A woman’s beauty is supposed to be her grand project and constant insecurity. We’re meant to shellac our lips with five different glosses, but always think we’re fat. Beauty is Zeno’s paradox. We should endlessly strive for it, but it’s not socially acceptable to admit we’re there. We can’t perceive it in ourselves. It belongs to the guy screaming “nice tits.”
Saying “I’m beautiful,” let alone charging for it, breaks the rules.
(left to right) + Cuban cigars via the London airport. +drawing the bust of Hogarth at the National Portrait Gallery +home at the Groucho Club +paying homage to the portrait of Sir Richard Francis Burton, the original Chuck Norris
Views of the Groucho Mural. Many days it was balanced on top a ladder till 3am, champagne in one hand, marker in the other, drawing till my eyes went dead, until the beast was done.
My poster for the World Maker Faire 2012. Maker Faire had gorgeous prints made of these on watercolour paper, and I spent yesterday evening signing 500 of them at the New York Hall of Science. I loved the challenge of incorporating all the mayhem of Maker Faire- power wheels racing and lock picking and cupcake cars- into one image. You can get tickets for today and tomorrow HERE.
Last Monday, I was arrested for walking on the sidewalk during an Occupy Wall Street protest. Thanks to friends like Mona Eltahawy, Laurie Penny, Neil Gaiman, Stoya, and Warren Ellis, the #freemollycrabapple tag blew up the intrawebs. It was a nice thing to see after 11 miserable, though solidarity filled hours in a holding cell.
Since I’ve been out and written the CNN piece, I’ve been locked inside, working on my next giant Shell Game painting, Syntagma Athena. She’ll be done before I leave for London on Sunday. Isn’t she pretty?
Lastly, Discordia, my and Laurie Penny’s illustrated ebook on Greece during the eurozone crisis, drops October 1st. We’ll be doing a google hangout with Random House and eight of hour favorite bloggers on October 2nd.
There was lots of names for the thing Ariadne made: computational flora, iGrass, memory trees, That Damned Stuff. There were lots of names for Ariadne, too, because when she got tired of nobody being able or willing to answer her questions, she just released Ariadne’s Meadow into the world. Fields began thinking, and forests began processing, and the world discovered that Ariadne’s Meadow was actually quite a nice place that just wanted to help. So much so that seven years later, when everyone discovered that Meadow probes had begun to break up Mercury, Venus and Mars for power, living space and computing strata, nobody really minded very much.
Words by Warren Ellis, pictures by Molly Crabapple.
No-one knows how old Ariadne is any more. She’s said by many to live in seclusion within a cloaked and baroque lunar atelier, which is a strange thing for a woman known to have wanted to see everything there is to see. Some say that, by some hypercosmic string magic, she watches herself as a child, studying the day that curious young Ariadne had her idea. No-one had told little Ariadne not to ask questions, and when she worked out that plants were the best machines of all, she asked why they couldn’t be made to do things that her computer machines could do. And when no-one had a good enough response, Ariadne came up with the best answer of all: I will find out by learning how to make them do that. And that is why Ariadne lives on the moon, and why we are all here today.
Words by Warren Ellis, pictures by Molly Crabapple.
In a few days I’m turning 29. I’ll have some fat post of things I did in the last year, and the things I hope to make in the next one, but these last few days I’ve been flopped in bed reading fat books, smoking hookah, working on seekrit things. The only reflection on the last year? It was the first where I could make my hand make the lines I wanted.
Me and Melissa journeyed to the far reaches of Not-New-York to make a giant mural for a collector’s home. Everything that floats is in this mural. Stars and planets and aerialists and tightrope walkers and hot air balloons and absinthe demons. All above the skyline of a domed, demented Amsterdam. We were very tired by the end.
Girl-sized absinthe fountain. Stars soon to be in motherfucking gold
(Left to right). + Started painting Syntagma Athena. + Dropped off first pile of pages for Straw House with Calista, our adored, now purple haired editor at First Second Books. Its in the Flatiron Building. The Flatiron Building has elevators ornamented with all the promise of last century’s publishing industry. + Dresser, a tangle of jewelry, demented fanmail, invites for last year’s parties, and flowers from Fred. + Shell Game paintings, dragged together to make a little room, in which Allan Amato took pictures. +Live Working or Die Fighting, by Paul Mason. Liveliest labour history ever. + Black Blood of the Earth
Cover forDiscordia. 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.
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.
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.
In June, a company I work with flew me out to Amsterdam, ostensibly to create art about the city. But the artists in Dam Square could watercolor a sweeter canal than me. Instead, I drew people. Escorts and porn filmmakers and digital rights activists and women who co-built artspaces in abandoned bomb shelters. Because artists are the shy kids in the corner, and a sketchpad is a lockpick to the greater world.