Shawn McNulty

Click image to enlarge.
Scroll down for social media links.


Dimensions: 30×30″
Medium: Acrylic and Pumice on Canvas

My work is dependent on design fundamentals: form, color, and composition.  My style explores the relationship between man-made structures and the natural world; the idea of recognizable shapes and structures living within irrational thoughts and emotions. I begin a new piece very spontaneously and become more detailed as the composition starts to show itself. The first layer is the most erratic and freeform as I mash and scrape together a variety of acrylic colors and pumice with commercial grade joint knives.  I invented a “shoe palette knife” which I use on early layers to challenge the way my body connects to the surface.   I also work the canvas on the floor using a Swiffer tool.  A dialogue is created with the painting, and it starts to show me what needs to be done. Thick layers of acrylic and pumice and are applied, scraped off, reapplied, sliced off, etc.  There’s a technique I call “scuffling” which involves a repetitive chopping motion with the palette knife resulting in approximate parallel lines.   The color fields interplay with each other, attempting to find common ground resulting in complex and interesting edges.  The process continues until a solution is found, always applying and mixing paint directly on the canvas, scraping away layers to reveal the ghostly characters of the previous.  There is a feeling of serenity in my work, but it’s draped over unbridled energy, which is breaking through it.  I don’t let you relax completely.


Dimensions: 24×24″
Medium: Acrylic and Pumice on Canvas


Dimensions: 20×20″
Medium: Acrylic and Pumice on Canvas

© 2021 Northeast Minneapolis Arts District. All rights reserved.