Alumni Stories - Mick Minogue

'Since NCAD, I’ve stayed highly creative… I wanted to live a happy life, so I thought it best if I sculpt, cut and make it up as I go along.'

Name:                   Mick Minogue

Current Career:   Freelance Creative and Art Director

Graduation Year: 2007

Discipline:            Art & Design Education, specialising in Textiles

Location:              Finland

What career path did you want to follow as a child?

In no specific order: I wanted to study everything Titanic; to be a volcanologist; study and find the Loch Ness monster; to be Bill Murray for a few years (which I still might do); do art; be an animator - most likely whilst doing art; find a Yeti; be a full-time Yeti carer; a teacher of something. But I was only good at art, so, an ART TEACHER; Artist.


Why did you decide to study at National College of Art & Design?

It was a place to go to explore all my unknown creativity, in Dublin, close to where my brother lives. 


How did you develop your career towards your current practice?

I went and studied art education to please my folks, with the guarantee of a solid job in a solid workplace. I tried it for a while, but I realised I hated being in school, and why did I think I wanted to be paid to be back in it? Since NCAD, I’ve stayed highly creative. I got to where I am today naturally, and not wanting to sound full of it, by not taking the easy options. I wanted to live a happy life, so I thought it best if I sculpt, cut and make it up as I go along. 


What is the one experience during your time at NCAD that has informed you most in your work to date?

I had four great years there, and a lot of growing experiences. I was training to be a teacher, but I was digging, seeing and feeling how all the teachers and tutors were teaching us. Some teachers seemed to rehearse practices they had learned at the beginning of their career and just repeated them. We had others, who I instantly attached to. I went into NCAD wanting to come out a master painter, but then I met Helen McAllister, Head of Applied Materials. Helen transformed me in a BIG way, because she was teaching her passion with no script. She was the first one to tell you if something was terrible. She was the kind of teacher I wanted to be. So, I stayed and learned what I could from her, spending years in textiles. If I ever step back into teaching, and I hope to, I think I would request some life lessons from Helen. 


If you were chatting with current NCAD students today what is the one piece of advice you would offer?

Pull the tablecloth. You MIGHT do it right and all the cups and plates stay in place, or they come crashing down into a mess. Getting it right first time, that’s it, you’re smug and done. Learn to love your mistakes enough to make them again, and again. The day where I think I have nothing else to learn will be my least favourite day. You’re never good enough, you can always do better, it’s awful boring otherwise. 


Given the global turmoil and change accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, what in your opinion are the opportunities for those in creative industries?

It’s a difficult time, for everyone, no matter what you’re involved in, everyone is in the same boat. I think for creatives, it’s a time to really explore your kindness. To use your talent, whatever it may be, to cheer someone up, to show someone you care. I can only talk from personal experience; I started posting my work to whoever wanted it for a small cost. and I am still at it. In my opinion, it’s a great time to use your creativeness. Be kind. Rewind. Play the hits.  


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