Molly Mendoza

Molly, since childhood, had always used art as a means to make connections with others whether it be through image or story. They continued to relate back to those childhood connections in work that developed over the course of her college education at Estrella Mountain Community College and later at the Pacific Northwest College of Art. Since then they have branched out into editorial work and their own personal art practice. Clients have included Adobe, The New York Times, Hazlitt, and The Atlantic. In their personal practice they have recently kicked off the Fresh Paint Mural Project with RACC and Open Signal with hopes for more murals in the future. However, their narrative work still remains fixated on the relationships we share with others and the emotional journeys we go on — highs and lows alike. In a lot of ways Molly still uses their art to make connections with people. They now live in Portland, Oregon.

To find out a little more about Molly’s work, we asked the following questions:

What inspires your work?

I have always been inspired by manga and anime ever since I started watching it after getting home from elementary school. My favorites included Sailor Moon and Speed Racer — I loved the bold colors and iconic characters like so many of us did as kids and even now. I connected with my peers by drawing them as sailor scouts or creating stories about our make-believe, magical identities. We would become friends, we would fight, we would drift apart, and find eachother again. As time went on I became interested in more content but there was one feeling that stoked a creative flame with me even to this day. It was the relationships that I have developed and lost and kept along the way that inform my practice the most. Art was a tool, for so long, for me to make friends. Now I can say that I am also inspired by noise music, traveling alone, bold fashion, and other artists in my field but I am still so greatly influenced by the relationships that I have made and how I felt along the way. Being an emotional person always finds its way into my work and I feel that the tone is just as important to it as the brushstrokes.

Tell us a bit about your process….

I tend to always start with sketches and thumbnails that are usually drawn up on whatever paper I can find. There are tons of sketchbooks in random places in my apartment that have, what look like, chicken scratch and scribbles that act as my guide for a drawing later. I draw using sumi ink and brush over loose pencils. If I make a mistake I try and work through it because maybe there is a way that I can keep it or I can carve away at it digitally to turn my accident into intention. I scan the sumi ink into my computer and isolate the black pixels of the inkwork using channels. This process keeps my washes and strokes from getting muddy and allows me to avoid the multiply filter. From there I color and shape up my inkwork until it reaches final. At times I also have washes scanned in that I can add to the image or manipulate to make cool shapes or patterns.