Chris McQuinlan has been surrounded by art his entire life and dreamt of having his own comic characters displayed on the streets of Melbourne when he started sketching as a teenage boy. Ten years on, Chris is an established illustrator and designer who continues to draw inspiration from comics, video games and the thriving community around him.
As a participating artist in Me and UooUoo: The RCH150 Anniversary Art Trail, Chris designed the brightly coloured “Clinging to the hands of life” UooUoo which is an ode to his friends who have experienced the loss of children and symbolises humanity’s need for love and nurturing, no matter your background or the life you lead.
“As I got older, I began to realise how unfortunately common it is for parents to lose a child during those early moments of life, with so many families experiencing this unbearable heartbreak. I wanted to acknowledge these struggles in my design, but also highlight the lighter side of resilience through the characters featured on the UooUoo, who are all reaching out and showing support for each other in society,” explained Chris.
During the initial painting process, Chris was joined by his young daughter April in the studio who was enamored by the UooUoos. Much like the children currently exploring the art trail throughout the streets of Melbourne and Geelong, April thoroughly enjoyed pointing out her favourite features of each UooUoo sculpture and at one stage, even helped her father paint parts of ‘Clinging to the hands of life’.
Earlier in his career, Chris and his friend created a comic book series. During this time they met a young boy who became obsessed with their characters. “He bought all the merchandise, visited us at conventions and would always eagerly await new editions,” said Chris
“That’s when I realised the impact that my art can have on kids. That moment still inspires my design process to this day,” Chris explained. Chris feels extremely proud to be able to support The Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH).
“It is awesome to be able to support the RCH in such a creative way and have my art displayed in the heart of Melbourne.”
Since the art trail commenced on January 20, Chris has been inundated with positive feedback from the community who continue to share images of their art trail adventures using the hashtags #rch150 and #meanduoouoo.