Category Archives: Photos

Jeel School Mural

Molly again participated in Zeitouna, a program aimed at aiding and inspiring the youngest victims of the Syrian crisis. Alongside other mentors, she returned to Reyhanli, Turkey to paint murals for the Jeel School for Syrian refugee children.

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Like these? Consider donating to Karam Foundation, a grassroots organization working on both sides of the border.



Molly Crabapple will not be silenced. The New York artist has come a long way from nude modeling and doodling, asserting herself as an important political voice, pen and brush of the art world. Whether she’s on the Islamic front in Syria sketching, writing an article for VICE, or working on her forthcoming illustrated memoir, Drawing Blood (out in 2015 published by Harper Collins), Crabapple is a force to be reckoned with.

— by Lori Zimmer with photos by Jonathan Grassi, for Creem Magazine

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.

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.

Bluestockings Signing

Thanks so much to everyone who came out to Bluestockings last night to hear Sarah Jaffe be incisive, and me prattle about Toulouse-Lautrec fetishes, oppositional defiant disorder, art, money, and rebellion.

Bluestockings has some signed copies of Devil in the Details, in case you couldn’t make it.

Beautiful friends

pins for Shell Game backers (got them right before the signing, and excited!)

Behind the Scenes Painting

Working on Shell Game means I often spend 10-12 hours a day in front of a giant piece of wood, wearing Fred’s old shirts, punching my hands so they work and trying to create a convincing universe.

laying down tape to make stripes

Working this much means that I seldom leave the loft, which is devolving into a sort of troll-cave. I only eat to make my stomach shut up, and feel like I’m bleeding paint.

Zuccotti Park Hair

It’s kind of nice.

Being in front of that wood panel is simple. At this point, I know exactly what to do.

I just have to stand there a hundred hours and do it

P.S. Just to keep from complete troll-devolution, I managed to escape to a fairy castle for the weekend.


beautiful and burnt out building. Athens

From July 4-9, me and journalist Laurie Penny travelled to Athens to research Discordia, an illustrated ebook on life under the Eurozone crisis.  Random House UK will be releasing it in early fall

my sketchbook

We interviewed striking steelworkers, queer activists, migrant organizers, anarchists, Bangladashi marketing students, and SYRIZA journalists.

memorial for fifteen year old boy murdered by police. Exarcheia

We drank endless frappes in Exarcheia, anarchist stronghold and home of  the finest graffiti in the world.

Graffiti at the base of the Acropolis

Because we’re working on a book, I’m not going to talk too much about the trip, except to say that I was utterly humbled by the generosity we were met with.

Especially that of our fixer, the Greek Spider Jerusalum, Yiannis Baboulias.

Anti-racist festival

But really, of every fucking Greek we met.  Thank you, guys.  We hope we do you proud.

My office

Laurie hiding from the daytime heat

Anti-fascist poster. Exarcheia

Paris/Amsterdam with Royal Talens

Dear Comrades,

with the Mona Lisa. Bitch totally photobombed me.

I’m writing to you from the black and brocade lobby of the Vondel Hotel in Amsterdam.

I’ve spent the past week in Europe, at the behest of my beloved Royal Talens, the art supply company that showers me in nifty toys. The ink, acrylics I use? The motherfucking Arches paper? Is by them.

Royal Talens brought nine of their favorite artists, from a variety of disciplines, out to Paris and Amsterdam.

Nike of Samothrace, my favorite sculpture as a kid. Nary a tourist in site.

We got to eat violet macarons, have a private tour of the Louvre, and see the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum, Rembrandt House, and even the Royal Talens factory.

It was at this very place I had that surreal, late stage capitalist experience of seeing the disassembled versions of the paint tubes I struggle with daily.

Van de Linde art supplies gave each artist a huge package of art toys, selected just for them.

On my off time, I worked on a portrait series called Amsterdam Demimonde. I drew and spoke to escorts, digital rights activists, erotic filmmakers, and the co-organizer of Vondelbunker, an artspace in a former bomb shelter. Hope to put it online in the next few weeks.

Venus de Milo sketched from life.

Kate, with epic hat

It was an honor and  a delight to see two of my favorite cities again.  Also to meet the other artists- big ups to Casey Baugh, Willow Wolfe, Kate Zambrano, Amir Fallah (founder of Beautiful Decay) and Jessica Lopez.

We all nearly got killed by bikes

Next stop- London, for some meetings.  And then, Athens with journo Laurie Penny, to create DiscordiaDiscordia, our art/journalism mashup about Athens during  Eurozone crisis, will be released by Random House UK as an e-book in fall.

Thank you so much to Canson, Royal Talens, and Kyle Richardson, who organized the trip.

Best ass in art history, sketched from life at the Louvre.

Amsterdam, looking like Gingerbread land

The Louvre during our private tour. Wanted to roller skate.

Molly Crabapple’s Week in Hell

What is Molly Crabapple’s Week in Hell?

To celebrate my 28th birthday, I’m renting a room, locking myself inside for five days, covering the walls with paper, and filling every inch of that paper with art. I might go insane, or it might be awesome. I’m inviting you along for the ride.

I’m interested in what happens when an artist leaves their studio, their cliches, and their comfort zone and draws beyond the limits of their endurance. I also want to see what tarts and squidbeasts look like frollicking on a massive scale.

During the week, amazing photographer Steve Prue will be documenting the art created, my increasing insanity, and the cast of muses, musicians and miscreants that comes to keep me company. We’ll wrap this up into an art book, Molly Crabapple’s Week in Hell, with a forward by Transmetropolitan creator Warren Ellis.

PEN Festival

photo by Flavorwire

So… I haven’t updated the site with my many lovely Star. St Germain photos from Stumptown, because I have spent the last week at the PEN Festival painting giant paintings on the subjects of Labour, Truth, Revolution, War and Money.

And now I’m a little bit broken.

They’re getting auctioned off at PEN’s closing gala to raise money for PEN’s work with writers who don’t live in particularly writer-friendly countries.

Here’s an interview I did for Flavorwire, and a truly terribly shot video of crazy Molly and her paintings after it was all over.

More photos coming up. Promise

Photo from Paris

Shakespeare and Company, ten years after I first went there (and I say this without irony), became myself

Photo by Juliane Berry

Me when I was 17, in front of Shakespeare and Co, with founder George Whitman

SXSW, I love you

God, what an amazing, sun filled, barbecue stuffed three days in Austin. SXSW, I love you, and I only regret leaving you so soon.

Btw, seeing one’s crazed octopus illustration on the arms of fifty thousand people is quite a trip

Some press:
* The Atlantic

Still, for all the possibilities for innovation, social media clearly has a dark side. Molly Crabapple, a New York-based illustrator and founder of the alt-art social drawing gathering Dr. Sketchy’s, said she sometimes fears a future where no one has jobs, and work is a series of games and challenges. You wouldn’t work at Wal-Mart, she told the audience, you’d be part of the Wal-Mart Challenge! “And the prize,” Crabapple said, “would be what used to be called your salary.”

* The Austin Chronicle

Now several thousand tech mavens are carrying her image of a top-hatted octopus working a steam-powered computer. Molly said, “I thought it would be a fun play on this super-techy convention to see this Luddite, low-tech version of the computer.”

* SXSW Interactive