Getting To Know Tara Costello & Shawn McNulty

Getting To Know… is a monthly article we will be publishing along with our monthly exhibitions at Rosalux to give you the chance to get to know our exhibiting artists a little bit better. In this first installment we sat down with our currently exhibiting artists Shawn McNulty and Tara Costello to find out what is going on with them and their art and here is what they had to say:

Who are your biggest influences as an artist?

McNulty: Rothko/Pollock, Hans Hofmann, Clyfford Still, and Richard Diebenkorn

Costello: All of my artist friends.

What are you doing when you are not making art?
Costello: Trying to figure out a way to be spending more time in the studio

McNulty: I like watching movies and binging on seasons of tv shows on dvd.  I also take my dog for walks and throw the ball for him numerous times per day.

Tara Costello, Plane, Venetian Plaster, 2012, 4’x4′

Can you tell us about the moment in your life when you realized you were no longer a student of art but an artist and how that transition occurred for you?

Costello: I think it was when I had my first show at Rosalux Gallery.I had other shows in other galleries but for some reason I knew at that time, I was committed to making being an artist work for me.

McNulty: I was living in a large house in Uptown with some friends after college.  When one of them moved out, I turned their bedroom into a studio and started working on four large paintings.  I believe it was during this process.

Where was your first show outside of university?

McNulty: It was at Rosalux Gallery in the Fall of 2002.

Costello: Apropos Painting Studio,group show.

Shawn McNulty, Scrubble, 2012,  acrylic & pumice on canvas, 40×40″


How do you get from the first spark of an idea to a finished work for exhibition?  Where do your ideas come from?

McNulty: I begin very spontaneously by mixing various colors and pumice on the canvas, and then forcing everything together with large palette knives.  I keep going with this process until I find something interesting, and a lot of the ideas come from the forms that take shape in the negative space.

Costello: I just start painting, there are many spark and non spark moments,I just keep painting until it’s done,it just happens.

What has been the most rewarding moment in your career so far?

McNulty: I completed a 20 piece commission for a business in Michigan in 2011, and they gave me total creative freedom on the project.

Tara Costello,Flashing Red (detail), Venetian Plaster 2011, 3’x3′


What do you feel you have accomplished with this newest body of work currently on exhibit at Rosalux?

Costello: I wanted to explore a different landscape than my past work.

McNulty: This body of work is  strong example of my signature style, along with pushing the boundaries on the looseness of my abstract landscapes.  I’m also experimenting with  some free floating forms that don’t go to the edge of the canvas.

What is the most embarrassing thing to have happened to you at an art opening?

McNulty: Every time I try to take a photo with Dan Buettner at an art opening, his eyes are closed.
Costello: I hug people to much.

Shawn McNulty, Stallion, 2012,  acrylic & pumice on canvas, 40×40″


What is your favorite word?

McNulty: Kerfuffle
Costello: Czechoslovakia

What do you wish people would say about your art?

McNulty: People often say that they recognize my art right away, and that’s probably the best compliment.
Costello: Any serious  conversation about my work,positive or not is always fulfilling.

If you had a $1,000,000 budget, what would you create?

Costello: I would build an amazing studio on the water.
McNulty: I would do giant paintings on the side of buildings, or a large Forkbridge and Strawberry sculpture.

What is coming up next for you?

Costello: Grant writing.
McNulty: My studio at the Thorp Building will be open for Art-A-Whirl, and I have a show in the main gallery of the Bloomington Art Center in January.

Tara and Shawn’s work will be on display at Rosalux Gallery in the exhibition, Flashing Red, through April 29th