Creature Emporium Exhibition @ Freedom

Meet Blair McCafferty, the creative mind behind the bright, colourful and fun little corner of the world known as the Creature Emporium. He is our current artist exhibiting with us in the salon until January.

Irving and Blair at the exhibition opening

Hi Blair, could you tell us a little bit about yourself?

My background is in graphic design, I did a lot of different courses, which gave me a passion for a variety of different media studies. My degree funnelled me down a web design path, which I didn’t want to do so after I left I experimented with going self employed and doing freelance work. Then ultimately decided that I wanted to go back to something that I love… which is doodling (and creating artwork).

Is this your first exhibition?

This is my first exhibition. It’s been amazing. To be able to meet Irving after so many years again and have something in the past that connected us. For Irv to welcome artists and to be open to let people like me absolutely cover his salon is very kind. When I first met Irving I was only 10 and did some skateboarding at a fashion show for him, one of the first charity shows that he did.

Have you always created?

In one way or another, yes. Skateboarding is my first love and I’ve been on my skateboard since the dawn of time. It’s always been my primary creative outlet until I started getting back into art and designing more.

Blair McCafferty

What is your favourite piece that you have created and why have you chosen it?

I did a lot of artwork for a family in Malta consisting of unique canvases, panels for kids walls and control panels for a space ship they had in their bedroom. Lucky kids! That was great because they loved where it was going and gave me a lot of free reign to go wild with my ideas.

What has been your most challenging piece?

Design work can be a real challenge. Sometimes it’s hard to bear in mind that ‘the customer is always right’. You can end up designing something that you are very happy with, only for it to be changed and adapted to something the client loves but you aren’t happy with. As an artist, you never want to put your name to work that you aren’t 100% on, so it’s a case of finding an equilibrium. Where both you and the client are happy and you are confident with the finished artwork.

Blair was one of the artists on the hugely successful Oor Wullie’s Bucket Trail in Dundee this summer

What inspires you? Do you have favourite artists/ art heroes?

80s colour schemes, old skateboard art, old computer games, all the artists under the ‘Designer Vinyl’ umbrella (i.e. Frank Kozik, Jeremy Fish, Jeff Soto, Dr A and Tara McPhearson). I’ve always loved big bright, bold artworks with debatable colour palettes.

I love people’s back stories. I most enjoy people who ended up being phenomenal artists but had no idea what they were doing with their lives 10 years ago. It gives everyone hope.

Artwork by Jeremy Fish

What are your favourite materials/ tools/ equipment?

Skateboards, POSCAs and spray paints.

Is your art your fulltime job? What do you do outside of your art? What are your hobbies? What do you love?

Yes it is. I also help out friend’s companies occasionally building skate parks (Carnoustie and Newport) and whatever else keeps the wolf from the door!

Irving’s three creativity questions:

What is creativity?

Creativity is in everyone, it just comes out different. It could be macaroni on a bit of card or a detailed technical drawing. It’s in the eye of the creator.

Everyone’s got creativity but some people find it harder to find than others. Others don’t have confidence in what they do. I think that if you don’t care about trying to create something for others or trying to fit in and focus on doing something expressive for yourself it will make your creative journey much easier and fun.

How do you use it?

I like experimenting. I think I have developed my style now so it’s less about making things look consistent but to just open my mind and be a bit silly sometimes. It’s like my therapy and my way of making a living too. So sometimes it can be stressful but I’m thankful to be able to do something I love.

Describe in 3 words:

Unlock the madness!

Where can we find out more about you and your work?

You can find more about me and my work on the Creature Emporium website, Facebook, Twitter, Etsy, Ebay and Amazon.


Irving Miskell-Reid, Blair McCaffery and Suzanne Scott at opening night


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