Former teacher taking her artwork to prestigious LA exhibition next month

Jacqueline Rooney, from Rostrevor, will showcase her pieces at the Parallax Art Fair in Los Angeles next month.

She is thought to be the only artist from the island of Ireland to have received an invitation and revealed the news came as a big surprise.

“It was a real pinch-me moment,” Jacqueline said.

“When I got the email, I didn’t know if it was serious or not.

“They said they loved my artwork and told me it would be a good fit for the show which is over a Saturday and Sunday at the end of April.

“The organisers explained that there are some high net worth clients attending and it is open to the public and businesses like big hotels and interior designers, so this is all quite exciting.

“To be there with my artwork in the heart of LA is a dream come true.”

Jacqueline hopes it can open up new possibilities.

She added: “I feel very proud as an Irish artist to be able to stand among these amazing people and represent this part of the world over there.

“It just opens up a world of opportunity for my art to go international.

“I have posted and shipped pieces all across the globe before, but now I actually get to travel over and physically be there. It is all so exciting.”

Jacqueline is now busy preparing for her first international exhibition while also running her homewares store and gallery in Rostrevor.

She will also be launching a new collection with business Kukoon Rugs, based in Belfast and Newry.

The rugs that they design will feature her artwork and will be launched over the Easter holidays.

Her art has already been transformed onto various homewares such as chairs, cushions and suitcases, and Jacqueline is looking forward to seeing her creations on rugs.

She explained: “A few years ago, when I looked into getting rugs created, they weren’t available to be made in as many colours as there are in my paintings. Rugs were limited to something like five or six colours, but technology has come a long way, and last year when Kukoon came to me wanting to collaborate on the project, I was over the moon.

“They are a local, family-run business and I feel that our brands have real synergy, so it was only natural to be able to team up and create something really unique.”

Jacqueline previously collaborated with BBC presenter and upcycling fanatic Jay Blades on a collection of armchairs featuring her artwork.

Two years ago, her gallery became an exclusive stockist of the Repair Shop star’s furniture collection Jay & Co — the only place to find his work in Ireland.

In March 2020, as the world went into lockdown, Jay contacted Jacqueline via Instagram saying he loved her artwork, before discussing a possible collaboration.

A year later, he got back in contact with Jacqueline to suggest an exciting collaboration which saw her diversify into the world of interior design.

He had created a bespoke chair made from a luxurious velvet fabric with one of Jacqueline’s striking blue and bright green paintings printed on it.

Jacqueline went full-time with her art six years ago and had been head of the art department at St Joseph’s High School in Crossmaglen for 12 years.

“I never thought that when I started out painting full-time, I would be opening up my own gallery and designing my own range of homeware after a collaboration with one of my idols, but here I am,” she said.

“I have been featured in Forbes magazine, Vogue and now I’m taking my artwork international — it’s absolutely amazing.”

​For more information follow @jacquelinerooneyart and @jrooneyartandhome on Instagram

Belfast Telegraph News