Molly Broxton: The Intimate Artistry of Observation

Molly BroxtonWhen did you first know you were an artist?
Hiding under a table as a child, eating an artichoke for the first time, at an art opening of a group of my mother’s friends, I definitely knew that I wanted to be surrounded by artists. How better to ensure the company of artists?

Favorite medium(s) you use to make art
Oils, photography

What are the most interesting new trends in your field? Is your work changing as a result?
The existence of digital media as a medium in and of itself, and as an avenue for sharing work, has changed so much of how we create and display work, and how we interact with one another. In that same vein, digital photography allows me to capture each phase of a painting with enough accuracy that I feel emboldened to go further and take risks I might not otherwise take; I feel less afraid of ‘ruining’ a piece by pushing it past the point at which I previously might have stopped. If I do make something worse, rather than better, I still have a compelling record of each previous iteration.

Talk about your creative process – where/when do you get most of your ideas and how do you know a piece is ‘finished’?
I’m very nosy, constantly eavesdropping, constantly observing those around me. Painting portraits allows me to commit to hours of uninterrupted observation and analysis of everything that makes up a subject— there is a huge amount of risk, vulnerability, trust, and intimacy in sitting for a portrait. I’m inspired when someone wants to be “seen” so fully.

I often don’t know for certain when a piece is ‘finished’ (my mother the artist generally responds to my text messages showing crude underpaintings with an all-caps ‘STOP NOW IT’S PERFECT’). I suppose [it’s finished] once I start to feel that my curiosity has been satisfied?

Do you also teach or are you strictly a creative artist? Who was your most influential mentor and why? How do you see the role of being a mentor? and why?
I do not do any teaching, but I love encouraging others to paint or create.

My most influential in-person mentor has been Costa Vavagiakis, with whom I studied briefly at the Art Students League. His generosity and warmth saved me from a goofy fear of instruction and discomfort with doing creative work in the company of others.

Through online friendship, I have been greatly pushed forward by Tim Lowly, who sees things in my work before I even understand them about myself.

What are you working on now?
Observing. Setting up studio space in Kingston.

How has being in Kingston enhanced/inspired your work? What do you like best about living in Kingston/being involved with MAD? How long have you been here?
I’ve been in Kingston less than a year, but it was Kingston’s embrace of artists and makers that brought us here. All of our favorite artists, weirdos and makers seemed to be here or looking to come.
(917) 720-6195

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