By Karl Mullenkarl mullen field work

Karl is alive and well and living in Philadelphia.

Karl is  concentrating on his Visual Art and may be reached via the contact page for Art Projects.

Karl is also working composing music for the Philadelphia based dance company The Koresh Dance Company.

Past shows

October 10 - 18, 2009:
BIENNALE INTERNATIONALE D'ART HORS LES NORMES
Lyon, France

2008 Outsiders Outside Art Fair
Harbert, MI
August 29-31

The 15th Annual World's Greatest Folk Art Show and Sale

Folk Fest 2008 PR imageSelf-taught Art - Outsider Art - Southern Folk Pottery - Anonymous Works - New Discoveries

August 15, 16, 17
Atlanta, Georgia

The Largest and Most Important Self-taught Art Show in the World!

  • 100 Galleries
    85,000 square feet of Folk Art
  • Hundreds of Artists
    12,000 Visitors Attend Folk Fest Each Year
  • Produced and Managed by Local Atlanta Couple

Review in Columbus Dispatch

Colorful, untitled characters encourage interpretation
Sunday, June 1, 2008 3:46 AM By Kaizaad Kotwal

For The Columbus Dispatch
An image by Karl Mullen

His painted, kaleidoscopic reveries have a breathtaking quality.

Moody and magical, his abstract-expressionist works display a mature aesthetic.

Yet, among the art establishment, Karl Mullen is classified as an outsider -- one without formal training who needed to be "discovered" by the larger marketplace.

The term outsider doesn't do him justice: His intuitive understanding of color and space, mood and rhythm is strong enough to be the envy of a graduate from a prestigious art school.

Mullen, born and raised in Dublin, Ireland, dropped out of school at 15. In 1975, he immigrated to the United States.

At home in Philadelphia, he creates art and composes music. Mullen experiments with techniques and mediums.

For his latest series, he treats the paper with walnut oil and wax. Then, with his fingers, he massages raw, powdered pigments into the paper; the oil allows the color to soak into the paper's fibers, making the paintings seem to glow from within. He then draws on the surface using pastels and other implements.

Mullen doesn't title any of his works, not even applying "untitled" or numbers to the pieces. He says he doesn't want to interfere in any way with a viewer's interpretation. Sometimes, he says, he prefers their interpretations to his own.

He weaves into his paintings myth and lore from Irish history and culture, enhancing their folk quality. One can also see influences of African culture and artifacts. Many of his faces have a masklike quality -- primitive and modern at once.

He is daring in his use of forms and color. A favorite technique is to recycle old books and musical scores into his paintings. A particularly interesting collage features whimsical figures painted on two pages from an old accounting ledger.

In one of his largest works, six figures seem to float or dance against a vivid blue-and-red backdrop. Does it show a celebration or perhaps two gangs about to clash?

The way Mullen often draws his figures suggests rhythm and musicality -- not surprising given his other passion: music.

 

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