Institute of Art Design + Technology
Dún Laoghaire

Hetty Lawlor 

BA [Hons] Art

Hetty Lawlor is an artist highly influenced by her upbringing in the countryside of Co. Mayo with a focus on portraiture alongside native Irish wildlife. She works primarily in coloured pencil for detail and acrylic paint for larger blocks of colour. Her work explores the complexities between human ‘owned’ space and the natural world. She is interested in the tension between these positions. She has exhibited in the RHA (2019) Compton Verney, Birmingham (2022), Pallas Projects (2023), The Customs House Westport (2018) and the Clifden Arts Festival (2022). She also appeared as an artist on Sky Portrait Artist of The Year.

Project Description

I aim to create believable scenes of connection between humans and wildlife, through careful lighting, constructed action, and layering of figures. I have chosen to focus on specific animals whose behaviour has been affected by the presence of humans. Some of these creatures have evolved around humans, who regard them as vermin, while others can survive only by avoiding humans. Each painting offers a hopeful experiential connection between human and wild animal. My style is partly influenced by representations of animals and people in older cultural forms such tarot cards or stained-glass windows, which suggest a history of connection between humans and wildlife in Ireland. My approach to colour is shaped by my interest in how animals perceive the world, specifically how they see differently from humans. I want to challenge the narrative of wildlife invading ‘human space’ and pose questions about how they can co-exist.