Institute of Art Design + Technology
Dún Laoghaire

Kym O Neill 

Design for Stage + Screen

Becoming a makeup artist and character designer has opened up a new creative playing field for me, as well as bringing in opportunities I never knew were possible before. I always knew I had a love for art and the creative from a young age, and growing up I always knew the more imaginative path was the one for me.

Major Project: The Year of The Dragon

Influenced by the lore and cultural context that created the symbol of the ancient Chinese Dragon. A branch of research continued from my thesis ‘The Symbol of The Dragon in Chinese Culture: Celebrating The Lunar New Year.’ My aim is to design a creative representation of the symbol of the dragon in Chinese culture.
The dragon is one of the twelve animal zodiacs of the lunar calendar. It happens to be the only mythical creature in the cycle. According to my research thesis, I discovered how the dragon is considered the symbol of China.
I used influence from Chinese New Year traditional dragon dance, Chinese opera and ancient Chinese artefacts to create my looks.
My aim was to create a gallery of images representing the essence of the Chinese dragon, and a celebration of culture.

Thesis: The Symbol of The Dragon in Chinese Culture: Celebrating the Lunar New Year

This thesis is concerned with the magnificent and historical Chinese culture and heritage. It investigates the origin of the symbol of the mighty dragon and how it came to be a national emblem. It examines the cultural resonance surrounding this auspicious beast and seeks to examine how his divine manifesting powers correlate to the infamous Spring Festival (Chinese New Year). This examination includes detailed discussions of Spring Festival and its origins, of the use of the Dragon as a symbol in imperial Chinese clothing, and of the integration of this symbol within the Spring Festival. In the exploration of this symbiotic relationship between the dragon and Chinese New Year, it will consider how external factors such as the recent Covid-19 pandemic affected this age-old festival.