Meet the Crafters: Art Brat Comics
It’s not easy to make an empowering message both humorous and adorable, but that is just what Mollie Cronin of Art Brat Comics has been able to do! Mollie grew up in a family of artists, but as a teenager, she was determined to rebel from these artistic roots! “It was a pretty weak rebellion, because I ended up at a liberal arts college (King’s), and after a lecture on art history it all clicked. I transferred to NSCAD the next year into their art history program.”
Mollie contributes her talents to a cartoon strip in The Coast and has recently started getting more attention for work that communicates important messages on body image and self love. “I find cartooning is a great way to articulate simple truths, and I get to be funny.” Well said Mollie! We can’t wait to see Art Brat Comics in full force at the show!
What do you make?
Drawings, cartoons, fat babe illustrations, stickers, and painted flower pots with cigarettes, skulls, eyeballs, and naked people.
What is your process?
The drawing is a pretty simple process, but for more complex projects, I’ll do the same image over and over until I get it right! I use a light table to trace the drawing. The flower pots are painted terra cotta. I draw out the image on the pot then use oil paint markers to squeeze out the paint so that it pools into the shape I want. I always do as many of these as I can at a time because I have to wait a little while between the different coats. This means my floor is pretty much booby-trapped with all of these wet, precariously perched pots.
What part of the process is most rewarding?
I think seeing my drawings and pots in the real world is most satisfying. Customers sometimes send me photographs of a framed piece or a pot with a plant inside and I love getting to see that! It’s special to see that other people love them.
How did you get started?
I started doing cartoons the summer after I graduated. I had a job where I was at a computer all day, and one day I was waiting forever for this document to scan and was so frustrated! I doodled this angry little cartoon of myself and felt better. Then I want home and drew about ten more. It’s been pretty much non-stop from there.
Why do you do what you do?
I make a lot of cartoons about the ways women and femmes are undermined. It’s a way of validating women and femmes’ feelings; taking something that frustrated me and translating that into something that validates other people’s experiences.
As for the fat babes, it’s similar. I wanted to speak these simple truths. Like what if people were encouraged to love their fat bodies? So much of the dialogue I grew up hearing around fatness and desire was loving someone despite their fatness, or fetishizing it. I worked through my own body issues by drawing them. I’m inspired by my own experiences and the people around me; the people I want to empower and make laugh.
Where do you do your work?
I work at home. I just recently set up a desk with all of my supplies and it’s been so nice! Before then, I always worked in my bed, so everything I own is stained with marker ink and white paint. I’ve started hanging drawings on my walls around me and buying flowers. It feels like a real little studio.
What do you listen to while you work?
I listen to music all day doing freelance work, so when I get home and work on cartoons I tend to put on Gilmore Girls. I’m pretty much perpetually re-watching it.
What’s something that is always on your desk/ workspace?
Dried flowers, a photo of my parents, and some drawings of Kliban cats with silly costumes.
When you’re not selling at markets, where can I find your work?
I sell at Lost & Found and Daily Grind in Halifax, and at Bell Weather in Fredericton.