Clare Hartigan has been involved in creative activity since she was a child growing up in Castleconnell, County Limerick. She studied printmaking at the Limerick School of Art and Design, and then moved to Cork where she started painting. After a few years, she returned to her home village where she now works full-time as an artist. While a printmaking student, Hartigan was inspired by the bitumen that she used to draw with to create etchings. It gave her a dynamism that she couldn't achieve with the traditional use of oils, and ultimately inspired her to experiment with a more carefree line in her paintings.
The seemingly spontaneous application of paint seen her work reflects the paint-dripping technique associated with the work of Abstract Expressionist, Jackson Pollock. Hartigan takes inspiration from this technique which was utilized exclusively for abstraction, and truly makes it her own by creating semi-representational art; drawing inspiration for her paintings from personal experiences as well as current affairs.
Hartigan's paintings are ignited with excited animation and emotional intensity, as delicate bands of color, dance across a white, monochromatic backdrop. She has the ability to introduce a sense of vitality into a traditional 'Still Life' through her use of line. A recurring theme in her work is the image of a young girl. Whether dancing, jumping, or simply standing, the figure is always rendered through energetic lines, mimicking the carefree nature of the subject, and conjuring up a sense of childhood nostalgia. Hartigan describes the recurring figure of the young girl, as representative of the inner child for herself but most importantly everyone, male or female. "Using her as my central theme is about getting back to the people we were as children, to explain and explore how and why we act the way we act today. She is the central core of the soul, pure emotion, loving, caring, fragile, and often so damaged".
Hartigan's work is refreshingly unique and distinct from any of her Irish contemporaries. "I am trying to draw the soul", and in doing so her paintings have the power to move the viewer, and ultimately awaken a sense of emotion and feeling from within.