Music and Art In Your Backyard

Molly Knobloch

In a time of a divided nation and political strife, it is the artist that really speaks out and keeps us aware of the world. The artist also empowers us and gives hope. Knobloch is definitely an artist of our time because she uses her platform to empower. Her work is not just limited to socio-political issues but a place to celebrate all sorts of beautifully imperfect humans. Check out her interview below.

 
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pick your creative weapon of choice: a pen, a pencil, or a paintbrush?

This is always changing. During college and in the two years after I would have never chosen a pen or pencil over a paint brush: painting was my life. But now, living without a studio other than my bedroom, I have really discovered the power that can be in a simple drawing. These days I’m using more pen (and pencil as a drafting tool) but hoping to get back into a regular painting routine soon.

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how did you get into art and at what point did you start to call yourself an artist?

While I’m sure I would have eventually developed a regular art practice, it was really school that did it for me. I never took art in high school (what’s up band kids) so when I took a painting class my freshman year of college I almost immediately switched my major from business to art and that was that. The question of whether to call myself an artist is one that keeps coming up with my creative friends recently. I have a friend who is incredibly devoted to her practice as a maker yet still ducks the title of “artist” because she doesn’t have a full time professional practice. I’m very comfortable with the title even though I have never seen myself becoming a full time professional artist. I will always create - out of pleasure, but more importantly out of necessity - and to me that makes me an artist.

You recently sent a series of postcards to people all across the country with artwork themed “Fuck The Patriarchy.” How did this idea come about and what was the purpose behind this whole thing?

After a creative (and personal) slump this fall, at the end of November I challenged myself to start doing a drawing a day. Around the same time I was getting inspired by Austin's creative community rallying and taking steps to protect the people who will be most affected by the Trump administration: women, people of color, non binary and trans people, etc. I was really moved by the Fort Lonesome event that offered free feminist embroidery for one night with all proceeds from donations and bar tips going to Planned Parenthood. I decided to do something similar with the (very) small platform I hold. I have friends all over the US, including some who live in very conservative areas and often feel unsafe and unsupported and I wanted to remind those people they are not alone. My drawing a day project had quickly evolved into portraits of my friends, and then angry portraits of my friends, and the idea came together from there.  For the past few years I have sent out original holiday cards, so I decided to expand my list this year and send one to anyone who wanted to participate. Each participant sent in a photo of themselves, expressing their post-election emotions. I created drawings of everyone and sent a postcard to each person with the face of someone they didn’t know. I hoped this would remind them that they have allies all over the country. While participation was free, I donated to Planned Parenthood in conjunction with the project and encouraged others to do the same.

With all the BS mixed in with the good that has happened in 2016, what is your mantra going into 2017?

Man, I don’t even know. There is so much to take on in 2017. I want to say “Stay Centered” but I honestly don’t think I’ve ever been centered and I think “Stay Angry” is going to be more important. I have a lot of personal goals this year, like run a half marathon and visit more national parks, and while those are important to me I never want them to let me forget to stay politically informed, stay angry, and continue to get out and stand up for what’s right. My artistic goals are go bigger, go weirder, and stop making excuses

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 I absolutely love the simplicity of your work: illustrations with a pop of color. Has this always been your MO or is this something that you came into? If the latter how did you discover this as a personal style?

Thank you! I think I like abstract painting so much because it’s one of the only artistic spaces where I really let myself get super messy. My drawing style has always been simple and clean, even when I don’t want it to be. I feel like more often than not a messier, less photo-realistic drawing is more evocative and powerful but I have to actively push myself to be messy because it’s just not my instinct. My recent drawings have been purely instinctual and true to my personal style.

In terms of color, I think I have always enjoyed a pop of color because it can hold more weight and it allows more to be said in the absence of color. I have always liked warm colors and red is a universally powerful color so I gravitate towards it. I also love to use pink. As a kid I was one of those girls who was like “I hate pink!” just because I though it was lame to be girly, so I think as an adult I have reclaimed the color as a symbol of femininity, softness, and the power in each of those

how has being a woman in the art world shaped the kind of work you produce? how has being a woman in Austin shaped the work you produce?

I wasn’t the stereotypical girly girl as a teenager and grew up somewhat judgmental of my peers who did conform to that standard, especially because my older sister made a point to reject gender stereotypes from the start and I looked up to her. I think it took me a long time to unlearn those judgmental thoughts and behaviors and start accepting that there’s no right or wrong way to express your gender, whatever it may be. Now I love using pink in my art and will defend the color forever (even though it was imposed upon us) because it’s great. 

I moved to Austin about a year and a half ago and immediately started meeting all these supportive, strong, creative women. I love seeing groups like Boss Babes grow and traditionally domestic mediums like textiles and weaving getting so much respect. I think it’s a great place to be creating art as a woman because the community is so great, but we have a lot to fight for in Texas in terms of our rights, and art can be really powerful in that fight. For those reasons I think living in Austin has influenced me to make more political art.

Who are the creatives around you that inspire your work?

One my biggest inspirations is my sister who we’ve always said is the dark to my light. She’s a writer, artist, and activist in New Orleans and she’s making the messy, dark, dirty art that I have to try so hard to even hint at. She has always pushed me to get out of my comfort zone and ask deeper, weirder questions about myself and the world.

Right now I’m also inspired by and have so much respect for my creative friends in Austin, including one of your other featured artists, Ethan Parker (illustration), and my friends Anna Collier (ceramics) and Lacey Fuquea (textiles and natural dye). Through my creative friends in Austin I’ve been given the opportunity to work with so many new mediums such as fabric, dye, thread, metal, and wood, as well as revisit drawing as a powerful medium.