• Work Hard
  • 27th Mar 2024
  • 0
  • 4 minutes

Running hearts and disco vibes – Behind the murals with Newcastle artist Mul Draws

When visiting Newcastle city centre, we’re sure you’ll have noticed the colourful vibrant street art with iconic running hearts created by local artist, Mul.

From city murals popping up on every corner to branded t-shirts and tote bags, Mul’s work has taken the North East’s street style by storm and has become the heart of the Toon’s culture.

And we’ve been lucky enough to catch up with Alex Mulholland, aka Mul, the talented artist and the man behind the murals to discover what inspired him to become one of our region’s most recognisable street artists.

The man behind Mul 

Alex Mulholland is the secret artist behind the colourful murals and motifs that are dotted around Newcastle, Gateshead and beyond. Mul is a Geordie himself and brings a sense of joy to the area with his well-loved running heart design and pop-culture-inspired images.

In 2023 Mul had an immersive, technicolour exhibition at The Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art. You might also remember Mul’s unbelievable mural on the Quayside’s disused bus lane which was the longest pavement mural in the UK.

When did you start creating art?  

‘For as long as I can remember I had an interest in art but I think I discovered and started creating graffiti when I was around 11 years old. I remember riding the Metro with my Grandad as a kid and seeing all of the graffiti along the tracks and just trying to work out what it was and what it meant.’

What inspires you to start making art?

‘An early influence would have been graffiti pieces that have a cartoon-style character on the end or worked into the piece somehow; that glimpse of pop culture always seemed to resonate with me.’

High Life North

What are some of your favourite North East murals?

‘The ones that I saw early on would have been the ones by an artist called ‘Eyes’ down in Hendon in Sunderland. These took me years to actually find as they were hidden away but really blew me away when I saw some of them in the flesh.

‘Apart from that, there have been amazing pieces in Hoults Yard over the years by artists like INSA, Mr Penfold and Kid Acne to name a few.

‘From my own work, I think the standout piece for me is the mural on the side of Peace and Loaf in Jesmond, that location for me is right up there.’

Where do you take inspiration from? 

‘Originally I was massively inspired by a book called Subway Art which had been presented to me pretty early on and documents early train graffiti from New York in the 70’s. I think the big turning point for me though was a book called Street Logos by Tristan Manco. Seeing that people could paint and use other applications such as stickers and posters as a means to get their name out was a game changer.

‘I was always more interested in character graffiti and this book introduced me to the idea that you didn’t need to have the graffiti letters there for the character/image to be applied to a surface. Artists like Flying Fortress and Shepard Fairey stand out here for me as their art really helped shift my perspective on what was possible in the street.’ 

High Life North

What are your thoughts on the North East art scene?

The North East has always had a vibrant art scene and institutions like the Baltic have definitely played their part in my direction. I would say the stand-out exhibition would be Spank the Monkey which was on at the Baltic around 2006.

‘The fact that the exhibition actually happened up here with artists such as Invader, Shepard Fairey, OS Gemeos and Barry McGee is still mad to me and certainly sticks in my mind even today.’ 

Do you have any advice for aspiring creatives?

‘The most important thing is to have fun and enjoy the process. Work and work hard, never throw in the towel or be put off by anyone. You’ve got this.’


‘I’ve got some exciting projects coming up this year and some outrageous collaborations as well. Some in Newcastle and some further afield. Keep an eye on my Instagram for updates and some show announcements on the immediate horizon.’


Looking to own a piece of Mul’s art for yourself?

Peace and Love Screenprint - £125.00 BUY NOW
Local Hero Beanie - £22.00 BUY NOW
I <3 NCL T-Shirt - £30.00 BUY NOW
Hannah Bullimore


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