Institute of Art Design + Technology
Dún Laoghaire

Katie O Hara 

BA [Hons] Art

Katie O’Hara is a visual artist from Co. Dublin. She primarily makes works on paper, and gouache paint is her preferred medium. She also sees the written word as a powerful tool and she often combines both text and paintings to create visual stories that evoke a sense of fantasy and magic. She has also sometimes presented her paintings alongside found objects. Her work was exhibited at Pallas Projects, as part of the IADT student show In The Making: Butter, (February 2023).

Project Description

Through her process of making creatures, characters and the worlds for them to exist in, Katie knowingly indulges in escapism to ease her mind off the stresses of the modern world and her own sense of existential dread. By focusing on creating a world of her own, full of stories, her brain has something less stressful to think about when going to sleep at night. In addition, sharing these works with others is a way to offer solace. It gives viewers a moment to become lost in an imaginary world and forget about their own problems for even just a moment. Sometimes fantasy can help us all to cope with reality. Katie is driven by the sheer joy of bringing imagination to life through colourful, fun visuals and inventing a whole world through the combination of words and images.​

Creative Escapism; Art For Mental Health

My thesis explores how art provides a healthy outlet to indulge in escapism, discussing the benefits of using art as a method of therapy. Where an addiction to substances such as alcohol or drugs may be physically harmful to an individual, taking the time to draw or paint gives the mind a constructive task to focus on and even allow the person to express what they are going through in the creation of the work.
Whilst distraction is most often viewed as a bad thing, my thesis argues that some degree of giving into it is sometimes necessary in order to cope with stressful situations and take the edge off where life events may become too much to bear all at once. Art gives use a hands-on method of processing what tangles our minds or allows for the mind to shut off whilst still performing a task to occupy ourselves.