William Mulhall


    William Mulhall has built up a major international reputation as an innovative and dynamic artist. He is the first rock ‘n’ roll artist.” I was born within an earshot of a jukebox. I was raised on rock and roll”. He draws inspiration from the life of music bars, rock concerts and nightclub s of modern Ireland.Mulhall’s artistic world is populated with rock stars and party girls, dancing their lives away in neon drenched night town. But Mulhall is careful not to copy the lifestyle of his characters. “If I was to party like the characters in my pictures, I’d have been dead long ago. Those guys never stop.”

    Mulhall uses vibrant colours in his work to depict the modern world and has found that is only recently that his palette has found acceptance.”I have been exploiting colour for more than 30 years but there was quite a big resistance to colour. However, the trend now seems to be changing.” As the real world changes to become more like Mulhall painting so the artist himself works hard to keep ahead of the trend pionerred.”My work continually surprises me. I am always trying to break boundaries and move forward in direction.”

    Mulhall unique vision is all the more extraordinary considering that he was born in the middle of Ardglass, Co Down. “Northern Ireland is very traditional and people generally like traditional paintings such as landscapes. Other artist already do that well, so I thought I would break the mould and go for my own style.” Even so, like fellow Northern Ireland artist Van Morrison has broken through and stands outside his own society, commenting on it through his art.”Van Morrison used to come into my mothers shop to buy sweets when we were kids. We used to hang around in Coney Island. I painted it and he wrote a song about it.

    Mulhall first came to prominence in 1971 when he was asked by Jim Aiken to design a poster for a gig at the Ulster hall by British Rock group Led Zeppelin. William’s poster depicts the band appearing in the sky above the Harland and Wolff shipyard. Their trademark Zeppelin is shown crashing through the Belfast docklands.Led Zeppelin. were so impressed with his work Mulhall was invited to watch the gig on stage with the band on March 5th 1971. “When I met them, they were still shy lads. They asked me to come along and sit up on the stage.” He chatted with Led Zeppelin. between numbers and saw, along with other fans at the gig, the world premiere of the now classic Led Zeppelin. rock song “Stairway to Heaven”. “All of a sudden they were folky and I was there, I was on the high altar.

    Recently, Mulhall has moved into new territory with his portrait from noble Prizewinner Seamus Heaney. Mulhall met Heaney at his home in Dublin and the two hit it off at once.”Heaney is a Northern man like me and there is a common link through the Northern experience.” The painting now hangs in the University of Pennsylvania, USA.Mulhall has just completed a series of portraits from life of Bob Dylan at 60 after spending the afternoon backstage with the reclusive music legend at his recent concert in Kilkenny.

    Illustrated, feature articles on his life and art have appeared in Moro, Guitarist, NME, Hot press, in Dublin, The Sunday Tribune, Business Plus and New York art guide. A major interview with Mulhall in discussion with Brian Lally was broadcast on RTE Radio 1’s flagship Arts Show Rattlebag in August 2001.

    Material courtesy of Mojo Magazine & the New York art guide,2001

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