Molly Crabapple has gone on to raise eyebrows and many a fan boy’s libido with her comics that feature corset clad, Victorian dressed women. As a burlesque dancer, Molly has woven together art and sensuality to create an open education she has named Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art school. The class gathers together people who can relax, have a good time, and draw different dancers from the burlesque world. She opened up about her life, her hosting duties, and her philosophies.
“[When I was a] seventeen-year-old girl [I wanted] to run away to Paris for a while. I mean what artsy girl wouldn’t. It taught me how to live by my wits; it showed me what things are possible, things you can’t get if you’re living in the suburbs.” Molly said.
Molly, a petite New Yorker with gothic locks, pale skin, and a face layered with a full smile and long eyelashes is decorated with just the right hues to give her a porcelain exterior and doll-like essence. She didn’t want to stay in the suburbs. Growing up there was enough of an incentive to get out as fast as she could. From her early childhood, she taught herself how to draw mainly from the book Alice in Wonderland, noting that the art in the book was one of special interest to her.
“It’s not [so much] the story; it’s the line work. The guy who illustrated them was this real master of pen and ink so I really learned a lot from that, and that’s also the medium that I like to work with the most,” said Molly.
She has already released a coloring book and several other graphic novels and sketches of her work available for purchase on her website (www.mollycrabapple.com). The theme in her artwork correlates well with her creativity as a burlesque dancer. Through her performance art and drawings, she has woven together art and sensuality to create her own form of self-expression.
“[I did] burlesque for over three years. I got into it because I was in love with Talusula Trek when I was a kid, and the burlesque revival sort of struck me as one of those Parisian Can-Can halls come to life. It was so hyper-detailed and funny,” Molly said as to what inspired her to become a performer.
Molly also pulls hosting duties as an anti-art educator with her group Dr. Sketchy’s. Dr. Sketchy’s Anti- Art school supplies its students with an open bar. Spectators pay a small fee and can learn while drawing different dancers from the burlesque world. In fact, the group has become so popular that it has spawned international branches all over the world, making Molly an innovator.
“The power of the internet helped a lot. I host Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art school, which is offered at the Lucky Cat in Brooklyn, New York. It’s held every other Saturday. It’s not really a class, but what makes it an Anti-Art school is that there’s drinking, pornographic allusions, you get free stuff, there are people dressed up in crazy costumes, and it only costs ten dollars instead of thousands,” Molly said about the group.
In much of her Victorian inspired work, Molly seems to take viewers through a world that would be repressive to women. Her bold line work, mixed with a heavy saturation of erotic overtones and corsets clad might leave one to wonder why she would portray women in such erotic ways in a time period that was not as free as Molly’s depictions.
“Well, I like to think that I’m just as degrading to men as I am to women, you know I have this comic strip that runs in Playgirl where I do the same things to guys. I think I just objectify anyone, I almost think that the essence of art is objectification. I guess I’m just a 13-year old boy trapped in a girl’s body,” said Molly.
Those seeking a more PG Molly, who is also an avid comic book enthusiast, can find her in the mainstream as well. Her work has appeared in Weird Tales Magazine. She has even been a part of the Marvel Underground anthology where she got to re-imagine She-Hulk as a Victorian-Era feminist.
“Poor Jennifer Walters is being forced into a marriage with a man that she doesn’t love but she Hulk’s out at the altar and end’s up throwing the groom into the cake,” said Molly.
Molly credits her fear of dying as the motivation for her durability. She couples it with the nice incentive that she doesn’t have to work a day job as the major reason she has been able to become so versatile, which is advice she advocates to all those seeking their dreams.
“[Everyone] should think about their impending deaths, and the intense gloominess at spending their entire life working a crappy day job instead of doing something that they really like. That’s what motivates me. The walk up the ladder was a bit hard, but I’m always a bit awed at how quick it happened. I really genuinely feel that if anyone is smart and cunning enough and has even a moderate amount of talent then they can do it, they just have to work really hard,” said Molly.
* Molly Crabapple gets 4 P's out of 4.
Next time on This Peculiar Life...
Sin City comes to New York City, and celebrity relatives can be found hidden in the closet.