KARL MULLEN Karl Mullen Main < BACK

Karl Mullen was born in 1954 in Derby, England and grew up in Dublin, Ireland with five sisters and two brothers. He now resides in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where he paints fulltime. He was expelled from high school at fourteen and began working in an electrical factory and bagging groceries. He lived in London and Paris and illegally immigrated to the U.S. in the 1970s. He started a punk band in Pittsburgh in the 1970s called Carsickness, which evolved into his current band, Ploughman's Lunch that fuses Gaelic sounds with rock.

With no formal art training, he has developed his own techniques and works outside the boundaries of traditional art. He will paint on anything from paper to automobile hoods, toilet paper, receipts, coffee cups, parking tickets, milk cartons, old books, movie stubs, and paper napkins. Mullen paints with his hands and uses raw powder pigments, walnut oil and wax mediums. His images are inspired by Irish folklore consisting of dreams, boxers, mountains, ghosts, whiskey, cities, and love. Mullen describes his intent: "I am as concerned with magic as I am with meaning. I still cling to the notion that art can mean something, that the individual can mean something. That, beyond the social mask, art and art making are a vital and necessary activity."



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