Drawing Us In: Fatti Burke
Fatti Burke is the Dublin-based artist everyone has been talking about. Co-creator (with her father John) and illustrator of two best-selling books, Irelandopedia and the recently released Historopedia, her vivid and playful style of artwork has in recent years become as distinctive in Ireland as a pint of the black stuff. And with a penchant for affectionately depicting the minutiae of the everyday, she’s perfectly poised to take the international print world by storm.
Originally from Waterford, Fatti, known to her friends as Kathi, has been working as a freelance illustrator since graduating from the National College of Art and Design in 2012.
When many of her peers chose, post-graduation, to emigrate to the likes of America and Australia to find work, Burke decided to stay in Ireland, citing a love of the country and a determination to make it work as her motivation.
Hip, tattooed, and armed with a pen, Burke faithfully, playfully, and - most importantly - beautifully illustrates what it means to be Irish - then as now - and credits the bonding power of ‘Irishness’ as a primary inspiration for the work she does.
A member of both the Association of Illustrators and Illustrators Ireland, and represented by Art Associates Amsterdam, her work has scooped several awards including RTÉ Radio 1's Listener's Choice Award 2015 for Irelandopedia and joint third place for the Irish Book of Decade award at the 2016 Dublin Book Festival. The list of clients she has worked with is long and equally impressive, including heavyweights like Vodafone, Coca Cola, and AirBnB.
Her latest work, Historopedia, is a tremendous chronicle of over 10,000 years of Irish history - from prehistoric times to the first civilisations; from epic battles and glorious kingdoms to natural disasters, ancient rituals and beyond to more recent times like the 1916 Rising and Northern Ireland’s period of civic and political unrest known as the Troubles.
Endlessly entertaining and visually stunning, it’s informed by our country’s incredible backstory, peppered with stories and little-known facts and compiled in a timeline format with the help of Fatti’s father John, a frequent collaborator as well as a dedicated explorer, historian and (now retired) teacher. It’s an invaluable addition to the annals of both the art world and Ireland’s historical record.
If you’re tempted to think that summing up several millennia of a nation’s history would be a project for Burke to hang her hat on and call it a day, you’d be wrong; there’s still plenty more to come from the funky artist.