BA (Hons) Illustration alumni illustrates The Hepworth Wakefield's Festive Market campaign

11 November 2022

BA (Hons) Illustration alumni Cáit McEniff has illustrated The Hepworth Wakefield's Festive Market campaign for 2022. 

Cáit is an illustrator and textile artist from Warrington, now based in Leeds. She likes to make work that’s rooted in ideas, imagination, curiosity and research. In Cáit's own words, her work is: "pretty wonky and usually analogue; (...) influenced by storytelling, folklore and being outside." 

Cáit McEniffImage: Cáit McEniff

Cáit graduated from her BA (Hons) Illustration degree in 2020 in the middle of the pandemic. She recounts: "I really struggled, the world was a hard place and I was pretty burnt out. I think it was about three months before I started making work again. At the time this was really hard and I felt really guilty, but looking back it was an important break."

Her way back to creating happened when her neighbour was giving away some Victorian coloured patio tiles. She spent the day making pictures from them with no exterior motive, no client, and loved it. She now tries to find the joy in making things, trying new mediums to keep her practice "healthy and sustainable". 

Cáit McEniffImage: Cáit McEniff

When asked about her creative process when approaching the brief from Hepworth Wakefield Festive Market campaign, she says: "I wanted to make the work for this project using analogue methods. This is where I find most joy in making work, engaging my hands and using real tactile materials. (...) It was important that I tried to make the imagery for this campaign joyful and playful to reflect the atmosphere of the Festive Market."

Image: Cáit McEniff and The Hepworth Wakefield

"Once I had all of the collaged assets it was almost a case of worldbuilding – putting different characters together and seeing how they interacted and told small narratives. It was like a big wonky festive jigsaw."

When making the collages for the project, Cáit didn’t stick anything down. Instead she scanned each cutting of paper and jigsawed the collages back together again on Photoshop. This was so the animation team at Hungry Sandwich Club would be able to animate the collages. 

Her best creative advice came from her Illustration tutor Matthew Hodson, who told her: “dance then stance”.

Cáit recalls: "I like that. Do the play and make the mess – then decide. When I was doing a project about folklore in my final year and worrying about how to approach my illustrations for it (Matthew) said, “embody the tradition of folk and just make”. 

She says: "Going into commissions I can be guilty of letting the pressure get to me and being swallowed by imposter syndrome. Remembering how lucky I am to get to make pictures for a living and that I chose this path because I enjoy making, reminds me to find the joy in it even when it’s hard. Stay hungry, try new things, keep looking, stay engaged. I think I’m constantly trying to tap into that childlike curiosity when it comes to making images, pure play and expression, no need for external validation.

Grace from The Hepworth Wakefield Marketing team commented of Cáit's work: "We are so pleased with how the illustrations have come out and are using them everywhere we possibly can." 

The Hepworth Wakefield have done a Q&A with Cáit that you can read here. 

You can see more of Cáit's work on her website here, and you can follow her on social media here

Cait McEniffImage: Cáit McEniff