Rebecca Molloy | British multidisciplinary artist, based in London
2014 MA Fine Art, Chelsea College Of Arts
2008 BA Fine Art, Coventry University
What was the point when you realised you wanted to pursue art?
I always liked art when I was at school but I don't think I knew what an artist really was until I went to the Tate Modern on a school trip, when I was 17. I remember seeing a John Currin painting`and being totally blown away by it. At that point I went to do a foundation course. I don’t think I realised until I was doing my BA that it was definitely what I wanted to do.
Do you think perceptions about conceptual art are changing?
I think generally people have a bit of a fear of contemporary art - they just don't understand it. At face value, they look at a Van Gogh painting and think they understand it. Then they look at contemporary art and maybe it is something they have not seen before or maybe it is something they have seen before, like a pile of bricks - so there is a bit of skepticism and questions about where the craft is and whether it means something.
Has your work always been conceptual?
No, when I was on my BA I made a lot of portraits and figurative work. It was when I did my MA things changed. I am still interested in all the same things, like the body. It was a slow gradual process of me looking at other stuff, researching and making work that was outside of portraiture and figurative painting.
On the MA at Chelsea, it is all about demolishing what you have done already - so for the first module, you have 4 weeks to do a project. I made video and I had never made video before. That had a massive impact. You need the place, time and the people around you for the work to develop.
Who have been the most influential people in your work?
Tutors were hugely influential, they are always really insightful, for example they see what you are interested in or notice things that you are not aware of yet.
I think the people around me have also had a massive impact on my practice.
What is your definition of success?
For me personally, to just make the work that is really my work - that integrity thing. However difficult or challenging that is. It’s hard to be sure what you are making is really the right thing.
What stops people from being successful as an artist?
You have to sacrifice a lot - that might be money, or things in your personal life, or all of your free time. Not everyone has the means necessarily to do that or even the inclination.
Why the body?
I have always been fascinated with the way the body looks and how it is represented online and within popular culture. I'm also interested in the way it feels and the physiology of it. I read a lot around psychology and the human mind, so my work always comes back to the body in some form or another.
What do you want your art to do?
I would like it to intrigue people, give them knowledge and affect them emotionally and physically.
What was one big lesson from your MA?
Not to settle for anything. Really challenge everything you do, and look at it with rigour. Within my practice that means thinking about it in a broader sense. That could come through research and making things you have never made before.
What is your day to day routine?
It depends on whether I am working towards a show. When I begin a piece of work I might read and write a lot and then I make plans for sculptures and installations. But it all happens very organically. Apart from when the deadline draws close and I need to finish a piece of work, then things perhaps become a bit more systematic. Often there is a large design element to the work, but the ideas comes when I'm about to fall asleep or when I'm doing something unrelated to art.
Do you have any rituals?
I try to avoid any type of routine, I don't want it to feel like a job. Ultimately, making art is about expressing myself, so I don't have set ways of doing things instead I like things to happen and evolve organically.
Tell us a little about your latest video piece you created
Lay Those Eyes Down, is a video piece I created for a solo exhibition I had at Block 336 gallery, in November 2016: http://block336.com/exhibitions/bad-limbs-rebecca-molloy/. The basic premise was to create a music video that references pop artists such as Nicki Minaj and Beyoncé, but that also questioned and subverted the genre. So, I made the entire set, including the cactuses and props such as eyeballs and pink boobs, the idea being that the dancers activated these objects whilst giving the choreography a narrative to work through. The narrative came from my research of how women are represented historically and in the contemporary and included references to the greek myth The Judgement of Paris and female physiology such as the amount of blood a woman loses during menstruation, which is represented by pink milkshake within the video.
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