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Nial O’Connor is an Irish-born Australian illustrator and artist currently living in Shanghai. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Visual Communications from the University of South Australia before starting his career in Australian underground comics in the late 1990s. After working in both Australia and France, O’Connor came to Shanghai in 2006, where he has been working on commission projects and as a concept artist. O’Connor’s work incorporates a signature flowing visual style influenced by Celtic, Secessionist, Psychedelic, graffiti, and cartoon art. Using painting and drawing techniques, O’Connor captures the movement of the contemporary urban city and the varied personalities of its inhabitants in colorful cartoon-like visuals. The resulting illustrations reinforce a sense of theatricality and spectatorship in their narratives of everyday life, displayed in a manner that transcends reality. By focusing on the city itself as a dynamic setting, O’Connor transforms ordinary people and situations into fantastic scenes that are both strange and familiar.
Many of his works depict the uniqueness of his current surroundings in Asia, and especially Shanghai, as seen in the illustration and print Avocado Kid, based on the famous Avocado Lady store in the former French Concession. O'Connor's work has ranged from comic book illustrations to collaborations with Mon Bento to acting as art director for video games, and he has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions throughout Shanghai. undefined