Updated: Mar 24
Molly Route is a Ukrainian illustrator, photographer, designer of numerous music albums covers and singles, author of over 2000 pieces of art as well as a clothing designer.
The artist in her artwork presents her vision of everyday life, changing our understanding of what we know as reality. Her Universe exists in a parallel dimension, everything is possible here - ordinary household items acquire unique character traits and dead insects convey a philosophical message about the transience of life.
Read more about Molly Route's fantasy world and her fruitful collaborations with other artists, musicians and clothing brands.
Yuliana Arles: The illustrator is an explorer of the world who presents his vision of reality, changing our understanding of the everyday life. From your hand of an illustrator, characters come to life. Even inanimate objects such as a TV or a tram have their own character and history. How is the Molly Route universe created? How do the ideas and plots of your work come about?
Molly Route: I never cease to admire nature, this is the main source of my inspiration. If we talk about everyday household space, I think that the world around is so simple, but there is so much philosophy and beauty in this simplicity. There is no end and edge to it.
I often tell myself:“There are so many things that have not been painted yet. Every particle of this world would look so great on snow-white paper". I don't have a list of ideas because my creativity is spontaneous. I create here and now. Likewise, I don’t know what I’ll paint tomorrow.
Yuliana Arles: What technique do you work in? What materials help you to convey a certain content and mood to the viewer?
Molly Route: My technique is graphics, my main tool is a black gel pen. I often draw on white cardboard, but as an experiment I want to try to depict something on gray or beige paper. I also started printmaking.
Yuliana Arles: Your real name is Svetlana Goncharova, how did your creative pseudonym come about?
Molly Route: One day in 2014, I drew several New Year's cards for sale in one coffee shop. They featured cute animals. These cards sold out very quickly, and I drew some more. So I became friends with a black gel pen and I couldn't stop. I drew something every day. To share my artwork, I decided to create an art page on social networks, and then the question arose - What name to choose?. I didn't want to stay Svetlana Goncharova, as there are a lot of artists with that name. Playing with simple words, I found what suited me perfectly. This is how Molly Route appeared.
Yuliana Arles: Besides your artistic activity, you are also a wonderful street photographer in Kyiv, you seem to know all the secrets of that city. How did you get interested in street photography? How do you manage to combine within an artist and a photographer at the same time?
Molly Route: One activity does not interfere with the other. I have an idea one day to use a collage to combine my graphics and analogue photography. It doesn't matter to me what kind of photographic equipment is in my hands, what is important is that I can capture the moment of the beauty that my eyes find. Photography for me is an essential part of my creative path.
Yuliana Arles: How many works does your portfolio have? Where is it possible to find your illustrations?
Molly Route: In fact, there are over 2000 of pieces of my artwork, but not all the originals have been scanned and converted into digital. There are only 500 of them in this format, which are collected on the art page MOLLY ROUTE on Facebook.
Yuliana Arles: Most of your artwork is created in black and white, and you only use color to accent certain details. Why did you choose this method of depiction?
Molly Route: Black is so simple and straightforward. Such graphics look easy on any wall. Even in photography, I prefer black & white pictures.
Yuliana Arles: Your workshop is located in a very special place where 50 more artists create their art. Can you tell us more about this place? Is this atmosphere conducive to the creative process? Maybe you are already making or planning joint projects with some of the artists?
Molly Route: The art workshops of The Kiev Institute of Automation are located on the quiet Nagornaya street. This place is special for me, because it is my first workshop. Its old wooden window overlooks the garden. In this garden I grow flowers, drink tea, and watch birds …
Being among talented artists is a real pleasure, this interaction certainly gives rise to joint projects. Every third Saturday of the month, we open the doors of our workshops for acquaintance and communication. This is a valuable and important experience for every artist. “My best friend” that's how I call my little but cosy workshop.
Yuliana Arles: In addition to all of your above talents, you also design music albums covers. Can you tell us about your experience working with musicians? What kind of music do you listen to?
Molly Route: My art often brings me together with various musicians. In the summer, I attend open-air music festivals and meet musicians from all over the world. I create images not only for albums or singles, it can be a poster or any piece of merchandise. Such symbiosis arises only from inspiration. Each cover has its own wonderful story. If we talk about my musical preferences - I choose 60th folk, old cosy jazz / blues or classics.
Yuliana Arles: You have a professional education as a clothing designer. Your unique graphics can definitely add a distinctive style to wardrobe items. Please tell me if you have any experience of working with a clothing brand, or maybe you are designing your own brand yourself?
Molly Route: I have repeatedly collaborated with various Ukrainian brands, but over time I realized that my strength and experience would be enough to create my own brand. It is already registered. Combining my black pictures and a laconic cut, I get stylish, practical things.
Yuliana Arles: What are you working on now and what do you plan to implement in the near future?
Molly Route: Now I am continuing my “little black still life”. This series consists of simple drawings, the main character of which is only one everyday object. For example, a spoon or a pack of cigarettes.
I am also working on the series “Dreams of Wooden Windowsills” - it is about the transience of time. I find dead insects by old windows and draw them from nature, so I continue their short life on paper.
In the near future I am preparing an exhibition of graphics marked "18+", it will be a cycle of pornographic illustrations.
Yuliana Arles: Your illustrations convey a certain mood, create the illusion of dynamics and depth. There are people who are so delighted with your work that they even chose them as tattoos on their own bodies. Can you share your secrets on how to develop your own unique style? What advice do you have for aspiring illustrators?
Molly Route: All artists are different - for some, illustration it's a kind of mechanical job and routine, but for others it is pure inspiration. Aspiring illustrators hardly need my advice. They will find their own recipe. The 21st century has created favourable conditions for development, and it is a sin not to use it. All you need is to do is draw, draw, draw...
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