Karl Mullen, born Dublin, Ireland, lives and works in Philadelphia. He has developed his own non-traditional approach to art making and materials, utilizing walnut oil, raw powder pigment and a wax medium that coalesce into color-saturated, luminous images. Painting largely with his hands, Karl creates distinctive, poetic figures that float on fields of color. The imagery in his paintings is born out of Irish mythology, family and dreams.
Recent shows of Karl's work include:
- The New York Outsider Art Fair
- The Intuit Show, Chicago
- Folk Fest, Atlanta
- Arte Singulaire, Lyon, France
- Works on Paper, The Armory, New York City
- New Voices, Judy Saslow Gallery, Chicago
- The Outsiders Outside. Judith Racht Gallery, Harbert MI
- Solo Exhibit: New Work on Paper, Lindsay Gallery, Columbus, Ohio
- Solo Exhibit: New Work on Paper, Hudson Gallery, Toledo, Ohio
Mullen paintings reside in many private collections in the United States and Europe and in the permanent holdings of Robert Morris College, The Polk Museum and The Hurn Museum. They were also showcased in the PBS syndicated TV series Rare Visions & Roadside Revelations and are included frequently in art/design magazines such as Home Accents and Elle Decor.
Karl Mullen also takes a highly original approach to music making -- painting with sound. He avidly documents city and street sounds and transforms them into soundtracks for theater and contemporary dance companies. He is regularly commissioned by Philadelphia's Koresh Dance Company, has guest composed for Donald Byrd Spectrum Dance Theater in Seattle.
Karl is also a singer/songwriter and is currently working on a new CD, much of which was recorded in a cabin in Appalachia. In the 1970s Karl founded and led the legendary Pittsburgh Punk band Carsickness. The Ploughman's Lunch and Karl Mullen Band followed, and his song "Whiskey from the Field" — recorded by Scottish folk legends The Battlefield Band and acclaimed Irish folk artist Pat Kilbride — received a Grammy nomination.
Karl is highly engaged in the community and believes strongly in the importance of art making and creative encouragement in children's lives. He taught art for many years at The Jewish Community Center and in Montessori Schools in Pittsburgh, and most recently was invited to Manhattan's Ross Global Academy to collaborate with students in one of the most progressive art programs in the country.
As a result of his artistic involvement in the community he received the People's Award from The Thomas Merton Center and was named one of the region's Top 50 Cultural People by the Pittsburgh Post Gazette.
That same sense of community translates well to the Internet, and Karl welcomes you to join him on
For periodic updates, upcoming shows and news from the artist submit your e-mail here.