We can only believe what we consider to be true, but have we genuinely and thoroughly tested the truth of what we believe? My current work revolves around a fictitious individual who is grappling with the troubles of the world, wondering what meaningful and positive contributions he can make. With each subsequent drawing, an additional facet of this alternate world is revealed, a world derived from our world but which could also serve as a template for reinventing our own. Through the idiom of old advertising slogans painted onto buildings, attitudes are conveyed and questioning is encouraged.


A quizzical expression in my model prompted me to make a drawing that spoke of uncertainty. The title, Amnesiac Afternoon, implies that the past is unknown. Without a past, no future can be extrapolated. Without a future to visualize or a past to remember, only the present remains. It is intriguing to contemplate a present that has expanded to entirely fill one’s consciousness, so that neither preconceptions nor expectations can colour one’s vision of the world. What would this timeless experience be like?


The woman’s earring is an upside-down question mark.


Although I am not religious, I have used Christian motifs (as well as motifs from other religious or mythological origins) in my work because I find the imagery compelling. Here, a prone man attracts the attention of onlookers. Is he a street person? Has he been attacked? Should he be given attention? All these questions and more are implicit in the actions of the crowd, against the backdrop of a cathedral dwarfed by office buildings.


The hand of the foreigner is cropped by the edge of the composition in the large drawing. However, the small drawing that accompanies it does show a hand, with shiny dark liquid exuding from a wound. Is this the hand of the foreigner? Is it the hand of another with whom he shares something in common? Is it the hand of Christ himself?


The wet effect of the dripping wound was achieved by applying a generous drop of acrylic gloss medium to a dark charcoal application, producing a very convincing effect.

FOREIGNER ( detail )

All images and texts © Frank Mulvey 2016, except where otherwise credited.

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