PaperLove Inspiration from Martin O’Neill

The PaperLove e-course features inspirational interviews with a range of artists at the top of their game. We love getting an insider’s view on the making process. Here’s a taster of our PaperLove interview with illustrator and collage artist Martin O’Neill.

If you’d like to get cutting and sticking, PaperLove starts on June 17 – sign up here.

Image: Alun Callander

Describe a day-in-the-life-of…

Up at 7.30. Breakfast with my girls. Cycle my eldest (5) to school on the back of my bike, head for studio. Coffee. 9am. Mess around with collage/studio stuff for an hour before turning on computer and doing email and web chores.Get cracking on any current commissions. I’ve never stopped for lunch. But I do like to have a break for 20 minutes or so tinkering with non-collagey things. So I experiment with odd little films made on my phone or messing about making a bit of digital music. I work until around 6 or later if a job dictates it that way. I cycle home along the seafront hoping the wind will be behind me.

Is there a rare set of papers that you would love to get your hands on?

The elusive kind of thing you unearth in an attic of a house you’ve just bought. Someone’s amazing autobiography in a breathtaking series of handmade scrapbooks. A huge collaged and handwritten encycolpedia of someone’s unusual life spent in a weird place a long time ago. That kind of one off thing.

Is there a paper item that you don’t leave home without?

I always like to have about fifty quid in my pocket.

Would you like to recommend a particular collage method?

It’s nice to place something you’re cutting out randomly on top of other paper artefacts or images. Press hard when you cut to ensure you go through the other stuff. You always get interesting results from the lower layers you’ve cut out.

Where has your creative life taken you? Literally, or in your imagination.

I see everything as a collage or something I might use in a collage. When I’m talking to someone in a pub I’ve cut them out in my mind’s eye. I’ve gone around their hair with a invisible scalpel making a few decisions of what to keep and disregard. I do the same with buildings as I’m walking down the street. I take them somewhere else. This is probably a symptom of doing the same thing for so long

What are you reading at the moment?

Apart from a couple of books I’m illustrating – National Geographic and Eye Magazine. My only subscriptions.

This is an extract from an interview in the PaperLove e-course.

Martin O’Neill is a UK based graphic artist who creates unique hand made collages for a range of International clients encompassing advertising, design, editorial and publishing. He also regularly exhibits his personal collages, sketchbooks and prints and is a visiting lecturer.

For more information about Martin and his work visit

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