push myself further.

bekreativ

Beck’s have a longstanding involvement in artistic movements around the word and have recently launched a new campaign called BeKreativ, which is showcasing creative talent from around Ireland for the next few years. Check out Beck’s BeKreativ campaign at #BeKreativ and bekreativ.ie

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