Born in 1968, Orla Clancy grew up in a household were story-telling, art, music, farming, and books were part of life. Both parents encouraged her in painting and writing, and she studied languages at UCD, and later moved to the Netherlands. During her 6 years in Groningen, Orla taught English, became interested in translation and editing, and studied the human figure intensively at a local arts centre, experimenting and perfecting her drawing skills. She also created many painted landscape works, and continues to do so in between other projects.
She and her partner Dolf Patijn moved to Ireland and settled in County Limerick, and soon after Orla enrolled in Limerick School of Art and Design as a mature student in 2001. Her degree show and work after 2004 consisted of 'snapshot' paintings of people with little or no relationship with the artist, simply captured by sketches or random photography doing ordinary things, and simply chronicled by where these events took place. This train of thought culminated in her Street Party series, after which Orla's focus began to change during 2012.
Always an avid reader, Orla is also inspired by photography, cinema. Orla herself prefers to work with more 'traditional' media such as pencils and paints, but is also interested in the possibilities of Internet technology and social media and how these are affecting culture and cultures.