Ali Mullin

Mulholland, 2021
Oil on Canvas (4’ x 3’)

Favorite Occasions, 2021
Oil on Canvas (4’ x4’)

305, 2021
Oil on Canvas (3’ x 4’)

An Inexplicit Diary, 2021
Marker on Paper (16” x 24”)


Beginning this final year of college, I was sure of myself and what I thought I wanted. I felt strong and confident; I felt loved by the people around me. I felt known and loved by myself. I have felt a lot of internal confusion and frustration throughout my life; always wondering why I feel the way I do or lack the feeling I or others believe I should. Over the past year, I have navigated much of that confusion by finally allowing myself to feel freely, to love deeply, and to communicate clearly. But with love comes loss. With truth comes heartbreak. Making art is like falling in love for me; I lose myself in the process of creating something beautiful. Focus and attention for my surroundings disappears as I center in on the moment right in front of me, something which started as nothing and becomes everything.

My artistic journey this year emerged in a world of pure bliss. Painting with oil, I covered my canvases in clouds of color and figures filled with memory. The act of painting itself was a form of processing and of documenting the moments and images I held closest to my heart. The main objective in all of my artwork and in my life is to convey authenticity. The three oil paintings included in this thesis exhibition reflect the authentic atmosphere of living with my seven best friends and the utter euphoria I experienced during my last year of college. I wouldn’t change a single thing about those months during the fall because life only moves forward in the lessons of the past. You can’t predict the future or the actions of others, you can’t control anything besides yourself. Nothing has taught me more about myself and about relationships than my artistic process and the way in which it is so intrinsically tied to my personal relationships.

Presently, my art is more about processing immediate emotions and feelings rather than committing to rendering specific scenes reminiscent of a particular moment in time or an accumulation of diverse memories. The abstract marker and watercolor pieces which have overrun my current process are the signs of my mind working through the seemingly limitless thoughts I feel fighting constantly for space in my head at any given moment. Each work is made in one sitting; the process typically consists of journaling page after page before translating those thoughts and feelings into a less explicit form of expression through linework and color play. Organic forms repeat themselves and I find solace in the replicated contours of the various compositions which emerge through my hand. There is never a plan heading into the work; the value of color, how the forms fill my sketchbook page, and the texture of the linework are only realized in the moment of the mark making. The fourth and final piece included in my thesis depicts sixteen of these inexplicit journal entries. Edge along edge in a rectangular grid, these works become one. Sixteen separate days, sixteen different emotions are displayed together to embody who I am as a being coming back into herself.