text by Maya Lee

Craft Curiosity Issue : Molley May「自然を見て、その圧倒的な混乱と美しさを捉えたいといつも思う」

――When were you able to establish your style, how did you find confidence in what you do?

Molley May : I don’t really believe in the idea of ‘style’ – for me I found the concept to warping and limiting for my practice. I have been drawing for as long as I can remember but only began expressing myself with confidence when I stopped forcing a style and began embracing the way I naturally make marks.

――Now when social media dictate styles and fashion, how do you maintain your own style.

Molley May : I am not looking to create art or drawings that are fashionable so I think that helps. I am just drawing because I feel linked to it. In terms of maintaining a certain look, I don’t think that is always so important either, you should experiment and play as much as you like.

I think this can apply to fashion too, I don’t look at trends too much and find the rise of micro-trends very worrying. I prefer to find or make pieces that I know will always reflect me, for example, I still wear a baby blue lace christening dress that I bought from a vintage market when I was 16 (over 10 years ago!). Longevity is what we should be focusing on when creating a personal style.

――Your work is very subtle, kind but real. What past experiences shaped your work now?

Molley May : I think I am quite an empathetic person and have always been a great observer, I love to look closely and carefully at everything, I think this has had a real impact on that way I live my life and the kind of drawings I make.

――We saw that you have been doing several drawing workshops on Daisy. How has teaching changed your perspective of you as an illustrator?

Molley May : Teaching always feels very special and unique, I feel very honoured every time. I think taking part in these workshops has made me realise how much knowledge and experience I have actually accumulated and how much others want to hear! My main goal with these workshops is to hopefully encourage a small handful of people to embrace drawing for the joy of it not for the idea of creating something pretty.

――Many of your drawings are done with pencils and pastels. How do these materials play a part in your drawings?

Molley May : Material is everything! So much of what I make and how it looks is dictated by the material i’ve chosen that day. Pastels call out for large scale and visceral imagery where as you can be far more carefully and delicate with a dip pen.

――Flowers and people are a big theme in your work. What do you think ties these two things together? Are they similar or are they different?

Molley May : I grew up in the country side and have always been in a house full of plants so naturally flora has had an influence over my style. I think when I look at plants or tumbling nature I want to capture that overwhelming sense of confusion and beauty, something that is also echoed in human emotions regularly.

――Your work is very sensitive. Do you think as an artist, sensitivity changes over time?

Molley May : I hope not, I am a very sensitive and emotional person. I feel very deeply and although it can be difficult at times I hope that I never loose this openess.

――How important is it as an artist to develop work that has meaning?

Molley May : I don’t think art has to have meaning necessarily, a lot of my work is based on observation with very little meaning other than to catalogue. However my practice has a meaning in connecting to drawing so maybe if you have that metaphorical meaning can fall away.

――As people recognize you for your work, what do you think drawing means to you?

Molley May : Drawing has always been my companion. I am not sure what it means to me on a deeper level but it guides me and helps me understand my life and its purpose.

――How do you think your illustrative style is conveyed in your fashion?

Molley May : I hadn’t really thought about it before but I suppose they are! I dress either in a lot of white or a lot of colours depending on my mood – much like how I swing between oil pastels and pencils. I also focus a lot on texture and details when dressing, again something that is reflected in my drawing!

――How did your experience at art school shape you? Was there anything you would do differently?

Molley May : I think I would try harder if I went back to art school. I did an illustration degree which I loved at the time but also because I didn’t have the confidence to apply for an arts or painting degree, I didn’t feel cool enough or good enough. I love illustration and still refer to myself as an illustrator but I learnt so much more about my practice and found a lot more love for it when I moved away from commercial art.

I think the experience of being at art school was valuable beyond its content however, I started learning about who I was there, I always felt like an outsider in school and never really had many friends but being suddenly surrounded by people just like you really does a lot for self-confidence.

――.How do you think the pandemic affected you? Has it changed your approach to working?

Molley May : I feel as though the trauma of the pandemic has wiped my brain a little bit, I’ve been struggling creatively for months, there was also a big hit financially which only adds more stress – this is not unique to me, unfortunately I know many of my peers are experiencing the same thing. I’ve just started a part-time job again and I’m hoping the structure and routine of this will help guide me back to where I was before.

――What do you hope to accomplish in the near future?

Molley May : I hope that I can make work that people remember, I would love for someone to look at my work and feel that swoop of emotion that you get when you see something important to you. As vain as that may sound, I would love to create that feeling for others.

text Maya Lee (IG)

Molley May
Drawing and looking. Multi-media illustrator and artist.

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