Drawing upon her love of the camera, and the relationship between the camera and the model, Nuala Mulligan creates bold screen prints of strong, beautiful women. Nuala has always been fascinated by the power of storytelling: the idea of good and bad; of courage and kindness; of beautiful heroines. For her first collection in the UK, Nuala uses block colour to portray iconic figures (Marilyn Monroe, Twiggy and Audrey Hepburn) in a new light.
Nuala studied Fine Art Mixed Media at the University of Westminster where, she says, “it was great to be an art student, to be given a studio and to create work all day.” Nuala is particularly inspired by the way that materials can be manipulated in order to strengthen an image. Screen printing, she says “is what you can hide in the dark and bring out in the light. It’s having colour layered upon itself, adding to the idea of beauty.” Nuala loves being in the workshop: putting on her overalls; getting her materials out; using pressure; pushing and pulling to create a piece of work.
First, she chooses the image she would like to work with. Then, it’s deciding which part of the image is going to be played with, which subtle variation of colour will be applied and, when working with multiple images, which colours will complement one another. Once printed, the colour is layered and, finally, a black gloss screen is applied. “You have to be quite methodical and strict,” Nuala confesses. “You need to know, quite clearly, what you’re aiming for.”
Nuala is rather poetic in the way that she talks about her work. She has a real passion for her tools, and the journey from capturing her subject right through to the final artwork. “Beauty is something that comes from within. It is like a flower blooming because, you may take someone who is shy, but as soon as those lights are on there is a beautiful flow between photographer and the model.”
Nuala’s understanding of art as a “constant commentary of the world we live in” is a driving force behind her screen prints – one that connects with her audience on a wider level.