&H Interviews | Digital Artist Niall Staines on Dublin, creativity and nature

Our talk with Dublin-based artist & designer Niall Staines was as eclectic as his artworks, with topics ranging from isolation, nature, creativity and the impact of his beloved hometown on his creations. Find out more below.

&H: For how long have you been making art?
NS: I’ve been drawing since I could hold a pencil and I’ve been making pictures in some shape or form ever since. But I suppose it’s been in the last 3 or 4 years that I have started to develop a style that has informed the work I’m making today.
&H: Dublin is a re-occuring theme in your work, not least in your series “Dublin Glitches”. How does the city influence your artistic expression?
NS: I love Dublin. It’s steeped in culture but like many capital cities it’s being ravaged by gentrification. That’s really what that series is about. Showing that when you open Dublin up it’s a beautiful city full of quirk, charm and colour. You just have to know where to look.
Niall Staines - Dublin Glitches (2019)
&H: Your work is immensely creative and vibrant. Do you think one can learn creativity or is it something you are born with?
NS: I don’t think it’s necessarily something you can learn. I’m not sure you’re born with it either. I think it’s something you are drawn towards at a young age and you just don’t let go of. Basically, you don’t grow up!

&H: Your objects tend to vary from urban landscapes to works showing the nature and the ocean. Do you prefer the city or the nature yourself?
NS: I live a bit out of the city with the sea on one side of me and the mountains on the other. I absolutely love it. I love being surrounded by nature. I’m happiest when I’m cycling up the side of a mountain or jumping in the sea. But at the same time I love exploring cities and I suppose that mix shows up in my work.
&H: What inspires you the most in life and in your art?
NS: I find huge inspiration in other artists around me. People who are doing different things to me. Street art, illustration, photography, music, film. There’s so much creativity in Ireland right now and I think that’s what really motivates me.
&H: You recently released three new artworks depicting glitched gas stations, with colors beaming up towards the sky. What went through your head when creating the series?
NS: I suppose the theme there is isolation, which we’re all experiencing a profound amount at the moment. I love nightscapes of gas stations. There’s something enchanting about them. Just sitting there illuminated in pitch darkness. They look almost alien, like they’ve just landed on earth. So, I just played around with that.

Niall Staines - Station #1 (2020)

&H: Are you working on any new subject matters at the moment? What will we be seeing from you next?
NS: Isolation definitely seems to be a theme at the moment. It’s hard to ignore!
&H: Was Digital media always a given medium for you, or have you also considered other ways of expressing your creativity? Say Painting, poetry, making videos?
NS: I studied Multimedia in college with the idea of becoming a graphic designer and ended up in advertising. So my day job means I get to play around with lots of different mediums. In my personal work I’ve experimented with animation, made music videos and done a little bit of photography. But I really love making one single image with no client and no brief. I find it liberating.
&H: What does the future of Digital Art look like for you?
NS: I’ve been looking at adding a screen printing element to my work which could be really interesting. I’m releasing a set of prints online very soon and also working with a local gallery to bring out more of the Gas Glitches work. Other than that just keep making new images and see what happens!  

Check out more from Niall Staines on his Instagram page