They’re young, gifted and on the verge of making big breakthroughs in their careers. Esther McCarthy meets the new faces of 2019.
Steven has been establishing himself as one of Ireland’s most promising young artists, with his last collection, Dawgs — featuring a series of colourful canines — proving a hit with his growing clientele and earning praise from top artist Graham Knuttel.
His new collection, ‘Light on the Water’, is a departure, bringing his work into more abstract territory, and was born out of a very personal experience.
Over a year ago, he was diagnosed with malignant melanoma — a serious form of skin cancer — and underwent several surgeries to treat it. As he recovered, his art became an even more creative force than before.
“It was almost like a collection of lightness coming out of the darkness,” he says.
The resulting collection has been making waves among collectors.
He works in his trademark acrylic on canvas, but in this collection adds gold leaf, giving the paintings a striking sense of texture and tone.
Blending shades of phtalo blue, cerulean, gold and copper, they evolve according to how the natural light captures them over the course of a day.
“The first painting was inspired by Annie Lennox’s song, ‘Into the West’, and I love coming up with the right tones.
“My goal is to scale up in 2019 and to reach more people through my paintings. It’s about creating this work and touching as many people as possible with it.”
In a time of exceptional performances from our young acting talent in film and TV, Hazel Doupe stands out. Her raw talent and strong screen presence have already won her supporting performances on US TV series Into the Badlands and Frank Berry’s terrific prison drama, Michael Inside.
But it is her lead performance in a forthcoming movie filmed in west Cork that is set to garner some of her best reviews yet. The 17-year-old is exceptional as the lead character in Cork filmmaker Carmel Winters’ charming and stirring feature, Float Like a Butterfly.
An audience award winner at this year’s Cork Film Festival and a discovery award winner at the prestigious Toronto International Film Festival, it tells the story of a young traveller girl, Frances, who dreams of becoming a boxer.
She must overcome prejudice and conventions in order to emulate her idol, Mohammad Ali.
“I knew when I read the script it was going to be something special,” she says.
“It was very different to anything I’d ever done before. When we were in Cork, everybody was just like family. It was very communal. With any independent film you’re relying on the kindness and generosity of spirit of people to make the film.
"I remember just feeling over the moon the whole time. I remember feeling how important it was to me and how ecstatic I was to be working on it.”
The screenings have already generated additional interest in the young star who says that she wanted to entertain since the age of two. It’s set to be a busy release year for Hazel - she’ll also star in a supporting role opposite Barry Keoghan in the forthcoming drama, Calm With Horses.
Eve Belle doesn’t need time to consider her career highlight so far — that has got to be getting selected to open for top musician Hozier at his series of intimate, sold-out gigs in the Academy.
“It was very surreal to be supporting him as I’ve been a fan of his for years,” she says. “He’s a really lovely man and it was a brilliant experience. ”
Eve’s songs, penned from personal experiences and stories, and her striking voice have been gaining her a steady fanbase on the live music circuit.
Originally from Donegal, she credits a family love of music — and her parent’s many different musical tastes — with nurturing her own passion.
An EP, ‘Things I Once Believed’, was released in autumn and the most recent single, ‘First Impressions’ — a collaboration with rappers Tebi Rex — has been getting steady airplay.
"The best songs come from the most earnest emotions. The song falls into place around that. I tend to write about my experiences and things that have affected me.”
The 21-year-old is combining her degree studies in French and Spanish with her growing music career.
“I’m really excited to release the singles I’ve recorded. They’re very personal to me, I’ve got a new perspective from going to college and growing older. It gives you a lot of new experiences.”
He used to box for Ireland and often represented his country in his sport, boxing on the same squad as Carl Frampton and Katie Taylor. But Terry O’Neill had long dreamed of another career path — fostered by a love of movies — and boxing’s loss became cinema’s gain.
“I fell very very much in love with acting and felt this was what I wanted to do with my life,” he says now. “I’d always had an interest festering away but I never pursued it.”
After honing his skills in theatre, the Dubliner trained in top acting school, Bow Street, and has emerged as one of our most promising young stars.
He has appeared in three of the most-talked-about Irish movies of the year.
He stood out as a tough criminal in the prison drama Michael Inside, and had a supporting role in Dublin Oldschool.
But it was his role as a sex attacker who agrees to meet the woman he harmed in Alan Gilsenan’s drama The Meeting which won him the best reviews of his career.
“The Meeting was my first experience of being a leading actor in a feature film so that was really cool.
“It did have a big impact on people who saw it.
Terry has also made a name for himself in Dublin’s comedy circuit, performing regularly at various venues including the International Comedy Club, where he also hosts and MCs.
“Stand-up’s going well. I’m working on my first solo show at the moment.
“I love it, it’s so immediate and I love going on stage.
“It’s another form of performance, they’re both mutually beneficial. It’s a great buzz.”
Niamh McCormack may be just 17 years old but she’s already establishing herself in Ireland’s fashion scene, getting signed up with top agency Morgan the Agency and working for high-profile clients including Arnotts and Lifestyle Sports.
McCormack’s natural beauty and poise have made her popular for both catwalk and photographic campaigns, and she likes to bring a little drama into her work — she’s an acting student in Bow Street.
"A lot of people overlook it as posing but there’s a lot more to it. Modelling and acting are very linked up in certain ways.
"On a shoot they ask you to be in a certain mood and it can help you express yourself.”
As well as a number of national brands, Niamh also had the experience of modelling abroad for the first time, working for luxury fashion brand Trussardi in Milan.
“It was an amazing experience,” she says. “It can get lonely being so far from home but it was nice to make friends because it’s such a big city.”