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Interview : Decorative Artist Noel Donnellan

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This week we spoke to Noel Donnellan, a decorative artist and specialist interior decorator based in Ireland, who recently published this entrancing short movie on his latest project; he used our 23K Gold transfer for this Moroccan Powder Room and Gilded Islamic Geometric Ceiling.
Noel’s techniques include a multitude of specialist decorative finishes such as; faux marble, wood graining, glazing, patina, gilding, murals, trompe l’oeil, ceilings, grisaille, friezes, hand painted kitchens and furniture.

Tell me a bit about yourself; where are you from, where did you grow up, etc? 

I’m 41 years old from Co. Clare in the West of Ireland, I work all over Ireland and Internationally.

How did you decide to be a specialist decorator, what drew you to this profession?

During a short career as a Mechanical Design Engineer I began to dabble in artistic painting for fun, I had that light bulb moment and found the world renowned Van der Kelen Institute for decorative painting in Brussels, I haven’t looked back since almost 13 years ago.

Why do you think that the more traditional methods of artistry or decorating, such as trompe l’oeil and gilding are starting to making a comeback? 

Because the people are more educated and have a discerning eye for quality.

How do you keep your ideas interesting and new? 

Constantly visit galleries & Museums review magazine and of course the gigantic internet.

Which artists have been inspirational to you in your work??

Pierre Finklestein, Pascal Amblard, Thierry Thenaers, Alan Carroll, Tom Collins, David Smith,Paolo Bello, Marie Vanesse & Stefano Luca to name a few.

What has been your favourite project so far, and why?

I have quite a number of favourites but my latest ‘The Moroccan Powder Room’ for a private client is my current gem. I have d created a number of projects for this client and I had carte blanche over this entire design.

Do you use the computer for any part of your design process?

Yes, I used CAD to draw the Islamic geometry for the Moroccan Powder Room

What is your favourite tool or material to use and why?

I love to use Gold Leaf, it’s flawless and timeless.

What is your favourite effect or finish to make?

It’s the very beautiful ‘Pierre de France’ which is a French limestone blocks imitation. It can be adapted to different colours and block size and used in contemporary & classical decor

You’ve been buying from Handover for a long time, what kept you coming back?

Good customer support, variety of materials & swift delivery.

Limerick Parnell Plaza secret door hidden behind gilded plaster tiles.

Limerick Parnell Plaza secret door hidden behind gilded plaster tiles.

What would be your dream project?

To transform a bleakly decorated catholic church, many of them in Ireland!

What does being a specialist decorator mean to you?

It means everything, it’s my life, my work my passion & my hobby, I’m very lucky to have found it.

Is there anything you’d like to say to someone just starting out who is wanting to try their hand at specialist decorating or gilding?

Find the best school to start your training buy the best tools & materials & be honest with yourself.


Below, watch as Noel brings this wall to life using our Imitation Gold Leaf:

noeldonnellan.com →