Irish Designers Pay Tribute to Boston
After a few visits these artists felt inspired by the city.
In the heart of Dublin lives a small design group where workers are quietly paying tribute to cities in the US that they have a strong connection with. To do this, they create stylish designs of recognizable landscapes and buildings, and Boston is one of their latest subjects.
Me&him&you was established in 2010, and while they typically work on ways to bring their own city to life with their art and design concepts—recently they invited everyone in Dublin to share their fears on large blackboards around the city—the founders of the firm decided it was time to tap into an international marketplace.
From their studio in the center of Dublin, where they produce all of their own products, me&him&you co-founders Ronan Dillon and Peter O’Gara, trained in graphic design, work with both small and large clients. “But we also love to invent our own self-initiated projects,” Dillon explained.
The team’s latest example of that can be seen in their “City Screen Prints,” which includes an ode to Boston. Dillon said they chose Boston for this particular project series as “a reaction to all the Irish people we know who have moved all over the world.”
We talked with Dillon to find out what else inspired him to create his Boston-themed screen print.
Not to play into the Irish stereotype, but is it true you add a drop of Guinness to the ink you use for the prints?
We added a drop of Guinness to the ink in the Dublin city print. Dublin is our hometown, and we wanted to make this print that little bit [more] special. We produce our silk-screen prints in our small studio in Dublin and sometimes it can be thirsty work.
You should add some Sam Adams beer to the Boston one, since we’re sticking to stereotypes.
Yea, we could add some in the next round— it wouldn’t connect with the Cape Codder though.
Maybe you can just add some vodka instead of beer. Anyways, what made you decide to do a print of Boston as part of your series if you guys are all the way in Ireland?
Historically, there has been a lot of emigration from Ireland to Boston including members of my own family. We only produce prints of the cities where we have friends and families who have left Ireland looking for work. It’s a nice way to keep in touch. We’re lucky enough to have been able to visit, sample their signature drinks, and be inspired by their new homes.
There’s certainly no shortage of the Irish here in Boston. Did you do the research for your print by visiting us? Because a lot of times when out-of-state companies try and make a “Boston themed” product they miss the mark.
Yes. We’ve been to Boston a number of times so [we] have a good sense of the place. My first visit was on a family holiday [at the age of] nine. I also spent a summer living in the city and working on the Cape. My cousin just had a baby there, so I hope to visit again soon.
Were you inspired by your trip here to use these particular images for your design?
We chose these buildings not only because they are an iconic part of the Boston skyline, but also because their geometric, minimal design lends itself well to this simplified illustration style. What we want to portray is the simplest idea of the buildings, rather than exact replicas of the buildings themselves.
Did you have family and friends help you decide which buildings would best represent Boston? How about for the drink choice, since you picked the Cape Codder?
The buildings and cocktail we knew from our time spent in Boston. But yes, our friends and family were consulted along the way to get the local perspective. The cocktail was invented in 1945 and named the Cape Codder in the 1960s, so it adds an interesting bit of history [to the print].
Did you drink a lot of Cape Codders while here? I’ve never had one.
Last time I was there was eight years ago, when I was working as a lifeguard on Cape Cod, and I spent a good bit if time in the city, too. I’ve had a few Cape Codders alright—they are nice on a hot day, but I’m from Dublin so I’m a Guinness drinker.
Of course you are.