Belfast Telegraph

Mum and daughter combine skills for new Titanic venture

By Lesley Houston

What happens when you merge the collective talents of a mum with an innate entrepreneurial spirit and a daughter with an artist's eye? You get a recipe for a potentially lucrative creative industry – and perhaps even a novel student job to boot.

The mother and daughter team of Julie and Kerry Fitzsimmons have made their first foray into a commercial venture, producing hand-drawn postcards depicting the Titanic story.

The 48-year-old sales manager at the Ramada Plaza, Belfast recognised a niche in the tourism merchandise surrounding the iconic ship after her 18-year-old daughter produced an acclaimed series of artworks at Friends School, where she just completed her A-levels.

Three of the works will now be turned into sets of postcards.

The mother and daughter team are hoping demand will result in a reprint and maybe even spur on the production of a companion range of merchandise bearing the pencil images.

It all began with a school art project. Following a walking tour of Titanic's birthplace, Kerry depicted the legendary ship's story through a triptych merging of the Titanic itself, Harland and Wolff and the Pump House, with the end result netting her much acclaim.

Kerry's art stood out so much among her peers it was selected to appear at the Ulster Museum before being snapped up by the education authority, the CCEA, to appear on display on its Clarendon Road headquarters.

The images are also being reproduced in the next Belfast Harbour Commissioner's annual report.

The cards went into print last week and should be available for sale at the Pump House this week.

The postcards have been produced by local advertising agency, The Mission Control, which has waived fees for the initial print run.

Proud mum Julie said of the postcards: "They could be used as pieces of art in themselves."

She added: "We just wanted to see how far we could go with her art work and to test the water. If they sell out we intend to keep printing them."

Surprisingly, Kerry said that art isn't her main passion, and she hopes to pursue a career in musical theatre following a degree in English and Drama. But the talented teenager says she will never give up the hobby which has brought her such success.

"It would be such a great idea if I can do something with my art and somewhere like St George's Market would be my ideal destination to sell it to the public."

Belfast Telegraph