Meet the Artists

Arcadia, Portrush
8th October 2018
Hugh Thomson, ‘This Brilliant Ulster Artist’ (1860-1920)
9th October 2018

Meet the Artists

Project Attributes


Trade Secrets


Coleraine Museum


9th October 2018

Eimear Friers

I live and work in Belfast. My education background is in Art History and Fine Art. I’m interested in contemporary art and visual culture, education within the visual arts, the integration of people from diverse social and cultural backgrounds and the overlap of these. My artwork explores elements of the above. I work from my studio space in Botanic, Belfast. My fine art practice has been ongoing since I graduated in 2012 from the Glasgow School of Art. My specialism is oil painting but I enjoy working in a variety of media. Following my degree show, I was chosen to exhibit in London at Saatchi’s ‘New Sensations’ exhibition (October 2012) and have since shown work in Glasgow, Belfast (Catalyst) and Portadown (Millennium Court Arts Centre). Alongside my practice, I facilitate mixed media art classes to adults and children and teach English at Belfast’s Islamic Centre.


Gail Mahon

Gail Mahon is an artist, lecturer and ceramic sculptor, where her studio is based outside Derry-Londonderry in the Northwest. A recent graduate from the Royal College of Art in London her work is interested in how people experience and understand materials; from unravelling the physical dimensions of objects and spaces that surround us every day and to our attachment, meaning and daily rituals we draw from them.

Her artistic practice utilises precision intuitive hand building and digital fabrication in ceramics, wood, metal and everyday objects, in development of her research to think through material processes in order to create unique installation artworks, sculptures and commissioned pieces.

She has exhibited work both nationally and internationally around UK, Ireland, China and Italy. Recent shows include Two Hundred Acres, Pump House Gallery, London, British Ceramics Biennial, Stoke-on-Trent, Imago Mundi, Luciano Benetton Collection, Italy.

Avril McCabe

Avril McCabe is a Community Artist facilitator with 7 years’ experience delivering participatory arts to schools, community groups and organisations in the UK and abroad. Her work uses a range of art forms to engage various community groups to tackle social, cultural or environmental issues. She is passionate about working with communities and increasing their sense of belonging and ownership through Art that aims to change perceptions of space.

A First Class degree in Contemporary Crafts enables Avril to utilise a range of specialisms including Ceramics, Textiles, Fine Art and Mixed Media. Based in Co. Antrim, she is also a qualified Teacher with 5 years’ experience delivering Art, Film and Photography in schools.

Laura Nelson

Laura Nelson is a sculpture artist, maker and organiser. She works in community arts, festival builds and events in Northern Ireland and abroad. She loves a good story and a nice bit of detail. When she isn’t making art she is gardening and being a mum.

Elaine Taylor

Elaine Taylor is a sculptor based in Belfast. She uses her unique wire work skills to explore themes of folklore and tales of times past. Her figures seem to emerge from, and dissipate back into the earth from which they are placed. Elaine’s practice lends itself readily to working with groups, exploring themes of identity, culture and mythology. She has more than five years experience working with community groups, in both peacebuilding and in academic environments. Elaine is the Visual Arts co-ordinator at Stendhal Festival of Art, where she pioneered the visual arts area Annan’s Arch. She has experience with organisation and management in the arts through a number of community events, festivals and large public and international events.

David Turner

David Turner is a Belfast based artist who creates autobiographical work through toy mediums that reflect conflict, terrorism, and evoke critical commentary on present day violence and war. Growing up in turbulent Belfast, Turner was surrounded by violence and conflict. These events have had a direct influence on his life and artwork, causing him to revisit his adolescence and recreate these memories with childhood mediums such as LEGOS, Hamma Beads, and Plasticine.

Ryan Orr

Ryan Orr is a videographer based in and around the Belfast area. He worked as a trainee with Big Telly, and has gone on to shoot short films and promo videos. He enjoys the challenge of projects like Trade Secrets; blending video, special effects and real world elements to create a unique take on the history of Portstewart.

Pauline Downey and Joshua Murray

Pauline Downey and Joshua Murray are final year music students at Ulster University, Magee. As part of their degree they completed a placement with Big Telly and were involved in some of the company’s projects including The Faerie Thorn and Culture Box. Both Pauline and Joshua will be graduating in July with a Bachelor of Music. Throughout university they were members of the Ulster University Choir and Chamber Choir under direction of Dr Shaun Ryan, where they were chosen to perform in Guildhall for President Bill Clinton during his visit to Derry/Londonderry in 2014. They were also selected to travel to New York in February 2016 to sing in Carnegie Hall for a night to celebrate Paul Mealor. As a part-time Singing and Piano teacher Pauline hopes to continue down the path of teaching and become a Primary school teacher. Josh aspires to become a full time jazz performer.