When you pass a business window in any part of Galway, you will often spot some eye-catching artwork. It could be a cartoon, mural, or a serious message, and it may very well have been completed by Luisa Carthy.
A number of week's ago, the Galway Advertiser's Facebook page featured a picture of Luisa's work on the window of Hope's Bakery in Loughrea, and the reaction was immense. The post once again showcased the power of social media and Ms Carthy was thrilled at how positively her work was received. "The feedback has been absolutely amazing. I could not get over the amount of likes and shares the picture got. Every second person I have met since has been talking about it. Even at the All-Ireland at the weekend, there was a man talking about it and he didn't even know I had drawn it! I have also got two more jobs out of it.''
Luisa realised at a young age that she had an aptitude for art and pursued the subject in school where she immensely enjoyed drawing, painting, and sketching. However it was only by chance that she began painting shop windows and murals. "When I left school, I was working in a bar. Shortly after I injured my leg and had to give up the bar work and was at a bit of a loose end when one day I was in Galway and I spotted a guy painting a window. It was a lightbulb moment. I was like- I can do that! I asked him what sort of materials he was using and I picked up a few paints, did up a few flyers and ended up getting a load of business and I have been doing it ever since."
She is mostly self-taught but in 2005 began a three year part-time course in Fine Art from GMIT and felt the course really improved her technique. This immensely talented lady will draw and paint on any surface possible but the most popular requests continue to be business windows. However, as can be viewed in the picture below, she has completed a number of attractive school murals including Ard Scoil Mhuire and Garbally College in Ballinasloe. She is also in demand for face-painting, and artwork on children's bedrooms. Along with all that, she designs sets for various theatre productions, and earlier this year was awarded a prize for best set design following her work on the stage backdrop of Gort Community School's production of Fiddler on The Roof.
There is no doubting that she is one busy lady and her mantra is 'variety is the spice of life'. Along with the artwork, she works as the secretary of Ballymanagh National School, helps out in the local parish office, and is involved in the Youth Cafe in Loughrea. She is also fluent in Spanish and has completed a diploma in the language. She has recently taken in a transition year student from Spain to assist him learn English, and also helps Leaving Cert students with their oral exams. In addition to all this, she teaches children's art classes on a Wednesday evening at Ballymanagh National School, and teaches an adult class on a Monday evening from her own home in Kilchreest.
However art is her passion and she is delighted to be able to channel that into work. "Everyone's dream is to turn their passion into their job. I would love to be doing it full-time. I don't see it as a job, I enjoy it so much. When I start on a new project, I completely throw myself into it and get lost in it. I really, really enjoy creating something amazing."