Snap Shots Feature

Here is my featured snap shots article in the Waterford News and Star. Great to see it in print! Below is the full article as I sent it. It was re-written into the third person by the editor prior to print.

I am a Waterford born Graphic Designer and Illustrator. I started my creative career at the age of four, spending countless hours ‘doodling’ on the sitting room floor or dining room table. Wherever suited!. As time to attend primary school came along, I eventually got singled out as a ‘good drawer’ by the teachers and I was sometimes given the day to draw something on a big sheet of paper on the floor. Which of course, I loved. I attended both De La Salle primary and secondary schools, the latter of which saw my report cards state “pleasant, well behaved but somewhat of a dreamer.” They were spot on! A visit from a graphic designer to our class one day sealed the deal on a realistic direction that I could take my passion.

Upon leaving De La Salle, I started work with a locally run and established sign company, Design and Display. This for me was a great start as it gave me a great understanding of the real world of visual communications – the world of bosses, clients and deadlines. At 21 and after roughly three years in Design and Display, I applied to WIT and completed my Diploma in Design Communications. A further three years later, I applied to Waterford based design agency Márla.ie (then called Imagin Design). I got offered a job as a graphic designer, and, after almost nine years with them, I have carved out a great career.

Márla.ie recently changed its name to Márla Communications and also changed its image, for which I developed the new brand identity. The company has moved from strength to strength from its beginnings in 2004, becoming a creative powerhouse in the region. Our clients include Waterford City Council, the Irish Farmers Journal, Neven Maguire, Superquinn, Craft butchers Association of Ireland and the Irish Exporters Association to name but a few.

Illustration is a huge passion of mine, and one that has been rekindled over the past six years or so. Upon attending and submitting an illustration entry to Design Week Cork 2008, I noticed that Design Week never featured in Waterford City before. In 2009 myself and local product designer Marcus Notley both brought Design Week events each to Waterford for the first time. My event consisted of a comic book featuring some of the best of Irish Illustration. The following year I was approached by Moccu Press to illustrate a graphic novel based on the life of Oliver Cromwell. In November 2010 “Curse of Cromwell: The Siege” was released, later winning the Tipperariana Book of the Year Award. Subsequently, I published two more graphic novels with Moccu Press called “War of the Two kings” and “Plight of the Wild Geese.”

In my spare time you can find me sketching as much as possible (cliché I know), playing guitar, dabbling in photography or playing with my son Zac. I recently updated my personal and professional website  www.leegrace.comto reflect my illustration style. The latest personal project I undertook was a custom poster illustration of Thomas Francis Meagher. I also regularly enter pieces into Illustration Friday, a weekly online illustration exercise. You can keep up with my latest entries at  www.facebook.com/marladesign.

Right now at Márla Communications, we are currently working on a custom Illustrated map of the Phoenix Park in Dublin for Irish Road train Tours. This map will act as a visual route guide for the road train ride of the park.

Who would be your ideal dinner guests?

Well Nigella Lawson and my wife Denise can cook! Then add Joe Rogan, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Graham Hancock and Natalie Portman for good measure.

What is your secret guilty pleasure?

It’s not really a secret, but, Classical music. It’s really good to work too aswell. I’ve been listening to Ludovico Einaudi on Spotify lately.

What is your top tip for living in the recession in Ireland?

Don’t try to keep up with the Jonses, recession or no recession. It’s a battle that you will lose.  Especially in recessionary times. Be happy and thankful for what you have right now… family friends and your health.

What’s the best thing and worst thing about living in Ireland

The best thing is the sense of belonging, national pride in being Irish. Being part of a nation that is generally viewed in a nice light internationally. The worst thing. The climate.

What actor would you choose to play you in a movie of your career?

I think Christian Bale simply because he’d love to method act as a graphic designer (i’m sure!)

If you were Taoiseach for the day what would you do?

I’d try as much as possible to show that I am willing to make sacrifices in my own career and lifestyle  as much as everyone else has. Or perhaps,  just copy Iceland’s views on austerity!

WHISPER