Sources and Methods #11: Molly Crabapple

Molly Crabapple 101:

Molly’s website

"15 rules for creative success in the Internet age" - BoingBoing


Show Notes:

3:50 - I’d describe my work mainly as anti-authoritarianism.

5:02 - When I was an 11 year old, I would draw pictures of the cool kids so they wouldn’t beat me up - using art to curry favor, it’s the oldest artist trade.

7:02 - I’ve always drawn the world in front of me, and people always respond to that.

9:10 - Drawings can be as accurate as photos, and in some ways they can be more transparent than photos. Photos have a pretense of truth even though we all know they can be manipulated and photos lie. There’s this idea that if there’s something in a photo, it tells the truth. With drawings, the creator’s subjectivity is front and center.

9:44 - Molly’s writing on Occupy Wall Street on CNN

13:23 - I always say that artists are the most spoiled people on earth - we get to mash together all these genres and get away by saying ‘I’m an artist, dammit’ when people respond to it.

16:01 - Molly’s sketches from Guantanamo: The Faces of Guantanamo in The Daily Beast

23:09 - Photos lie in two ways: by taking a photo of one thing and saying it’s another, or else by taking photos out of context.

31:05 - I think that being able to draw, it gives you permission to look in a way that’s socially unacceptable in most places. When I draw and I’m staring, I realize I look like a creep, but I get to say it’s ok, I’m an artist?

31:26 - Drawing is: Physically reproducing reality.

32:26 - Biggest advice to artists: total stubbornness. Be incredibly true to your work. And look in a sharp way at people making money off of artists, or people on the business end of your field - and if there are popular beliefs that are exclusively to your detriment...examine them.

Artists Molly Follows:


Waseem Al Marzouki

Photographer Clayton Cubitt

36:17 - Molly’s Tools:

In areas where time is of the essence, I use fat gray markers and tiny little micron pens to sketch things down fast fast fast - used this in guantanamo and also in courtroom drawings.

In locations where I have more time, I take iPhone photos, and then examine them later, and focus on the scenes or details in them that I want to bring out - this is how I did my work in Abu Dhabi.

Molly’s Books:

Fiction - A Naked Singularity by De La Pava

Non-Fiction - The Seasons of Trouble: Life Amid the Ruins of Sri Lanka’s Civil War by Rohini Mohan

Molly’s Film: Exit Through the Gift Shop

Molly’s Music: Mashrou’ Leila