This week The Cairo Review of Global Affairs described Brothers of the Gun as “an indispensable read that features how ordinary youths change, adapt, and resist, in different forms, in the face of unceasing injustices”. And “a story of hope, fear, devastation, uncertainty, and bravery told through a concise and personal narrative. It is an essential read for anyone who seeks to understand what Raqqa has endured”.
Former US Marine Dewaine Farrina reviewed Brothers of the Gun for The Mantle .He gave an eloquent description of his time in Syria, before and after Arab Spring, and his impressions of the book. Describing Molly as “one of the most influential visual artists of our time” and saying that “(Marwan) demonstrates courage in every sense of the word”. Check out his wonderful piece Sea Stories and Memoirs: A Review of Brothers of the Gun.
The Karam Foundation is a non-profit that began in Chicago in 2007 that provides aid to Syrian refugees. They create education and entrepreneurial opportunities, as well as give direct emergency assistance to recently relocated Syrians. You may remember them from the murals Molly painted at Karam House and in schools in Reyhanli, Turkey in 2015.
Called an art movement “in and of herself”, Crabapple is a highly politicized artist and writer who gets around the world of sound bites, producing a new kind of long form journalism.
While she was in the West Bank, besides sketching what she saw, Crabapple, who chose her name at age 19 when she was working as a naked model, was reading from her forthcoming illustrated memoir, Drawing Blood.
One might say that 30-something is too young to be writing one’s memoirs, but Crabapple started out early on the path to success, hell-bent on remaining a maverick.
“Since I’ve written my memoir I’ve been thinking back on my decisions and they could be taken as adult and mature or just [those of] a weird person. I think I was just weird,” she said.
Organized by PEN American Center and the National Coalition Against Censorship, the panel discussion “After Charlie: What’s Next for Art, Satire and Censorship,” illustrated some of the problems inherent in offering a civilized response to an utterly uncivilized act …
Cartooning is particularly “inflammatory,” said comics artist and illustrator Crabapple, because “it is visceral and irritates authoritarian assholes.” But she also noted that it’s easy for cartooning to be “taken out of context,” stripped of ironic intent and nuance, and used to provoke and offend. Indeed, she suggested, in the age of social media, where images are regularly recontextualized and recirculated, the ability to demonize an image, and its creator, will likely worsen.
Molly Crabapple is a pseudonym but it’s somehow fitting for the artist who learnt to draw a proper nose aged only four. She has a permanent collection at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, but remarkably Crabapple is self-taught. Her trajectory into the world of illustration was unconventional: having dropped out of FIT (New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology) she launched her own leftfield drawing school in 2005 at the tender age 22. When she founded Dr Sketchy Art School Anti-Art School, she entered into a world of burlesque dancers, drag queens and underground performers. However, this was a familiar world to Crabapple. At 19 she started working as a life model, and that was in fact when Molly Crabapple first adopted her alias.
“When I go on TV, Twitter digs up old photos of me at parties and asks the producers why they have such a bimbo on air,” says Crabapple. “But the thing about proving things? Your jaggedness just goads you on – it makes you sharper and harder. It gives you swagger.” And boy, does she have swagger.
“Crabapple describes Kickstarter as a modern day alternative to a broken, elitist, jargon-heavy unapproachable grant system that it doesn’t take advantage of the internet. This is her third project funded by the site, and while it may be ambitious, it’s not unusual. For her, that is.
She’s already painted a 90-foot mural for a nightclub in London, in a signature style one might describe as Dr. Seuss meets Toulouse-Lautrec (pigs snorting coke and Parisian dancers hanging from the ceiling are standard motifs). She once painted for eight hours a day in the lobby of the Standard hotel in New York, creating a series of four feet “surrealist Victoriana” masterpieces. But nothing has quite prepared her for “Week in Hell,” which will happen sometime this September.”
Comic Con is over, for me at least. What a whirl of parties (MTV! Amanda Palmer’s Party on the Internet! DC Comics! The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund! Yosi Sergant’s Re:Form School! All in three days!) Yesterday, I had the somewhat surreal experience of donning a blazer, with uber-smart Pablo Defendini and Daniel Burwen, talking about arty/techy doom/possibility to an audience including five of my former teachers.