Interview with Molly Schafer
q) What is your name and what do you do?
a)My name is Molly Schafer and I make drawings, objects, and videos.
q)When did you really get into art?
a)Always. But really, really into it as the main thing in my life was while attending The Corcoran College of Art and Design.
q)How did you come to the realization that you should try your luck at art on
a more serious level?
a)When I realized how much better I was at art than other people. Just kidding, sorta. I’ve invested a lot in
my art career and so I take it pretty seriously.
q)How did you discover the particular style that you have?
a)I combine my traditional painting education and my scientific illustration experience. As I often work with fantasy,
or the plausible impossible, more descriptive and rendered drawings add a necessary element of realism.
Ornamentation is another stylistic element. Lately I have been working with watercolors and bringing color
back into my work, along with looser rendering. People really want color and beauty and I am starting to be Ok with that.
q)How would you describe your style?
a)Descriptive detail and flattened space alternate, causing a fluctuation of presence: from the real to the
psychological. Seams, refractions, combinations of precious and fungible objects help to highlight the
q)Who or what influences your art?
a)Many things! Paleobiology, mammology, pre-historical fiction, mysticism, my real life animal encounters, American
subcultures. Essentially how science and magic connect. Loose associations between my varied interests act as a catalyst. My personal longing for a more magical, more animal mode of existence is becoming a chief influence.
q)How often do you create a new piece?
a)It is hard to say. I have research periods and production periods. I have a new idea almost daily
but limited studio time.
q)What kind of success have you had with your art?
a)Well I’ve had exhibitions and publications and reviews. I am part of a critique group of 5 artists who have
been meeting bi-monthly for over a year now. Creating a sustained discourse about concept, ideas,
and practice feels like success in a potentially isolating, post-grad school existence. Also a fun
moment for me was watching two 7 year olds girls find and search for more of my centaur drawings from a wall
of hundreds of pieces of art. That really stood out, perhaps they are my target audience.
q)What would be the ultimate goal for you and your art?
a)Well I’d like to have more solo shows and a book published. But if we’re talking ultimate I’d say getting
grants to travel to exotic locales and hang out with unusual animals. This past spring I travelled to
Assateague Island to for a video piece. Assateague has feral horses roaming about and lots of wildlife. That
was pretty much an amazing experience. I’m also interested in travelling to Mongolia to see the Takhi, the
only remaining wild horses on Earth.
q)What do you see as an accomplishment in the way of art?
a)An accomplishment for me? Or in general? Work that has a social impact while retaining
a high art component, for example, the work of Natalie Jeremijenko, always strikes me as an accomplishment,
perhaps because it is so different from the work I do. In general I appreciate meaningful gestures over say, diamond skulls.
q)What kind of message, if any, do you try to convey through your art?
a)I think the one over arching message I have always been interested in communicating is that we are animals
too, and not really that different from non-human animals. That everything is connected and there isn’t a clear
line between nature and culture (Orcas and Orangutans have documented cultures). That categorizing the world the way we
do limits our experience of it.
q)Sum up your art in one word.
a)I don’t think I can!
q)Any additional comments?