Meabh Mulholland is a multi-media visual artist based in Belfast who is graduating from Plymouth University. Meabh spoke to the Jumble about inspiration, illustration, the creative process, and the lock down.
“Most of what I create is in some degree a visual representation of the emotions I’m trying to process at that time, having the opportunity to process your own trauma and make something beautiful with the potential to help others is a really beautiful thing.”
My inspirations are constantly changing, from the important people in my life to support from my creative peers. Resources that we can currently access today cannot go unappreciated, how cool is it that we can just click the explore section on Instagram and see art created by hundreds of different personalities around the world? My current obsession is the Rubberhose art style of the 1930s, classics such as Betty Boop that just radiate so much positivity, you can tell the animators really loved what they were doing. Another huge inspiration to me is music, especially music by small creators such as Girlpool. They create with the purpose of expressing their emotions at that point in their life to whoever wants to listen. I think that is really comparable to the fast-paced art community that exists today.
I would consider what I create as personal because my style never stays the same, usually every few months I’ll adapt it into something new. I’m still experimenting with everything and anything that inspires me, and I think it’s important as an artist to never restrain myself to one type of style for the sake of my ‘brand’. I believe experimenting and having the opportunity to express ourselves in a visual way helps us grow and discover who we are as artists.
The lock down has heavily impacted my creative motivation. While I typically create every day, I was unable to for over a month, and I was punishing myself for that. Leading up to and the beginning of the lock down was a dark moment for me and I was fortunate to be able to seek help through the resources of Northern Ireland’s mental health service. For the first time, I was needing to learn how to take everything one day at a time, and not be angry if I couldn’t be productive. I think it’s extremely difficult in this age of social media where we are constantly seeing hundreds of creators showing their best side and continuing productivity without any kind of break, that we as creatives put productivity on this pedestal that we can never achieve while trying to combat this ruthless algorithm and ‘make it’ as artists. I’ve learnt during this time that we cannot blame ourselves for a ‘lack’ in content or if we need to step away to focus on ourselves. We need to remember why we wanted to be artists and roll with it, love and be confident in what we create, and the rest will come.
My newest project is under development and will be online by early June. It is a zine called ‘Sertraline’. I was scared for so many years to try antidepressants because of the amount of stigma that surrounds not only antidepressants but mental health in general especially within Northern Ireland. This zine will be aiming to simplify the common misconceptions that are spread surrounding their side effects and impact, while at the same time allowing me to express what I went through before and during the process of choosing this type of treatment and processing through my own trauma. It’s a project dear to my heart and I cannot wait to publish it!