NEW! Christmas Cards Featuring Same-Sex Couples

Publish Date: 30/10/2013

Phyllis Mahon produces beautiful fluid pieces of artwork, including Christmas Cards depicting same-sex couples amid traditional festive scenes. She's also very kindly donating a percentage of her sales to The Lesbian & Gay Foundation..

Phyllis grew up in rural County Tyrone where she studied Fine Art in Belfast in the 1970s. Since then she’s been a professional artist & illustrator working firstly in London, and in the past 20 years in the Lincolnshire Wolds.  Having always been inspired by love and literature, her imagery has a dreamlike quality and an inherent romantic sensuality.

This year Phyllis will be selling these this year on eBay and via her website with a percentage of her sales coming to support the LGF’s work.  We’re also lucky enough to be getting stock into Manchester to sell direct to supporters so why not pop in from early December and buy some directly.

We speak to Phyllis about her work and artistic background...

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your creative background...

My very earliest memories are of painting and drawing: I used to create images of girls with Carmen Miranda type hats at primary school, so there was always an exotic twist to my work. Large reproductions of religious Renaissance Art and huge wistful, romantic Pre-Raphaelite prints hanging in my granny's house had a direct influence on me: to a little girl they were dramatic and larger than life!

Being an avid reader throughout my teens, images inspired by literature and romantic poetry became juxtaposed with all the Catholic imagery from my childhood, and in my earliest days at art school, in a bleak, bombed 1970's Belfast, my imagination went off on a tangent of passion and fantasy, especially after I became aware of Leonor Fini's wonderful, quietly erotic Surrealist works.

When I graduated, circumstances took me to London and I lived there until 1993, exhibiting regularly in UK and Ireland. At that time my works were predominately large pastels and linoprints, occasionally tiny wood-engravings. I also enjoyed illustrating editorial for major publishers.

I moved to the beautiful Lincolnshire Wolds in the early 1990s. Working for five years prior to 2001 as illustrator to a local company brought my work to an international audience and while employed there I learned about digital enhancement and layout. Ten years ago I received an Arts Council Award to learn stone-carving and more recently have returned to painting on canvas. The physical act of drawing will probably always will be the mainstay of my art; it is an essential daily discipline.

What was the idea behind creating the same-sex Christmas cards?

It was the style and simplicity of the 1980s black, intense intaglio prints that re-emerged in 2007 when I was asked to create the body of imagery that became two ranges of cards for gay lovers and friends. I immersed myself in this project and worked non-stop over a period of six months, so they have an inherent continuity and cohesion. They began life as energetic graphite sketches, and then I enhanced them in Photoshop to transform what was a simple pencil line on paper into strong, fluid marks on a black background. It was actually a pleasure to work on them; the finished product just oozes quality as well as being full of love.

My main interest is to depict 'love'... in the looks, the glances between lovers; I like to express touch and tenderness. These elements abound in my cards so they are perfect to share...whether with a lover or a friend. The range 'Black & White' has nine guy cards and nine girls whilst 'Festive Almonds' has eight of each sex with added hints of red and green for that seasonal feel. I also deliberately included cats and dogs because I know too well how much in love we can be with our dearest pets!

View Phyllis' cards and collection here.