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23rd January 2020

Art in Mancunia: Molly James

Take a trip down the rabbit hole as Rosie Plunkett explores Molly James’ funny, eerie, relatable and kooky artwork ahead of Art in Mancunia
Art in Mancunia: Molly James
‘The Being, Knowing, Meta, Reason & Beauty Bib’. Photo: Molly James.

The Art in Macunia team first came across Molly James during the ‘Manchester Modest Fashion Show: Electric Bazaar X Whitworth’, a runway event which debuted the work of local ethical clothing brand, Electric Bazaar. 

While people mingled and chatted about the evening, Molly was perched on a bench creating life drawings for the audience after the show. Engrossed in her practice, she sketched drawings of people and their outfits to distribute out as a small token of the evening. 

Taking inspiration from artists such as Jamie Hewlett, Jermaine Rogers and Posy Simmonds, Molly creates ‘cartoon-esque illustrations’ all based on her ‘Bib and Biblets’ humanoid characters, that can be worked into many different scenarios or personalities.

This fun and creative style allows her freedom to imagine a range of unique individuals that can function alone or as a collective, whilst placing James’ work into a distinguishable category that is unmatched in style.

The comic drawings are often met with eerie stylistic aspects. This challenges the viewer, creating a sensation of walking on the edge between humour and unease. The film ‘Coraline’ comes to mind, a beautifully illustrated and deeply loved piece, but supplemented by a power to unnerve the viewer and stir a ‘monster under the bed’ type of childlike anxiety.

In Molly’s case, this comes in the form of the sunken eyes and lanky bodies of the Bib and Biblets, giving them human-like aspects that we can relate to, but also detaching them and separating them from us at the same time.

Alongside combining ideas about philosophy and culture, James’ drawings not only show abilities to portray a story or idea in a more informal and engaging way, but also allows for her opinions and views to shine through. This, in turn, creates moving, relatable and personal narratives. 

Her ability to alternate between her own specific style of personal practice and the commissioned work of Electric Bazaar, makes James a versatile and talented artist in not just hand drawn work but the technical and digital skill of her posters and illustrations.  

Molly recently graduated from the Manchester School of Art and is paving a way for herself to become an illustrator and artist.

You can find more of Molly’s work at her instagram: @landofbib or her Behance online portfolio.

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