Trish O’Brien, print maker

trish o'brienThere’s a playful streak of naughtiness in some of the work by printmaker Trish O’Brien.

It’s those saucy pictures on the walls of her bright and airy studio in Chesterfield that immediately catch your eye and bring a smile to your face.

Her original characters are inspired by African, aboriginal and Egyptian art and her own observations of modern day life.

The artist acknowledges that Sylvie with her ample buttocks has been one of her most popular prints but says that in actual fact she has been toning down the more risqué elements of her work.

“I love voluptuous shapes and much of my work had various bits and bobs on show, but I have calmed it down to save the blushes of my teenage daughter,” she said with a giggle.

A shame in my opinion, and I am glad to say that she agreed to create a new sassy character especially for artsbeat which you can see on the front page.

She is also a big fan of 1960s Danish ceramics and so much of recent work has been images of animals, birds and flowers based on the style used to decorate the pottery.

Even though they are not as brazen as Agatha’s Bathing Tips the owls, fish and cats maintain the warm cheerfulness that has become her trademark.

Trish moved to Chesterfield from London to escape the city life and ensure a decent school life for her daughter and has set herself up at the Clocktower Business Centre in Hollingwood.

“This is great part of the country to live and my life has been transformed since I found my studio. It is where I can escape to and immerse myself in my work. As soon as I saw the room I knew it was for me – it is absolutely perfect,” she said beaming widely.

The 49-year-old artist says there was never really anything else she wanted to do but art.

“I just wasn’t interested in school really. I was always very creative and art was my number one priority. In my free time I would be making, drawing and painting.”

The lack of a maths qualification meant Trish couldn’t get on an art course in her teens and she ended up working in a variety of jobs while she continued to paint in her spare time.

Finally in 1992 with a good portfolio of work to back her up Trish managed to persuade City Lit in London’s Covent Garden to let her take a foundation course as a mature student and from there she studied fine art at Middlesex University.

“My desire to study art over-rode everything else and I didn’t mind that I was a bit older than most of the others.

“My intention had always been to paint but while at university I got hooked by mono printing. I had been trying out reverse painting – which is simply painting on to glass, placing the paper on top and rubbing it. It was really successful and I sold everything at my degree show,” she said with pride.

Trish then studied for an MA in Printmaking at Camberwell College of Art and hasn’t looked back since.

“What I really love about printmaking is the element of surprise. You never know how it is going to turn out and I get endless pleasure from what I am doing.”

Trish mainly sells her prints and a range of greetings cards at art fairs and online but you can also see what she does at StraightCurves the arts and crafts centre at 104 Saltergate, in Chesterfield, where she also holds workshops in her craft.

To see more of her work to to

October 15 front for promosYou can buy the specially commissioned artsbeat lino cut print, used on the front cover of the October edition, which is an edition of 25, for £38 unframed. Go to Trish’s website for more details.