Mollie Moore is passionate about her work. While the mediums may change from graphing to garments, her approach continues to expand the human experience. Mollie does that well, her eye is keen for style and her hand delivers in detail, her impatient curiosity keeps her exploring new destinations abroad. While at her home in Long Beach, California we explored her influences, her graphing expression and why she enjoys being an eclectic citizen born to travel. – What Youth
What Youth: Where did you grow up?
Mollie Moore: I grew up in North Carolina on the Outer Banks. My mom traveled for eighteen years and my dad kind of stayed local, leaving for surf trips in the winter, so when I turned eighteen I was like, ‘I don’t want to be here anymore, I need to get out and see what’s going on elsewhere.’ I wasn’t a fan of school, it being so apparent that my buddy Alex and I got voted most likely not to return back to the Banks by our senior class. Looking back now, I couldn’t imagine growing up anywhere else – It’s secluded and unique, and I look to this little strip of land now as an escape from reality. I ended up graduating a semester early and taking off to Europe for a few months by myself at eighteen. When I returned I headed down to Savannah, Georgia for art school that fall not really knowing what I wanted to major in, but I knew liked fashion and drawing. It only took a few months for me to realize it wasn’t my scene and I was starting to hate pumping out art, so I applied to FIDM in like a 3 AM mid-art project crisis and have been in California ever since.
Right now, I have been reading Girl in a Band by Kim Gordon in my free time. It was cool to read about her side during the days in Sonic Youth and other side gigs she did. Aside from the music aspect, some parts were relatable at this time in my life coming from the East Coast to California and how she dealt with growing up and her family getting sick. Her overall take on being a chick that doesn’t really follow the girly expectations. It’s pretty nice to have someone to reference that who you look up to.
Does literature influence your work?
I’m big on keeping all my school books from over the years and cruising around Barnes & Noble to see what catches my eye. It’s hard to find time sometimes with my lack of self-discipline to actually read, but I like to look at anatomy books and old photography books. Whenever I go up to Santa Barbara, I always stop by this little thrift store on State Street and look at the vintage Playboy books they have. Between those and the anatomy books, I would say that kinda hits the nail on the head for my most influential literature. [Laughs]
What was your introduction to design?
For sure my dad. He’s a contractor and I was always with him on the job sites on the weekends or out on the beach with him when he went fishing with my coloring book to keep me busy when the sun went down. His mom was artistic too, so I think it just kinda trickled down from there. My parents got me a sweet tank of a desk when I was around three for Christmas. It had a little makeshift light-board and spinning crayon holder that I lived at until I grew out of it. When I got a little older, I would try and mimic this one wave he would always doodle, and it was nice for me to have something to relate with him surfing-wise seeing as I never got into it other than going with him to check the waves across the street. I had the privilege of attending art classes after school and weekends with a family friend, Mrs. LaRose, who always was pushing me and encouraging me as well. When I went to Georgia for school, I started getting bummed on being in studio classes for 40 hours a week and pumping out work that I wasn’t in the mood to do. When I went to FIDM I started drawing and painting again on the side when I felt like it and it felt a lot more natural for me.
What is your experience in cut and sew?
I did three years in the clothing development sourcing, textiles. and all that jazz. I started in marketing and realized it was too business and by the books, so I switched to product development. It was a happy little medium of business and creative. I designed a dress for my senior year of high school and did some projects in college, but finding time nowadays to make blocks and source fabric is hard. I ended up getting interested in the graphic design world during the last semester of college after all the jumping between majors. We had to do a twelve-piece mock clothing line, and then a nine-piece line. I did the twelve-piece line on Amuse Society and Herewith, kind of like a little collab project, then my nine-piece line was on Insight. I wanted my portfolio to show a mix between beach and punk. I had one playlist I listened to during both projects and did one of the graphics to Sonic Youth‘s cover of Superstar. My professor thought I did it off Carpenter’s version and she was like, “Have you ever heard the Sonic Youth version? It’s so dark and good.“ A light went off between us and we really kicked it off. When I graduated, she called me when she was sitting with the hiring manager for Roxy and was wondering if it was something that I was interested in. I was like, ‘Yeah 100%,’ I met up with her and ended up landing a job as a graphic designer for this brand I grew up obsessed with, So it’s safe to say I’m pretty smitten to be sitting in my job right now.
Do you have any other influences?
Just the surf scene in general, especially living Costa Mesa is really inspiring. Seeing everyone be themselves and you can pick and pull from that and everyone that passes through. I really just go on a day-to-day-basis and explore online and random books. I follow up with higher clothing designers like Gucci, Alice & Olivia, and Alexander Wang kind of. I like to get inspired off of that. My house back home is filled with stuff from South Africa that my mom brought back after she lived there for a few years. Françoise Hardy, Hailey Bieber, Debbie Harry – chicks that have a grungy tomboy style too that I find myself looking up online.
Sick, do you have any projects that you are excited to talk about?
I haven’t been working on anything since the art show (Heatwave) but I have been exploring more studies in body parts to work in pastel with hands and legs specifically. Also graphing things out more technically – it’s just helpful when doing pastel and helps my mind figure things out better. I am looking forward to incorporating some environmental images too because I have always been into drawing and painting waves as well.
Graphing is a raw medium.
It’s pretty fun to look into when you’re planning out a sketch. It comes in waves though, really all depending if I’m into drawing that day. Some days if I have a lot of coffee I can really look at something in detail for where the ridges would be. Then break it down, ‘Ok, break this down into three lines then add the lines to show area to it.’ The whole process kinda adds more time to the simplicity that pastel and graphite should be, but I get bummed because I have this piece on tracing paper from planning it out that looks sick in concept, but I also want to have a finished version of what I intended to make. So I’ll usually just redraw it more defined because I’ll know where the graphing would go, making two versions of one piece. It helps me too when I’m drawing the anatomy side of things for use of proportion and whatnot.
When did you start using this technique?
There’s this one artist I learned about in school, like in 2013, so I can’t remember off the top of my head, but it was cool because he did super jagged edges, and I don’t have the patience to finish anything in a sense. I like things done, the day of, even if it’s half done I like to make it look like it’s supposed to be half done. It’s nice to be able to have the grittiness of it to where there are my fingerprints, here’s everything, but then also here’s the finished piece. That is why I did the matting with the tape and everything so it looks like it is straight off my desk.
Are you trying to convey anything with your work?
Not specifically, I’ve always thought I was decent at sketching and pastel work. There’s this one photographer I am really inspired by, Brydie Mack. She does everything on film and captures girls in their purest and rawest form. I really like looking at all of her images. She takes pictures of chicks that are not clothed all the way but it’s so artsy in the aesthetic that it’s respected. So I think going through all of her stuff and having fun drawing it is the same technique that I have where it is kind of Boho but also grungy and weird. So having those two come together kind of helps me in a way.
What do you like doing when you are not working?
I like to go on trips when I can, I like to go up North and I also like to go back to NC and just drive up and down the coast. I also like going to shows whenever I can. I have a lot of talented friends I like to support and it’s a fun way to meet new people.
What can creatives do to help make the world a better place?
Just being true to one’s self. It’s important for everyone to be themselves. Also, I think people can overlook creatives in the big picture of real-world applications and their importance. We’re all taught to get into numbers and science while art programs are often not as highly funded, causing the creatives to be discouraged. I always had encouragement and appreciation towards the art side of businesses (stickers, logos, and clothing) but I never fully understood how important art is until I went to college where I was learning how everything down to simple color selection can have an impact at a physiological level. With the rise of social media and the demand to be different, it’s important to have brand representation not just through morals and product, but everything from packaging, marketing, and all the goodies. A simple investment in logo or branding to the consumer can result in free marketing through people wanting to take pictures and promote a product. Everyone has an idea of what they want, and with the help of us creative folk, we can make life a little more fun and enjoyable to look at.
For more of Mollie’s work click here