Monthly Archives: August 2012

Cover for Discordia

Cover for Discordia. Wherein me and @pennyred went to Athens, made art and journalism, got epic drunk, and stared into the dark heart of the new order

Cover for Discordia. Wherein Laurie Penny and I went to Athens, made art and journalism, got epic drunk, and stared into the dark heart of the new order

DISCORDIA is a story of courage and collapse in a country and a culture struggling to map out its future. A short ebook combining a 24,000 word essay with 36 detailed drawings, DISCORDIA is a feminist-art-gonzo-journalism project conceived at Occupy Wall Street and created in the summer of debt and doubt after the euphoric street protests of 2011-2012.

In July 2012, artist Molly Crabapple and journalist Laurie Penny travelled to Greece. There, they drew and interviewed anarchists, autonomists, striking workers and ordinary people caught up in the Euro crisis. DISCORDIA is the result. ‘In an impassioned climate where ‘objective’ journalism is impossible, Penny and Crabapple offer a snapshot of a nation in the grip of a very modern crisis where young and old see little reason to go on, the left is scattered and the far right is assuming greater power and influence. Along the way they drink far too much coffee, become hypnotised by street art, and somehow manage not to get arrested or mugged.

DISCORDIA is an experiment in form, using the illustrated ebook format to its fullest extent to tell a story unique to the wordlength and digital platform involved. Crabapple’s intricate, Victorian-inspired ink drawings lend a timeless quality to what is a conscious foray into a new kind of journalism- inspired by the New Journalism of the 1970s, in particular the art-journalism collaborations of Hunter Thompson and Ralph Steadman, but reworking that tradition for a 21st century world where young women must still fight at every turn to be taken seriously.

DISCORDIA weaves together the personal and political, picking out those elements of the Greek crisis that are recognisable across the West to a generation struggling to articulate its purpose in a world of spiralling unemployment, democratic collapse and civil unrest. The solutions to the failure of modern neoliberal statecraft are very different to the ‘tune in, turn on, drop out’ ethos of the sixties: these days the drugs are worse and rock and roll can’t save us. The future is a question in search of an answer.

Available only digitally, with a foreword by economic journalist and writer Paul Mason, this beautifully illustrated ebook is part-polemic, part-travelogue and part-paean to the birthplace of civilization brought to its knees. Part of the Brain Shot series, the pre-eminent source of short form digital non-fiction.

Weeks in Review

This picture was taken over a year ago. Me, Kim Boekbinder and Jim Batt had decided to do something grand. We wanted to tell a story of love and death in a central European city made out of paper cutouts- inside Jim’s loft in Melbourne. Here I am drawing some houses.

It’s called I Have Your Heart.

After some years of cursing, absinthe, round-the-world plane trips, and cutting out tiny curlicued gates that made Jim want to throttle me, the rough cut is done.

Team Crabapple, Boekbinder, Batt, reunited

It’s extraordinary. I want to take credit, because I drew the thing, but if it was stick figures it would have looked just as good, with all the passion and genius and obsessive work Jim put into it. You’ll see, and you’ll love it just as much as I did

Besides watching the rough cut, here are some other things I did in the last two weeks.

(left to right) + portrait commission, inspired by the Ballet Russes.

+ Being from New York City, I’d only seen guns in negative contexts.  Fred got his first gun when he was 10.  i wanted to see what they were like for real.  We shoot rifles. The first time I squeezed the trigger and there’s the boom and the kick back and the hot shell coming out, the rush was like nothing else. By the second time, I realized that my eyes were shot from detail work. I couldn’t hit an elephant.

+ poker chips for Shell Game backers

+ the first tendrils of a mini-project me and Warren Ellis will be dropping next month.

+ my mother, looking tattooed from a projection while she traces out the lines for my next Shell Game painting, Syntagma Athena

+ signing drawings of my own eye from George Hearts Maria show in Germany

+ light is the new ink

+ With Veronica Varlow, who, in a chartreuse lace slip and flowers in her hair, looked like the motherfucking absinthe princess. Late night drinking vodka gimlets with my beautiful art family, welcoming The Impossible Girl back to New York

Spoke about art, politics, and feminism (lots of eye-rolling about women-only panels at conferences- they suck) for Tous Rebelles, a documentary for French German TV channel ARTE.

Finished Our Lady of Liberty Park, my tribute to Occupy Wall Street

This has been a month of brutal work, devolving into a feral art troll who bites when humans come near. On Monday, I start a mural.  But the next two days?  Lying in bed drinking booze-laced coffee, reading, listening to Grace Petrie and Gainsbourg and Ay Carmela.  

Cause September, dare I say it, may be even worse.

Vote for our panel for SXSW 2013

Kim Boekbinder’s and my interactive panel, “Hacking the Crowd: Artists as Entrepreneurs,” is up at SXSW PanelPicker. Read the description below, then please follow the link to cast your vote.

Molly Crabapple – visual artist, and Kim Boekbinder – musician, are both champions of the crowd funding age. Both have received international praise and recognition for their groundbreaking work in their respective mediums, as well as the way they run their careers. Though they work in different fields what the two have in common is that they have both built their careers on their own: no management, booking, labels, or galleries of any kind have made possible what they do. Yet they both make a living as full time artists in a world where we are told that fewer and fewer people are paying for music and art.

Molly Crabapple discusses circumventing the rigid gallery system which favors the sale of large and expensive works of art over the quick, passionate, and current work of such a prolific artist.

Kim Boekbinder brings to the table her groundbreaking pre-sold tour concept and the successes and pitfalls of an artist in close contact with her audience.

Questions Answered:

  • Is crowd funding the future? And if so: is it the best future?
  • Can artists promoting their own crowd funded careers still find the time and creativity for their art?
  • Would the time, money, and energy spent on a crowd funding campaign be better spent in more traditional promotional areas?
  • What is the difference between crowd funding and begging? Should established artists be doing this too?
  • Will only the narcissist survive?

Click here to vote and leave any comments. Voting ends August 31st.

George Hearts Maria

Art Nerd Invasion Presents: George Hearts Maria
Opening: September 1st, 2012

On September 1st, Art Nerd Invasion and Lori Zimmer present “George Hearts Maria,” a Victorian pop-up plucked out of history and taking root in Helium Cowboy’s summer group show. The parasitic gallery takes residence on the gallery floor, amidst the summer group show. Inside the appendage-gallery is a pristine Victorian sitting room, complete with a collection of eye miniatures.

“George Hearts Maria” asks contemporary artists to pay tribute to the star crossed lovers, and reinterpret the lost art historical tradition of eye miniatures, adding a modernist skew to the once romantic art movement.

Limited edition print sets of select works, inside a custom screen printed box will be available from, as well as eye miniature buttons will be given away to visitors to the gallery on opening night.

Helium Cowboy Artspace
Bäckerbreitergang 75 | 20355 Hamburg, Germany

Week in Review

The irony is that, at the moment I decided to start blogging more thoroughly for you, I got glomped with such a hellwave of work that I never leave the house. Still I’m going to try. Not least so I remember what I’ve done, and not just a tangle of ink lines.

Went upstate.

Strapping menfolk spent two days in a woodshop making me all the frames for Shell Game. They look hella good. Thank you so much Rich Clark

Came home to Romney stickers. Demographic targeting money well spent!

Made a poster for Russian art punk heroines Pussy Riot. Received the silkscreens of another poster job for Seekrit Fancy Client

Read biographies of Gainsbourg and Tsvetayeva.

Started Syntagma Athena, my sixth Shell Game painting, on Greece. Finished Discordia, my art/journalism project on Greece with Laurie Penny.  I can’t show you yet

Painted, never enough, on the fifth Shell Game painting, Our Lady of Liberty Park, which is about OWS. The lady wears a ruff made of kettle netting.

Sketched out a contorting Stoya for a private mural commission

Now my hand hurts wickedly, and I have to punch it to keep going, but I’m enjoying the calm isolation of work.  I read about Diego Rivera and imagine him doing his frescos at The National Palace.  Sixteen hours a day on the scaffolding, shooting at conservatives coming to deface his murals, racing against the drying plaster.  For years.  Monstrous prolificness. I imagine him racing across the walls like John Henry racing the steam drill through the mountain.  Then I make my little efforts.