Nounua / Lost Oddities

At Look Up, we love it when happy accidents and leftovers from the creative process are just as interesting – and inspiring – as the work the artist intended to create.

Based in Cork, visual artist and designer Nounua, a.k.a. Gráinne Nagle, created two wonderful limited edition screen prints for our launch collection – Something Here and Something There. Both prints explore Nounua's ongoing fascination with colour, layering and translucency; a fascination that led to her experiments with tissue paper collage. While cutting out shapes, she soon became fascinated with the off-cuts...

"All these little shapes and pieces were piling up," recalls Nounua, "and I hated throwing them away because they looked really nice on their own. So I started collecting them and before long I had a box full of them, and then another box... I started to see them forgotten pieces, cast aside, and I thought it might be interesting to start a project based on these pieces, the pieces that are normally forgotten."

"The initial idea I had was to treat them like archaeological finds and document them." She started to pull them together in loose compositions, photographing them, drawing variations of them, and trying to set them in resin. "But they were too fragile. The paper felt like plastic or rubber, and the colours didn't hold. I thought about trying little glass cases, but then I moved on to something else."

When Nounua started making three-dimensional works with laser-cut wood, the project came back to mind. "I became interested in the leftovers from that process, and I thought it made sense to do something with hem because they're not going to fall apart like the paper ones."

She started taking photos of them, devised a title for her ongoing 'series' – Lost Oddities – and started a Tumblr account, which you can see here. "I've been taking photos of them but I still don't know what to do with them really... I'm stuck! Mainly because I work on three or four things at the same time."

Ultimately, it's enough that they exist at all. After all, not every project needs a beginning and an end. Even if they don't seem to go be going anywhere, they all contribute to the creative process. Nounua acknowledges that even though Lost Oddities is somewhat open-ended, it's already informed her work. "Yes, and I think that's why I haven't brought it to an end, because I'm trying to figure out where it fits in with the rest of my work. In another way I'm going against what I was supposed to be doing, but it's okay – it doesn't have to fit in."

The creative process may be prone to cul-de-sacs and dead ends, but there are no wrong turns. Nounua's Lost Oddities is testament to the curiosity that can inspire the best visual art, and long may that curiosity light the way on her creative journey.

To like to find out more about Nounua's practice, check out her profile here – and check out her website.