Corin Culleton, a young Irish artist during a pandemic

Is being a young artist an issue nowadays? Is it even worse during a pandemic? Today, we talked with Corin James Culleton, a 20 year old Dublin-based artist whose main enjoyments in life are painting, acting and music. He also loves soccer, movies, playing the guitar and singing. Keep reading to know more about this talented guy!

Corin is originally from New Ross, Co.Wexford, but his passion for dramatic art made him move to Smithfield, Dublin. He is studying to be an actor in The National Academy for Screen Acting in Bow Street. He absolutely adores Leonardo DiCaprio and Timothée Chalamet and finds acting as a form of escape, a chance to leave the problems of his everyday life and step into a different world. “Acting makes me feel amazing”, he constantly says.

Although it may seem like his main interests have always been acting or drama, it is still relatively new to him. His longest most loved interest has always been art; he has been painting and drawing since he was three and he continues to do so. Five months ago to this day, he started his own business of selling paintings and canvases to customers by his Instagram account and he is continuing to grow his brand. His style mainly combines chaotic backgrounds consisting of bright colours in contrast with a realist famous figure in the foreground.

Corin tells me, “Acting goes hand in hand with my art as I feel as though actors are virtually canvases showing a vast amount of emotions and movements to capture a story for audiences. So, in general, acting is a great influence for my art, I can study faces and expressions which helps me to capture emotion in peoples faces when I’m drawing or painting them”. 

As we speak, he is running everything through his Instagram account @corincullart. The process consists of a customer texting him and giving him a quick brief of what they want, how big they want the canvas, any small details they want added, etc. “A lot of the time, customers give me freedom with their ideas as they enjoy the surprise element but, also, the fact that it is a unique custom canvas unlike others. From there, I will add my tips recommendations for the project and when it is finalised I’ll put them in a waiting list as I get through my other commissions. Besides, there isn’t necessarily a fixed time for the paintings but I like to get it in the customers hands in around three or four weeks”, the artist says.

We are in a pandemic, though. For this reason, while some jobs were destroyed, others were created. For artists, it’s been tough in terms of selling their art (including gigs). However, some of them see light in the darkness, and Corin is one of them. “Covid-19 has definitely influenced my art, given the amount of hours I have stayed in doors I was able to create a process in which I could paint paintings regularly. This seems great but it was also very difficult given the fact I couldn’t meet up with customers to actually give them their paintings”, he tells me.

What’s more, Corin finds Ireland the perfect place to be a young artist. “I feel like it’s amazing to be a young artist in Ireland. There aren’t many places better than here. We are a country with a huge history in the arts, it’s embedded in our culture. I definitely feel privileged to be skilled in a certain field of the arts. One hundred percent in the future I want to get into projects that include Celtic stories, myths and fables because I feel like it’s an outstandingly vast vault of characters, legends and figures that deserve to be on a canvas or in a frame”, he expresses.

More about the creative process

Music is a huge part of his life. If he is not listening to it, he is playing guitar or singing in the shower or the car. He thinks it’s essential to loosen up and free his mind and in regards to his projects music is what connects him to the piece. By getting him in the zone of computer mode he doesn’t have to think or do, he just uses impulses. For the curious, he completely stans The Weeknd and Kendrick Lamar. “They are my two favourite artists”, Corin says.

Although he can paint and draw ordinary people, his main commissions are about famous ones. Because of this, Corin usually plays the artist’s music while painting him or her. Actually, it is a must. “I feel it helps me to subconsciously add different themes and references from their songs or albums giving the piece a true stamp of that artist’s music and style. I also like to imagine what colours are existing in the world of the song, which I then apply into the painting”, Corin says.

He goes on: “It is for these reasons that I can say with certainty that influences and ideas that I have gained from both music and acting have made their way into every piece that I do. Which in itself is amazing as I feel it gives my pieces an edge of creativity that was sourced somewhere different than the artists studio.”

He confesses that at the minute with his business of doing commissions for customers, his inspiration has been put to the side. “But in the future when my brand grows bigger and I can paint my own ideas and projects I will start to get back to finding inspiration”, he says hopefully.

Asked about when he knows a piece of work is finished, the Irish artist states, “This is a tough question! You see as an artist I never think that my pieces are done, solely because an artist is his harshest critic. I will point out things that others won’t notice and I suppose that is when I know it is finished. When I keep fidgeting and messing around I like to say Corin stop! The picture is finished”.

Nevertheless, if he had to pick a favourite pencil piece he would have to choose his drawing of Timothee Chalamet, he talks, “This is because I am a huge fan of him as well as it being my best standard drawing yet!”.

But, wait…where does all his talent come from?

Most of the time, an artist is raised by another one. Even though no one in his family has ever drawn or painted, in his case, his dad is his pure inspiration. “Funnily enough, actually, none of my family are artists in the context of painting. However, music and literature which I consider to be art has a strong presence in my family. I reckon I have gotten my creativity from my father who is a superb story teller, poet and writer. Both of my parents influenced my artistic side since I could pick up a pencil, opting for crayons, paint sets and sketch books over toys and electronics, which in return meant that I improved more and more as the years went on”, Corin relates.

And then, we have our chosen family, our friends. For the young artist, they are so important for his creativity. “In regards to my friend group the same principle applies, my friends consist of an abundance of different types of artists all unique in their own way be it actors, musicians, and just creative people in general. However, I really appreciate the friends I have that think in different ways and methods that are opposite to mine, as they can be the voice of reason or advise on different aspects of the business side of art”, Corin explains. 

Future projects and goals

At the moment, he is working on a vast amount of projects but he is definitely most looking forward to painting Kobe Bryant and Conor McGregor. “Surprisingly given how I am based in Ireland nobody has ever asked for a picture of McGregor until now!”, Corin says. 

In Corin words:

My goal in life is to make a living from having fun and enjoying myself and pursue all things creative as I feel it benefits my standard of life. 

In the future, I plan on finishing my acting course in Bow Street Academy in Dublin. Pursuing that as a career, I have also started to get into modelling with the hopes of gaining work in advertisements that will then in turn make my CV look better for potential casting directors and agents down the line.

Regarding my art, I will keep pushing my business more and more. I am constantly gaining followers from my frequent posts on the page but soon I will start to advertise on Google, Facebook and Instagram. As well, sometime in the near future, I plan on making a website with some of my friends and possibly making clothes or t-shirts with some original designs and art on them!

To conclude, I asked him about if he could have dinner with any three artists, who would they be, “That’s tricky! But I would have to go for Jean-Michel Basquiat, Banksy, and although he isn’t a painter, Timothée Chalamet!. I would definitely ask all three about how they have managed to excel at young ages in a creative world with millions of people who try and do the same! I could kill two birds with one stone and chat to both Banksy and Basquiat about their amazing Graffiti and modern art. Then I would love to get advice from Timothee Chalamet about how to become a better screen actor!”

What do you think about Corin’s art? Any other Irish young artists we should know? Let us know in the comments below or in our social media. 

Connect with Corin and order him a piece: Instagram

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Tami Pereira
Tami Pereira

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