Meet KT McCaffrey – an Irish artist with a passion for Celtic culture and storytelling

kt mccaffrey portraitMeet KT McCaffrey – Irish Celtic Artist.

KT McCaffrey is an Irish artist living in Dunshaughlin County Meath, near Dublin Ireland. KT has created over 80 Oil on canvas paintings since 2007. The artist has a strong passion for Irish culture, storytelling, Irish Folklore and classic Rock and Roll. We discuss how the artists’ appetite for art, culture, music and storytelling has influenced his unique style of art.

KT McCaffrey – How Rock and Roll shaped his youth.

KT grew up during a very exciting time for music.  The artist was still a child in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Breakout artists such as Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, Fats Domino and Buddy Holly created a revolution in the music industry. KT became fascinated by these rock and roll artists from the United States during his teenage years.

Young Elvis by KT McCaffreyEverything from the music to the lyrics and larger than life performances, really captivated him. This is where the artist first started to appreciate the art of music. It energized him and KT soon discovered that creativity was the most was important thing in his life.

KT has painted several portraits of Elvis Presley over the years including ‘The Young Elvis‘ and ‘Elvis Presley Live‘.

KT McCaffrey – Dublin and the National College of Art and Design

At 17 years old, KT McCaffrey moved from his rural hometown of Clara, County Offaly to Dublin City.  This created an enormous sense of discovery for the artist. He pursued a 5-year diploma in Graphic Design at the National College of Art ad Design in Dublin.

KT studied many forms of art at the college. fine art, still life, typography, illustration and design for print. His studies also included the history of art, Irish literature, Irish culture and Storytelling. It was here that KT Discovered his main influences which forms his artwork of today.

At college, he was introduced to the works of legendary Irish stained-glass artist and book illustrator Harry Clarke. KT McCaffrey was awe-stuck by the highly detailed and colourful stained-glass masterpieces. He regularly visited Hugh Lane Gallery in Dublin to visit the Harry Clarke collection of windows.

Mermaid by KT McCaffrey

KT has created a few paintings inspired by the great Harry Clarke, examples include ‘Mermaid‘ and ‘Trinity‘.

He also discovered many Irish literature artists during his college years.  These include Oscar Wilde, W.B. Yeats, Sean O’Casey and Jonathan Swift.

Trinity by KT McCaffrey

KT McCaffrey graduated from the National College of Art and Design. Soon after he worked in several advertising agencies before setting up his own graphic design studio.

KT McCaffrey – Graphic Design, Illustration and Celtic Art.

KT McCaffrey became creative director of several graphic design studios between the 1970s and 1990s. He designed creative design solutions for many large corporate companies for over 20 years. By the early 1990s, KT wanted to pursue other creative interests. He created and published a set of Celtic Graphic Story books and children’s coloring books.

Celtic art sketch from Deirdre Graphic Novel by KT McCaffrey

A dramatic Celtic Art sketch featured in KT McCaffrey’s Graphic Story book ‘Deirdre Heroines of Celtic Folklore, published in 1989.

These graphic story books were based upon tales of Irish Folklore.  Tales with simplified stories and Celtic illustrations suitable for a young audience. Legends such as Cú Chulainn and Fionn mac Cumhaill featured in exciting tales of Irish Folklore and Fantasy. These books combined the artists graphic design and illustration skillsets as well as his passion for Celtic Art and Storytelling.

The Adventures of Fionn and the Fianna by KT McCaffrey

Front cover of the graphic story book ‘The Adventures of Fionn and the Fianna’ by KT McCaffrey, published in 1989.

The Tale of Aoife and Scath by KT McCaffrey 1989

KT McCaffrey’s original black and white Celtic art sketch from 1989 featuring The Tale of Aoife & Scath.

KT McCaffrey – Irish Theatre, Culture and Literature

After developing a keen interest in Irish literature during his college years, KT joined an amateur drama group. The artist spent many years acting and directing theatre at various locations across Ireland. He directed several plays during the 1980s including ‘Juno and the Paycock’.

He met Sean O’Casey’s wife ‘Eileen’ at the Glebe Theatre during the production of ‘Juno and the Paycock’. She told KT that she felt it was a wonderful production of the play.

Juno and the Paycock painting by KT McCaffrey

KT has painted scenes from Sean O’Casey’s plays including ‘Juno and the Paycock‘ and ‘The Plough and the Stars‘.

KT McCaffrey – Crime Fiction Author

Because of his lifelong interest in Irish literature and storytelling, he was promoted to write several crime fiction novels. These novels are all connected by the central character Emma Boylan. KT wrote eight books in the series.  Titles include ‘Revenge’, ‘Killing Time’, ‘The Body Rock’, ‘End Of The Line’, ‘Bishop’s Pawn’, ‘Cat Trap’ and ‘No Curtain Call’.

KT McCaffrey – Oil on Canvas Celtic Irish Artist

In 2007, KT took a break from the Graphic Design industry.  He focused his career on what he loves the most – Art and painting.

The artist began his period of painting abstract landscapes and Celtic design. Each painting has a strong use of rich colour, illustration and patterns. This style has become the artists signature style of painting.

KT would experiment and paint personal pastimes close to his heart such as musicians, playwrights, Irish Culture and abstract art.

Since 2011, the artists direction has become more Celtic influenced. Drawing much inspiration from ‘Harry Clarke’, KT has become more focused on producing Celtic Art based on Irish Folklore.

Celtic Flautist by KT McCaffreyThe artist is revisiting his favourite tales of Irish Folklore and bringing them to life on the canvas. Every brushstroke creates a rich composition with strong colour contrasts, illustration and patterns. These paintings capture a moment in time through the art of storytelling.

Some of the artists more recent examples of Celtic art painting include ‘Aoife and Scath‘ and ‘Celtic Flautist‘.

KT has also appeared at several art exhibitions. These include the Toradh Gallery in Ashbourne and the Soltice Art Gallery in Navan.

KT McCaffrey exhibition at the Toradh Gallery in Ashbourne

An art exhibition by KT McCaffrey held at the Toradh Art Gallery in Ashbourne, County Meath.

KT McCaffrey at the Soltice Art Gallery in Navan

KT McCaffrey (right) pictured at the Soltice Art Gallery in Navan with 2D artist Dan Lynam (left).

KT McCaffrey – Connection with KT Artists

KT’s son, Barry McCaffrey developed KT Artists to showcase and sell his father’s art. While KT McCaffrey is not involved with the day-to-day running of the business, he creates a new artwork every month. KT Artists will initially be dedicated to the works of artist KT McCaffrey. Barry aims to attract other Irish artists to KT Artists.  He is watching for artists work that is uniquely Irish with similar values to his father’s work.

KT Artists is the home of all artworks by KT McCaffrey. All the artists original oil on canvas paintings are available to purchase exclusively from KT Artists.  KT Artists also offers limited edition fine art print reproductions versions of these original artworks.

Take a look at KT’s original paintings and fine art prints available exclusively from KT Artists.  KT Artists will keep you updated on all future paintings and prints by KT McCaffrey. Connect with us on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter and sign up to our newsletter for regular updates.