I had the pleasure of meeting up with Molly in a cute bubble tea place that was crowded and cozy (classic Portland, right?), plop in the middle of my place and hers. Personable and warm, I could immediately tell why so many of her admirers love her so much and come back for more and more tattoos (I mean, aside from her AMAZING talent I mean have you seen her art?!). Molly has a goofiness about her that makes you want to tell her your most vulnerable secrets cause you know she’ll understand and better yet, make you see things from an angle that’ll make you laugh. She is genuine and real, and you can tell she has a lot of love to give.. Molly isn’t just a tattoo artist she’s a friend, she’s someone you want to trust with your story and someone you know is cheering you on. But I’m getting ahead of myself. As soon as I saw her in that crowded Portland tea shop I gave her a big hug and alas, we dove right in.
Friends, meet Molly.
Where are you from?
Port Angeles, Washington. Lots of Twilight, yes (Mariah here. Don’t worry, I asked. She’s team Jacob). It’s a small town along the coast. I go back home and visit my parents a lot.
What did you do before tattooing?
I have a degree in English and a barber’s license in Washington. This is the part that surprises people - I have actually been drawing since I was a little kid. I was homeschooled, and I remember spending time rushing through other subjects like math just so that I could draw. Mom would say, “if you do all the stuff that you HAVE to do during the week, I will pay for art classes.” I was homeschooled through 10th grade and did Running Start for 11th and 12th. I got my AA when I was 18. I went through college and got married. That marriage ended up becoming very psychologically and mentally abusive. The Christian community I was involved in was not very accepting of divorce. There was a lot of judgment within the community, but a couple people who knew what was going on encouraged me to get out of that marriage. I’m an only child, growing up I had a fortunate lifestyle and financial stability. My Mom told me to choose something for ME to do with the rest of my money. Doing hair during the divorce, I loved the customer service aspect and serving people creatively. Creative problem solving, having someone say “here’s what I want” and being able to say “and here’s what we can do for you”. But I never stopped drawing. And eventually this passion for helping others and passion for drawing sort of came together and with my finances the way that they were I thought, “this is the time to do this”. I made a really good educated guess on myself. The only place that has schools for tattooing is in Oregon state. I moved down to Portland in May of 2016. I look at the life I’m living now and it’s like God is saying, “look at how happy you are now. look at how NOT mad I am at you for getting a divorce.”
What’s your favorite 90s jam?
I grew up listening to country, so literally back in the 90s is gonna be “Goodbye Earl” by the Dixie Chicks. Current 90s jams that I appreciate now looking back? “Killing in the Name” by Rage Against the Machine.
What are you bingeing right now?
Shetland Murder Mysteries! It takes place in Scotland and everyone has a Scottish accent, it’s wonderful.
What inspires you?
EVERYTHING. I am really inspired by things in the world that are slightly mysterious. I think it’s because there are just so many things that I don’t know much about, it’s like magic to me. It’s like another world, like bones. Bones are these things that you don’t see in your day to day life. Or like I’m really big into art history, it’s like looking back and having to figure out what this thing might have been or meant. I love watching documentaries like the one about Mariana’s Trench where it’s all about these creatures in the deep sea. I’m inspired by things I want to know more about that you don’t normally see. I’m inspired by what I don’t know, and then when I do learn something new I want to draw it.
How do you deal with brain farts?
I think it helps that I have pressure from the client. If I were to wait until I felt uninspired I would never get anything done. They tell me what they want so I’m like “okay” and then I do it. It doesn’t matter all the time if I love it or not. It’s not about my satisfaction. I get satisfaction from giving someone something that they love. It is less about having inspiration and more about giving someone what they want.
What’s your favorite TV show?
Right now? Well, it’s a podcast not a tv show. It’s called Spooked. I love murder mysteries and the unknown.
Vanilla or chocolate?
Very dependent on what we’re talking about. Cake? Oh it’s gotta be chocolate. Ice-Cream? Vanilla. But if someone is like, offering me desserts, I’m going for the chocolate ones.
If you could bring anyone back from the dead, who would it be?
I would wanna bring back someone that I can learn from. My first instinct would be Shakespeare. I got some questions. He has had so much influence for so many years on how we think about writing, and storytelling, and narrative. And he was freaking hilarious. A LEGACY. Something that I think is…some people love to look at Bill Gates and if they saw him they would know who he is but we don’t think about Bill Gates all the time, we think about things he has made or done or stuff that makes our lives easier like every single day. It’s not just about the person anymore, now it’s like this big aura or ripple effect. With Shakespeare, the way we tell stories and communicate as far as interpersonal story telling and how we structure that sort of thing? He has had this huge never ending influence.
Influencer vs. Advocate (this wasn’t a question, but it just tells you so much about Molly):
You can be an influencer, fine, but if you aren’t doing it to advocate a good cause then what’s the point? Advocating is standing up for people and yourself for a bigger cause. I got some things together, some things not so together. But I try to be a person who is worth knowing, worth following, and a person who is worth someone else’s time to see what I have to put out there.
What do you have on repeat right now?
I LOVE the new Imagine Dragons album! Bullet In A Gun is my jam.
Weirdest tattoo you’ve ever done?
I did a goat turning into a jellyfish once. My client was a big fan of “Hinds Feet on High Places”. We had differing perspectives on the story but the tattoo came out pretty cool.
If you could have three superpowers, what would they be?
Teleportation, shape-shifting (into animals), and super muscle strength (no more chiropractor!)
What is your most embarrassing moment?
Most recently? This is the freshest. So I take antidepressants and I have for years. I’m one of those people who is fortunate and my body does well with them. Every year or so however, the one I’m currently taking stops working and I have to change the dose or medication. Last time my doc said it’s okay to change medication if they are in the same class, and I was like cool okay whatever. Well, it was fine and I wasn’t depressed but I was very tired that week and I hadn’t slept very much. Basically, when I switched meds that week I started having these memory blanks. My boyfriend Ryan told me one day I had him high five me twice in a row over the same thing, I was like, “oh, did I just high five you for that?” he was like “…yeah”. I was having these little couple minute gaps of memory loss. So one day I ordered tea at black rock and in the drive-thru she gave me the tea and I just kept talking to her because I forgot I already had the drink. Finally she was like “….anything else I can get for you?” It was so embarrassing! I called my Mom after.
Dutch Bros vs Black Rock?
What is your Harry Potter House?
Best Halloween costume you’ve ever worn?
My Mom found a big fur garment bag at a garage sale (we were big garage salers) and she made me a kangaroo costume. I had my beanie baby in my pouch and it was SO GOOD.
What is a question you would like to ask yourself?
What are you doing? I try to ask myself what are you spending your time on, why are you doing this? What are you so stressed right now? Stop and think about the thing. What am I doing is one of those questions that changes meaning depending on the emphasis you put on each word. WHAT are you doing? What are YOU doing? What are you DOING?
Any advice to give to others?
I have a hard time giving advice because I’m like, “ugh, I don’t even know what I’m doing!” I’m a really good hype ma. My friend’s like, “I wanna cut my hair!” I’m like “DO IT!” “I wanna quit this job!” “DO IT!” Whatever the thing is, if you’re thinking about it hard enough to tell me about it and ask for advice, JUST DO IT.
Have you faced any difficulties being a Christian tattoo artist, from other Christians or clients?
Yeah, I mean on both levels. So I think people don’t care when they’re just coming for your art. All they care about is art. I’ve had people who are Christians and they came to me specifically because they were comfortable, especially with their more spiritual tattoos because they know I’m gonna get it. I’ve only ever had one person tell me they’re uncomfortable with it, and I was like, “do you think I’m gonna tattoo an alter call or something? Like no” Once they realize I’m normal everything is fine.
What is the best advice you can give in 6 words or less?
Feel the fear, do it anyway.