I first stumbled upon Delaney’s work last October on Pinterest. I was so taken by the vulnerable and feminine feel of her collages/drawings that I published this post, highlighting some of my favourite pieces (Currently the most popular thing I’ve ever contributed to the internet, thanks girl!). I am obsessed with her combination of mixed media and prose. I think the honesty and rawness of her work is what makes it so good; it’s completely relatable. It feels as though I am reading her visual diary (I guess we somewhat are?) and, in turn, creating something I know I’ve felt but couldn’t find the words for. Since that initial post, I’ve had the opportunity to contact Delaney and she’s been cool enough to answer a few questions for me!
She’s also working on a really interesting project in which she is filling a Moleskin sketchbook of character drawings and quotes that are submitted to her (which she mentions below). You can read a full explanation on her blog and some of the posts here. (She’s agreed to do one of me which I am incredibly excited about!)
name: Delaney O’Connell
hometown: I can’t really decide between Raleigh and Winston-Salem, I consider them both my hometowns
current location: Raleigh, NC
educational background: I’m in my senior year of high school
aspirations (long term/short term/both): I want to have more direction in my life. To not doubt myself all the time and be friendlier to people who are friendly to me. I want to find things that make me happy and dedicate myself to them, whether it’s people or a hobby. I want to live up to my potential.
at this moment you are: Sitting in my bed and trying to decide what to do today.
last book you read: Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling. I’m currently reading The Kite Runner.
currently listening to (at this moment or generally): Jolene by Dolly Parton
explain the work (artistic or otherwise) you do in three words: late-night-thoughts, colors, puzzles (i feel like everything has it’s place and I’m just putting it together)
how/when were you introduced to drawing/collage/art in general?: My mom’s family are artists—potters, painters, woodcarvers, photographers—so I guess it’s in my blood? I’ve always had art offered in school and it just comes naturally to me
favourite artists?: The old ones: Frida Kahlo, Egon Schiele, Van Gogh
The new ones: Hope Gangloff, Kendra Yee, Julia Pott, Alexandra Levasseur, Aidan Koch
biggest personal achievement thus far?: I’m not sure; I don’t really think in goals and achievements but I’ll let you know if I have one.
what do you not want to do in your professional life?: I’m thinking something psychology based but I’m not sure what yet.
what would you do if money was not an issue?: Art therapist that travels the world (haha)
piece of literature has impacted/influenced you the most? Harry Potter shaped my childhood, White Oleander is the most beautifully written book I’ve read, or it might be House of the Spirits, I think about that one a lot too. Also I just read a poem by Marty McConnell called “Frida Kahlo" and it might be my favorite poem. I made a collage based off this part that goes "heart leaking something so strong they can smell it in the street." It’s so pretty/powerful.
what I love most about your work is how genuine it is, can you elaborate on your creative process? For the words, I have these phrases running on a loop thought my head and I guess I feel like a need to put them somewhere? I have all of these old books with black and white photos and I find ones that go with the phrases or vise-versa. I have a bunch of other junk that I find that is helpful for art as well–pretty papers, fabrics, bottles, pressed flowers, etc. My parents call me a hoarder.
Then I decided to do my character moleskin project because I like drawing people and I was thinking about how other people have phrases/mantras running though their heads as well, and it would be fun to get that all down in a little book. Plus more interactive and less self-absorbed, ya know?
what do you do when you are blocked creatively?: Hahhaha I don’t do anything. I can go weeks without making anything outside of art class. I wish this wasn’t the case but whatever.
what do you listen to/read/watch/eat for inspiration?: I don’t know why but whenever I’m doing a project that takes a long time I put on Joanna Newsom. For some reason she’s good to paint/draw to. And I eat chocolate and drink coffee.
your favourite coffee shop: Krankie Coffee in Winston-Salem. I go to Morning Times in Raleigh a lot. There’s this open-air one that has talavera tiles and is kinda Mexican looking in Raleigh that I want to go to but it’s so cold right now. Also I forgot what it’s called.
biggest pet peeve(s): Chewing/heavy breathing in my ear, know-it-alls
something you want to learn: Spanish, Geography (name all the countries on a map), probably more about psych. and also I love learning new words.
best piece of advice you have received: "be happy where you are"