Sign up for our weekly newsletter
TRCH David Suchet

Art Works: Laura-jay Doohan

4 May 16 words: Art Works

"I have one particular image of Jesus Christ, engaging in what a woman at the Contemporary called an 'unsavoury' activity"


Being a mum to a teenager whose mood changes as frequently as I shop at Hobbycraft, and a baby son who uses my brushes to wreck the house, my art is a form of escapism. I'm a freelance illustrator and upcycler – or doodler and hoarder, as my mum might say. I'm not a big fan of Photoshop; I enjoy spontaneity and the imperfection of pen on paper or wood.

I mostly draw super-hot pinup girls with something a bit off-key about them – like having a unicorn’s head or being in a compromising position. I enjoy making images that bring cheer with their sheer cheekiness. My work celebrates the beauty of the female form. People have said it’s pornographic, but I say it’s showcasing females being fearless and comfortable in their sexuality in a time when we are taught to cover up.

Maybe I should work on my social narrative as I'm not one for deep and hidden meanings. Still, it makes me smile when somebody goes into full detail about how a piece of my work ‘moved’ them. The truth is, I probably just doodled it when the kids had gone to bed and I was enjoying a glass of pink plonk. It’s a nice feeling to know that a piece of my work can mean that much to people.

A few years ago, I did a pet portrait commission after someone saw my work at the Alley Cafe.

Through word of mouth, I got loads of work. People are so passionate about their pets and you end up with super random pieces based on the animal’s personality. Through these commissions I developed my signature style and began getting requests for portraits of people. My art was never really classed as controversial until this point.

I’ve been told I push the boundaries of what society classes as PC, but I find a strange enjoyment in stepping outside the comfort zone and challenging the public expectation of what ‘normal’ is. I have one particular image of Jesus Christ, engaging in what a woman at the Contemporary called an ‘unsavoury’ activity. In my mind, who’s to say what’s unsavoury? Each to their own. It was fun to make and has gathered a lot of attention. It’s definitely morally bankrupt.

The last piece in this album is called Wild Thing and it's from a collection of pin-up animals that I did for an exhibition at the Alley Cafe. It was also used as a t-shirt design for Bear King Apparel. It was drawn with fineliner pens, which I mostly work in as I enjoy the bright colours, and being a bit sketchy and impulsive with the quality of line. It's one of my favourite pieces: simple and a bit cheeky. How everything should be.

To commission a piece or get in touch with Laura about her work, drop her a message on Facebook.

Laura-jay Doohan on Facebook

We have a favour to ask…

LeftLion is Nottingham’s meeting point for information about what’s going on in our city, from the established organisations to the grassroots. We want to keep what we do free to all to access, but increasingly we are relying on revenue from our readers to continue. Can you spare a few quid each month to support us?

Support LeftLion now