Moate Business College Art Graduate -Ellen McCann

Making her mark on the world of celebrity

The Kardashians, including ·momager' Kris, Kim, Khloe, as well as the likes of jLo, and designer Michael Costello, are just some of the celebrities paying attention to the work of a talented Moate artist, Ellen Mccann. Ellen, who goes by Nelle for the purposes of her art, set up Nelle Illustrations a year ago and since then the 26-year-old who resides in Galway, has won celebrity recognition from across the globe. Creating digital art that depicts "empowered women", Nelle says she has always been creative, and knew that a career in art was for her. However, art through academia was something that Nelle discovered wasn't for her. "I've been a creative person for as long as I can remember.


Drawing on the walls of my house when I was a child which can still be seen today if you chip away some of the paint, I entered and won a lot of art competitions in school," begins Nelle, who did an art and design course in Moate Business College. While there, she was fortunate to be chosen to live and work in Barcelona as part of what's termed the 'Leonardo Project'. "Fifteen people from the entire college got picked to participate and I happened to be lucky enough to be one of them. I was shocked when I was told I was picked. Going to Barcelona was one of the best experiences of my life to date," she continues. "It changed me as a person, it really opened my eyes. It was amazing to live as a local and be part of such a creative city like Barcelona for a few weeks. And I'll always be grateful to Moate Business College for giving me that experience."


That's when Nelle knew she wished to pursue a career in art, and enrolled in an art and design course in Galway's GMIT, where she met some terrific people, but found the college course wasn't for her. "After a number of years I realised that particular course hadn't turned out the way I had hoped and it didn't offer what I had been looking for, so I dropped out. I got a part-time job and worked for a few years. I also completed a TEFL course teaching English as a foreign language during this time.

Healing through art

"Anxiety is something that I've had to deal with from a young age and I found myself feeling more and more anxious during this time," continues Nelle. "I was feeling extremely fed up and uncertain about what I wanted to do with my life. So one night I happened to be browsing through my Instagram account and I came across some digital artists. "This was completely new to me and I found myself very intrigued. So I looked into it further and decided I wanted to give it ago. I went and taught myself the necessary programs needed to do this and began experimenting with digital art. "So from that day on I spent hours and hours creating art. I often spend up to 80 hours a week. There's been plenty of late nights, early mornings creating artwork. But I love it. It makes me happy and also helps with my anxiety.



Other celebrities and brands that have been bowled over by Nelle's Illustrations were Lancome, Maybelline New York, Atsuko Kudo Latex, Robert Cavalli, and even Ireland's Robbie Henshaw. Michael Costello, whose creations can been seen on the red carpet worn by A-listers, personally got in contact with the artist to compliment her work. Not only that, he asked her to create some illustrations of jLo, which both he and Jennifer Lopez shared to their millions of followers on Instagram_ But it doesn't stop there for the artist. Kim Kardashian, along with her sister Khloe Kardashian and mother Kris Jenner have shown some love to the Irish artist on more than one occasion. Both Kim and Khloe Kardashian previously liked some of Nelle's artworks on social media, with Khloe even commenting "@NELLE1717 Amazing!!!" on Twitter. And recently, Kris Jenner got in on the action, by reposting an illustration Nelle created of the Kardashian/Jenner clan at Kanye's Yeezy season 3 launch, to her 11.2 million followers on Instagram.

"People's reactions are also something that interests me so sometimes I like to push the boundaries of my art to see how people react." At the moment, apart from working all hours to create a successful art business~ Nelle also works as social media online business training company based in Galway city. "I’ve been living in Galway city for about seven years now. I love living here because it's a cultural, creative place all year round. The attention I've received from celebrities and designers has really given me drive and motivation to keep going. "It's proof to me and to anyone who has dreams or goals that you really can do whatever you put your mind to regardless of what some people might say. I believe in my art and I think if I keep working hard I will reach success. ''A lot has happened in a year so that in itself is an achievement. I'm very excited about the future. I do think there's so much pressure and negativity surrounded by not having a degree or going to college. I know a lot of people who have degrees, masters and even PhDs that can't get a job. College isn't for everyone and that's completely okay, but there shouldn't be so much pressure put on people to go to college if that isn't what they actually want. 'I’ve reached more success from doing what I actually wanted to do than I had when I was in college. My motto in life is do what makes you happy and do it today." To find out more about Nelle's work, check out Instagram (@nelle1717l as well as Facebook. Twitter, Pinterest and her website Nellelllustrations. com.