BoingBoing: Molly Crabapple’s 15 rules for creative success in the Internet age


I’ve made my living as an artist for eight years, almost entirely without galleries, and until relatively recently without agents. It was a death-slog that threw me into periodic breakdowns . I’m pretty successful now. I make a good living, even in New York, have a full time assistant who gets a middle-class salary, and have a book coming out with a major publisher. I feel so lucky, and so grateful, for every bit of this.

My success would not have been possible without the internet. I’ve used every platform, from Craigslist and Suicide Girls to Livejournal, Myspace, Kickstarter, Tumblr and Twitter. I’m both sick of social media and addicted to it. What nourishes you destroys you, and all that. The internet is getting increasingly corporate and centralized, and I don’t know that the future isn’t just going back to big money platforms. I hope its not.

Here’s what I’ve learned.

“Molly Crabapple’s 15 rules for creative success in the Internet age” by Molly Crabapple, BoingBoing


VICE: In Defense of The Death of Klinghoffer and Art That Takes Risks

But what sort of politics does one have, and what sort of world will they make, if they demand that their beliefs consume everything? We must leave space for irreverence, for non-didacticism, for hard questions, for the humanity of everyone —especially those we hate, and those we think hate us back. If art is not allowed to explore the complexity of killers, it is little more than a moralistic cartoon of the kind forced on children. And even children reject that shit.

In Defense of The Death of Klinghoffer and Art That Takes Risks, by Molly Crabapple for VICE.

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VICE: The surveillance state and you

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While Snowden’s NSA revelations are most associated with the internet, “online surveillance” is a bit of a misnomer. The web long ago bled into meatspace. A CCTV camera could easily capture your face, then link that up to your Facebook profile, your purchases, your friends. You shed data like strands of hair. You’re both made up of data and more than the sum of it, like DNA.

– The Surveillance State and You. by Molly Crabapple. VICE

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VICE: How Can We Stop Cops from Beating and Killing?

Occupy Wall Street activist Shawn Carrié always dreamed of becoming a classical pianist, and he was on his way, with a full music scholarship to New York University. That all changed on March 17, 2012, when, during a demonstration at Zuccotti Park, a New York City police officer pulled his thumb back and back and back until it broke. Six other cops kicked him until he bled from his ears, according to Shawn. He told me that while he was held at the Midtown South Precinct an officer named Perez tore a splint the hospital had given him from his finger and said, “You fucking Occupiers. Every time you come back, we’re going to kick your ass.”

Shawn would never play piano at a professional level again.

In December 2013, New York City paid Shawn (whose birth name is Shawn Schrader) an $82,500 settlement as compensation for the beatings and for arresting him on an old warrant meant for a different person named Shawn Carrié. But the officers themselves paid not a cent. Nor were they arrested, as civilians who break peoples’ fingers might be. They admitted no wrongdoing. They suffered no consequences at all. Instead, New York City taxpayers bore the cost.

Shawn’s lawsuit could be considered a success. But it did nothing to dissuade the cops who attacked him from attacking others. When we spoke in my living room, his pale eyes flashed with anger. “Justice might as well be a cotton-candy castle in the sky,” he said. “I’ve never seen it.”

VICE: How Can We Stop Cops from Beating and Killing? Molly Crabapple on Policing, Violence, and Justice

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Vanity Fair: Scenes of Daily Life in the De Facto Capital of ISIS







“With the exception of Vice News, ISIS has permitted no foreign journalists to document life under their rule in Raqqa,” Crabapple wrote. “Instead, they rely on their own propaganda. To create these images, I drew from cell-phone photos a Syrian sent me of daily life in the city. Like the Internet, art evades censorship.”

– “Scenes of Daily Life in the De Facto Capital of ISIS”  Vanity Fair

art by Molly Crabapple. Words by an anonymous Syrian. 

Groundswell Art Auction Benefit

Bidding for Groundswell’s Annual Art Auction is now live! Featuring Molly’s signed 2014 self portrait, which you can bid on here. Bidding ends the day of the benefit, October 14th. For more information and to purchase tickets to the event, click here.

Groundswell Annual Art Auction Benefit
110 East 25th Street
New York, NY 10010
October 14, 2014, 7-10 pm

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“Fuck Off” for Lilliput

Tiny painting for Cynthia von Buhler’s Lilliput exhibit at MyMicroGallery in Milan. All artwork is 1:12 scale, the size of most dollhouses. Lilliput is open to the public through October 8th. Click here for more details.

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Daily Book Drawing

I have been working this summer on my memoir, Drawing Blood. Having just sent the latest draft to my editor, I’ve begun working on the interior illustrations of many of my beautiful friends. All drawings are done on Arches paper, with Ecoline dye.


Amanda Whip


Amber Ray




John Leavitt, from back in 2002


Katelan Foisy


Kim Boekbinder


Natasha Lennard


Occupy Wall Street, with Sarah Jaffe and Laurie Penny


Laurie Penny


Gold Rush Awards 2014

Honoring Derrick Adams, Molly Crabapple, Sarah E. Lewis, Dread Scott, and Hank Willis Thomas.

Featuring music, an open bar, and a silent auction. All proceeds will benefit Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation. Tickets are $100 and available here, along with more info.

Saturday, September 27th
22 Degraw Street
Brooklyn, NY 11217
Arrivals at 7pm | Program at 8:30pm

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VICE – We must risk delight after this summer of monsters

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“The world is connected now. Where it breaks, we all break. But it is our world, to love as it burns around us. Jack Gilbert is right. “We must risk delight” in the summer of monsters. Beauty is survival, not distraction. Beauty is a way of fighting. Beauty is a reason to fight.”

-“We Must Risk Delight After This Summer of Monsters.” Molly Crabapple for VICE

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8/26: Benefit for Seth Kushner


8/26 NYC Benefit for Seth Kushner
Seth Kushner is a a brilliant photographer, comic creator, collaborator and long time personal friend. Please join us for an evening of live comix readings, music & comedy to raise funds for the health care costs related to his fight with leukemia.

Featuring performances by:
Molly Crabapple
Douglas Rushkoff
Dean Haspiel
Akim Funk Buddha —
Josh Neufeld
Plucky Charms

And more…

Tuesday, August 26th
Union Hall – Brooklyn
702 Union Street
Brooklyn, NY, 11215

Doors at 7:30p, show at 8:00p. $15

Purchase tickets online:

Read about Seth’s fight with Acute Myeloid Leukemia in an article in Bleeding Cool by Hannah Means-Shannon:

Seth is a lifelong resident of Brooklyn, NY, where he and his wife, Terra are raising their five year old son. A renowned photographer, his work has appeared in The New York Times, Time Magazine, Newsweek, L’Uomo Vogue, Sports Illustrated, The New Yorker and other publications.
Published books include, The Brooklynites, Leaping Tall Buildings: The Origins of American Comics and upcoming New York Comics. 
Seth is co-founder of TRIP CITY, home to his CulturePOP photocomix and Schmuck comics. In 2013, Seth co-founded HANG DAI Editions an independent publishing imprint.

Help Seth and others find their match by registering at this event to become a bone marrow donor with Delete Blood Cancer — All it takes is completing a registration form and swabbing the inside of your cheeks. In less than five minutes, you can potentially save a life!
Visit to learn more

Tickets & Info: Facebook Event Page:

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Slaves of Happiness Island

They say Sheikh Zayed built Abu Dhabi, just like Louis XIV built the Louvre. But this is a myth. Vijay built Abu Dhabi more than Sheikh Zayed did. He built it growing deeper in debt each day, his feet sinking into the lunar sand.

An Emirati curator told me that these museums were Abu Dhabi’s “gifts to the region.” She refused to go on record, certain my article would overplay the UAE’s labor problems. But she allowed that quote.

She is wrong about the giver of the gift. Saadiyat is a “gift” to the UAE from Vijay, from Tariq, from Ibrahim—from all the men whose hands have built these cities. But migrant workers’ names are never engraved on donor lists.

“Slaves of Happiness Island: Abu Dhabi and the Dark Side of High Art,” Molly Crabapple for VICE

Salam School Mural Photos


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Had the great honor of being asked to come along with Zeitouna, a program by the Karam Foundation, to mentor displaced Syrian kids. A few dozen of us came to the Salam School, a school in Southeast Turkey for refugees. Dentists from the Syrian American Medical Society fixed hundreds of kids teeth. Boxers taught little girls to kickbox, and my friend Lina Sergie introduced the kids to the fundaments of architecture. I drew these murals.

The teachers, refugees themselves, were brilliant and inspiring. I’m shy and not particularly great with kids, and my Arabic has faded to a few sentences. But the kids loved watching me draw cats and mice up to no good all over the walls.

Photos by Mohamad Ojjeh.

This is What Sculpture Looks Like

“Also notable, and on the agitprop front, is Molly Crabapple’s ‘Portraits of myself and Lola Montes with things said about us by our contemporaries.’ This outsize painted wood cutout has faces from pulp-fiction illustrations covered with enough written comments to prove that little has changed from the 19th century to the 21st in terms of the verbal abuse often heaped upon nonconforming women.”

Roberta Smith for The New York Times

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Creative Time Reports


Imprisonment is erasure. The state locks a person in a cage—without context, without community, without love. He becomes not human but a widget passing through a system of absolute control. The CMU enacts a double erasure: it represents the ultimate scission of the prisoner from his non-prison self. You are in a box. You are no one. You belong to us.

– “The United States Wants the World to Forget These Prisoners”.  Creative Time Reports.  by Molly Crabapple

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Tales of Two Cities

Cover art (and interior illustrations) by Molly Crabapple for Tales of Two Cities: The Best and Worst of Times in Today’s New York. Click here for a full list of contributors and to preorder your copy.

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