Paul McMahon was always artistic, but it was only when his mother was reading to him as a child that he realised he could turn his passion into a career: “As a child, all I ever wanted was colouring books” says Paul. “I remember so well, when I was about eight or nine, asking my mum how books were made. When she told me that people got paid to make books, I couldn’t believe it. I decided there and then that I was going to be an artist of some kind and my parents were always very supportive of that”.

Based in Letterkenny, The Rusted Pixel makes 3D models in collaborative projects for some of the biggest names in the industry. Paul says collaboration is key to the success of the business: “The thing with artists is that they can be extremely stubborn. They like to work on their own and want to see their own vision through to the end. Sometimes when you try to get artists to collaborate with others, they think they are muddying the waters, but in my experience, that muddy water often flows into something much nicer, and clearer. When I collaborate with other artists, it’s about working together to create something amazing.”

Paul grew the business with the help of a Priming Grant and a Technical Assistance for Micro Exporter’s Grant (TAME) from his Local Enterprise Office; he also availed of mentoring. He believes Donegal is well-placed to capitalise on the growing trend for remote working in the creative industry.

I always believed in the power of running a business from Donegal. I keep an eye on trends and two years ago I predicted the rise of remote working – the pandemic has certainly expedited the process, but it’s been on the rise among creatives for some time, because great artists can’t always afford to live in big cities. The shift is towards studios that incorporate lots of freelancers and they could be located throughout the world, including Donegal.

Paul McMahon

Creator & Owner, The Rusted Pixel

Local Enterprise Office Donegal Stories

Priming Grant

Assists micro-enterprises in the first 18 months of start-up. It covers 50% of eligible costs, subject to an €80K LEO contribution.

Local Enterprise Office Donegal Stories


Technical Assistance for Micro Exporter's grant enables clients to explore and develop new overseas market opportunities.