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Watch: Talented Armagh artist who ‘ran away from art’ because of anxiety picks up easel again

An Armagh man looking to make an inroads back into the art world following a ten-year hiatus has told of how his passion for the subject has never gone away.

Jonathan Hackett admits that although he “ran away from art” in the past, he is back and ready to put in the grind to make a name for himself in the local art scene.

He recently set up ‘Shibaroo Studios’ on social media and is keen to jump out of his comfort zone to boost his brand and image.

We met up with Jonathan in the Market Place Theatre in Armagh – a place where he dreams to see his art displayed some day – to chat about his career and how, while he may have left art, art never left him.

Jonathan gained his National Diploma in Art at SRC in Armagh, before obtaining his Higher National Diploma from SRC Lurgan and moving to Belfast to apply for jobs in graphic design.

Despite being successful in his applications and securing a job, Jonathan says that he felt “no elation, just panic”, and did not stay in the job for long.

He said: “When I look back, I wasn’t comfortable in my own skin. I wasn’t confident and didn’t have any self belief.

“I didn’t just run away from that job, I actually ended up running away from art in general, just because of those fears and that anxiety. I just put all my pens, my paints and my pencils all away and never looked back.”

Jonathan then continued in his day job for a number of years, but his passion for art never faltered. By December 2022, he decided that he couldn’t keep running, so decided to build a profession in art from the ground up.

He set up his Instagram and YouTube accounts to document this new journey, one which he hopes will take him to the Armagh Craft Fair.

It hasn’t been easy; Jonathan says that it was a “real step out of my comfort zone” but that he was convinced that he had to put himself out there in order to make it work.

“It took a lot of leaps of faith, but I’m passionate about this so want to give it the best opportunity to succeed”, he said.

You can see Jonathan’s work on his Instagram profile, and follow his journey in art on his YouTube vlogs.

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