My name is Caoilfhionn Hanton and I am twenty years old.
'Caoilfhionn' is phonetically pronounced 'Qwee-lin' but I don't mind if you accidentally call me the wrong name initially. I have heard every variation of my name, from the innocent 'Keeva' to the ridiculous claptrap of 'California/ Cauliflower/ Cleveland' and the comedic calamity these titles ensue. I've put aside a substantial cash prize for anyone who can think of the best pseudonym I've not heard yet. Lots of cash dollaz.
So, about me?
Amidst today's Orwellian-like obsession with likes, follows, swipes, shares, retweets and blocks, I find it straining to condense my self-identity into a manageable chunk of text. I did creative writing classes when I was younger and had enjoyed writing personal essays in secondary school English class but haven't written really anything of any academic value in a while.
Sticking up a relatable internet-jokey type thing on your Instagram story is more of my thing these days but I hope to use this as a space to blog about 'stuff' (ie; rant and generally talk to myself) and document the artistic process.
My interests include the usual; makeup, music, art, fashion, nature, talking about interesting things with interesting people at any given chance, laughing, appreciating beauty in all its forms.
I've been absorbed in art since I was very little. Practically drawing since the womb, I learned how to make stencils during my transition year work experience from Dublin artist Steve Kemp of The KEMP Gallery and began to focus massively on street art. I had always loved portraiture but I have thoroughly enjoyed practicing different mediums through the years, like pen and pencil, spray paint, watercolour, acrylic and digital painting.
I have worked in a call-center the last two years and gone from working on the phone myself to also coaching others and taking live complaints. During this time I have been able to exercise my customer service skills via the strange portal of technical support. These conversations often meander and I've found these exchanges extremely enriching sometimes.
Not to romanticize minimum wage or the monotonous calls you get everyday, but it can be a funny place.
The multi-faceted characters you meet always have their own unique stories, which I enjoy hearing.
Janet, 70, tells me amidst delicately setting up her new iPad to play Candy Crush about her glamorous heyday and how she met her late husband of decades spent together.
Lucy, 32, cracks open a bottle of malbec whilst I try fix her Apple Watch issues behind the scenes. She divulges into her love-life, kids, her HR job. She confesses her aspirations to delete all social media, buy a camper van, move to the coast and trade the technicalities of modern society for a simple solitary life beside the sea without her Instagram addiction.
These moments are fleeting and once our technical difficulties have been ironed out and resolved, I let them go. I draw inspiration from the memorable characters and often find parallels between their world over the phone and the real world I'm stuck in.
My aim is to create artwork that draws from this infatuation with people and to help others express themselves and spark joy in their life. In my last two years of 'soul-searching' (cringe) and dipping between future career prospects, I had struggled to find how best I could earn a living in a creative environment that was also very sociable. I was debating between studying fine art, graphic design, marketing and other options, but through years of freelancing, commissions, facilitating workshops and my latest venture into customer service and coaching others, I have found myself fixated on the goal of being a secondary school art teacher.
It would be my dream to both facilitate students with an interest in creating something beautiful and help them feel extraordinary, worthwhile and positive within themselves. I'd like my class to be a bright light at the end of a double-economics dark tunnel.
I wasn't the biggest fan of secondary school myself and I lacked much sincere confidence in my capabilities. Now, in retrospect, I see that my coming-of-age awkward teen years will definitely stand to me in the art room environment. From the age of 16 onward, my friends and I became lunch-time veterans of the art room. We had a great rapport with our teacher and I genuinely looked forward to the class. The room was full of laughter.
I hope that with emotional empathy, my willingness to foster and nurture talent in others and my self-taught artistic technical abilities, I can recreate the magic of art class and make a difference in young people's lives. Not only as an educator, but also as a supporter.