Allan Cavanagh is an award-winning Galway based cartoonist and caricature artist. Originally from Donegal, he moved to Galway as a teenager to study sculpture in GMIT. In 1997 he joined Macnas after working there as a student the previous year. His first job was the creation of over 300 slip-clay skulls for Druid Theatre Company’s Leenane Trilogy. He worked as a designer, performer, and trainer while there, designing the Carnival of Fools parade for the Galway Arts Festival, and diverse events from the Tour de France to the Ploughing Championships. He performed with Macnas in New York and Dallas, and took part in several exchanges with French theatre company Parole. He has appeared in a U2 video and on New Year’s Eve 1999 he performed with designer Michael Curry’s processional puppets in Times Square.
He contributed weekly cartoons to the Connacht Tribune for most of the ‘00s alongside Charlie Adley’s Double Vision, as well as devising health promotion material using cartoons, with the HSE and Galway Traveller Movement. He has produced on the spot cartoons at conferences for the HSE, NUIG, and the NHS among others, based on the themes being presented.
His cartoons have appeared in various publications, including Hollands Diep magazine and a school textbook in Germany. He has exhibited in Galway, France, Algeria, and the Netherlands. He represented Ireland at the 49+ la BD Francophone Cartoon Festival, Tourcoing in 2008 and in 2009 represented Ireland at the 2eme Festival Bande Dessinee in Algeria.
Allan draws live caricatures at weddings and corporate events. From January to June of 2016 he has drawn around 600 people, so has probably drawn a decent-sized town over his career so far! He has produced live caricatures for Yelp, Google, Amazon, Ulster Bank, Brown Thomas, Bank of Ireland, and many other organisations around the country, for staff and customers alike. His live caricatures are much sought-after for weddings, where he draws guests on personalised paper. His customised caricatures are also very popular for retirements, birthday gifts, and wedding presents.