Chara Nagle
Irish Painter, Noted for Large-Scale Acrylics Paintings in Pop-Art Style: Biography, Exhibitions.

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For a list of the leading Irish
painters, including exponents of
subject painting, see:
Best Irish Artists.

Chára Nagle (b.1974)

"A female Damien Hirst" was how a friend of mine characterized Chára Nagle's flair for publicity, not realising what a huge compliment he was paying her. I prefer to focus on her paintings - and what wonderful works they are! Unashamedly modernistic, a sort of Charlie's Angels meets Roy Lichtenstein, their visual power is so strong that you almost forget the outstanding draftsmanship, sculpture-like depth and bold chiaroscuro that lies behind them. The pop-art content and message may not be serious enough for some critics, but if Michelangelo was alive today I doubt that he would be lying on his back painting biblical messages on church ceilings for years at a time.

Nagle wants to catch your attention and draw you into her world, a skill she has been perfecting for the last 12 years, ever since she designed the window displays for Harvey Nichols, and in this she succeeds brilliantly. She already has two successful solo shows under her belt. If she can continue to widen her range of subjects, she has all the natural talent to become a truly great painter. (Note: For other 21st century painters based in Ireland, see: Contemporary Irish Artists. For the world's best postmodernist practitioners, see: Top Contemporary Artists.)

For late 20th century artworks,
see: Contemporary Art.



Born in Cork, Nagle spent 2 years studying Life Drawing at the Crawford College of Art before winning a place at the National College of Art and Design in Dublin, from where she graduated in 1996 with a joint degree in Fine Art Sculpture and the History of Art. She then spent 2 years developing her creative skills in London: first on window displays for large stores, later on a number of pop-videos for the likes of Dave Stewart, of the Eurythmics. Armed with this valuable experience in the use of colour, light, 3-D imagery and audience-control, she moved back to Dublin to put it to use. She founded a design company specialising in window displays, exhibition stands and product launches, and soon attracted a number of blue-chip clients such as: BMW, Budweiser, Marks & Spencer, and Smirnoff.

A decade or so later, having accumulated a mountain of creative ideas from her career in promotion and design, she decided to concentrate full-time on her first-love, art, and became a full-time painter. In 2007, she enjoyed a sell-out show "Moments" at No 15 St Stephen's Green in Dublin, and in May 2008 followed it up with "Moments II" at the Blue Haven in Kinsale, Co Cork.


Nagle works in acrylics on canvas, describing her style as Modern Romantic. She spends about 4 months of the year travelling and observing - looking for that perfect moment. Instead of a sketchbook she uses a digital camera (snapping about 30,000 photos a year) and takes it with her everywhere. In her words: "The thought of missing that perfect fleeting moment would be excruciating - all because I forgot to put my camera in my handbag!"


When it comes to deciding which image to paint, she says:

"I consider what genuinely pulls at my heart strings. If an image makes me stop for a moment, makes me wonder, or makes me wish I was there, then I go for it, adding in subtle branding or other iconic elements to help define and create the perfect composition."

She uses rich, bold colour-schemes and finishes off with two thick coats of varnish. As a rule, she works only on one painting at a time, preferring to finish what she starts, and produces an average of 12-13 works a year, in the average range of 3 ft by 4 ft to 4 ft by 6 ft in size.

Above all, she sees herself as an observer of life, trying to capture those split second moments that illustrate the times we live in. Her future plans include a focus on the behind and around the scenes of the horse racing world as well as more portraits.


Charity Work

What Nagle forgot to tell me, and this from a girl who is supposed to be the consummate self-publicist, is that she recently gave away a €10,000 painting to the Irish Chernobyl charity to raise funds for sick children. A nice touch from a great artist.

Contact Details

To contact Chára Nagle, or to see lots more examples of her wonderful work, visit her website:

• For more about contemporary visual artists, see: Homepage.
• For details of established painters and sculptors, see: Famous Irish Artists.

Visual Artists, Greatest
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