Shawn McNulty: 100 Creatives
Number 40: Shawn McNulty
Years spent living in MN: 37
There are many layers to the paintings of Shawn McNulty. Each piece begins with a series of sharp, spontaneous movements. Next, layers of bright colors are applied, as abstract shapes and landscapes take form. Finally, the artist scratches at bits, revealing forgotten elements previously hidden beneath the surface. The result are pieces that draw the eye in with their bold simplicity, and encourage further exploration with their unexpected depth.
In addition to his paintings, the St. Paul-native, who is currently residing in Hopkins, is also a founding artist of the Rosalux Gallery. The space is currently celebrating tens years as an exhibition space, making it Minnesota's longest running arts collective.
Name three things that are inspiring your work right now:
1. Gerhard Richter
2. Hans Hofmann
3. Joan Mitchell
Name three things that inspired and/or motivated you as a budding creative type:
1. Mark Rothko
2. Robert Rauschenberg
3. Richard Doolittle (Tartan High School Art Teacher)
What was your last big project?
I was commissioned to do ten 30" x 60" diptych pieces for a country club in Midland, Michigan about a year ago.
What do you have going on now or coming up in the near future that should be on our radar?
I have a show at Rosalux Gallery called "Flashing Red" that will be on display during the month of April. The opening reception is April 7 from 7 to 11 p.m. My studio at the Thorp Building will be open for Art-A-Whirl in May as well.
Creative/career high point (so far)?
My creative high point thus far is inventing a "shoe palette knife." My initial layers are very aggressive, and it's a more efficient way to start the canvas on the floor. Also, there are unique forms that happen in this process that I could not make using my hands.
My career high point has been transitioning to a full-time artist, and working with one of the architects at the Setai Fifth Avenue Hotel in Manhattan on the acquisition of 200 of my archival pigment prints for their corridors.
What has been your biggest challenge as a creative type?
I create a large volume of work every year, and there's a lot of time put into archiving, promoting, and displaying/storing each piece. I also ship about 75 percent of my work directly to clients, so I basically had to become my own art shipping company.
How has the Minnesota scene changed since you began working here?
I would say the scene has become more cohesive, probably due to the internet and social media. The Northeast Minneapolis Arts District has really grown a lot in the past 10 years. I am a founding member of the Rosalux Gallery cooperative, which opened in 2002. We have helped many younger artists kick-start their careers. We also give established artists an amazing space to show their work.
Name another local creative type that you're currently excited about:
John Diebel's recent show at Rosalux was excellent, and his new collages showed a notable progression in his style.
What has been your most surprising discovery as an artist?
It takes a very long time to find your voice.
Do you have a favorite color? What is it and why?
Light blue. I can always find room for it in a piece, and I like that it's found naturally in sky and water.
How about least favorite color?
Hot pink or magenta is not my favorite, though I do use both sparingly.
Do you have a suggestion for someone whose work we should be checking out? Feel free to leave your top picks in the comments.
Past creatives, so far:
81. Joseph Scrimshaw
80. Adam Turman
79. Raul Osorio
78. Kristin Berwald
77. Rudy Fig
76. Laura Fulk
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