Molly Crabapple’s Week in Hell Preview
Photos: Steve Prue, with additional photography by Kate Black, Yumna, and Andras Frenyo
Front and back cover photography by Clayton Cubitt
Molly Crabapple is a modern artist in so many ways. She delves into social networking, online fund raising opportunities (Kickstarter) and invites fans to get involved first hand in her various artistic projects. Her art is like a daydreaming doodle let loose to roam, growing so large and complex that it crawls beyond the boundaries of the page. I’ve always been a fidgety doodler myself, and have wondered, on occasion, if there are artists out there who have developed the skill of the doodle in to more disciplined creations that can be considered full blown works of art. Molly has done just that and in a most impressive, beautiful way.
Molly Crabapple is best known as the founder of Dr. Sketchy’s Anti Art School, an alternative to the stiff, school room approach of art education. Dr. Sketchy’s utilizes the titillating faces and forms of various underground performance artists and boasts guest appearances from artists like Ron English, Audrey Kawasaki and Ben Templesmith. The doors are open to all artists. I’ve never had the opportunity to visit my local Dr. Sketchy’s, here in NY, but looking at pictures, videos and blog posts, it looks like a year round birthday party for David Lynch.
So, here’s the low down: Molly’s 28th birthday was approaching and she wanted to celebrate in a special way. She chose to ‘go crazy’, documenting every step of her journey in drawings, photos and videos. The endeavor was funded by a Kickstarter campaign, raising an astonishing $25,805 in pledges; backers were rewarded with live streaming of the Week in Hell and receiving actual pieces of the art walls created during it. Molly locked herself in a fancy hotel suite in NYC, covered the walls in lots and lots of paper, brought plenty of booze and drew until her pretty little fingers could stand no more. She stayed in those rooms for 5 days and welcomed many visitors including close friends, dancers, artists, press and possibly a monkey or two. Ok, maybe that didn’t happen, but it sort of did. Some of these visitors were drawn on the walls, becoming living pieces of the swirly, lacey landscapes pouring from Molly’s imagination.
Lucky for the rest of us, Molly’s Week in Hell is being published as a photo collection, including lots of added sketching and notes from the artist. I had the honor of previewing this collection and it fucking rocks. It’s sweet and pretty, eccentric and weird, comfy and soft, raucous and heady with subdued sex appeal. It’s like peeking in the window of an aristocratic party, the attendees being swanky artists, bohemians, circus performers and musicians. You want so badly to be one of them. You know you can’t be; there is a special, intimate magic happening between these people. The white rabbit could show up at any moment and clink his champagne glass with Molly’s.
I’m a big fan of nicely made art and photo books, even if I’m the only one around my house who picks them up repeatedly to enjoy the eye candy they promote. Week in Hell is a must have and available for pre-order through Amazon right now. Get it, if you want to party with the cool kids. Or not, but don’t blame me when you realize how much seductive color is missing from your life because of your choice to pass this book by. Yes, it’s that’s good. In case you’re being ridiculous and not taking my word on this, watch the video below. Call me later so I can say ‘I told you so’.
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