We caught up with Austin-based artist Mollie Tuggle who created a mural at SXSW festival, inspired by Dr. Martens attitude and the vibe of the festival. We sat down to find out more about her inspiration, the creative process, and her relationship with Dr. Martens below…
How would you describe your artistic style?
Dreamy, slightly surreal, psychedelic folk art .
What is your process for a design? For instance how did you come up with the different images in the piece for Dr. Martens SXSW mural?
The majority of my work is for music related art, so with gig posters I pull a lot of inspiration from the sound and style of the band or musician. It’s similar with clothing or shoe brands. I do some research and then I just begin sketching my visual interpretation, or from what I feel about who I’m creating the art for. I also think about what the art is for, so in this case, it was equal parts a mixture of what I found inspiring about Dr. Martens & Austin’s SXSW festival.
You’ve done quite a few murals, is it ever intimidating to work on such a large space?
Not for me, I actually enjoy thinking on a larger scale. I tend to have a more difficult time when I have to make art that is smaller. For example logos – ahh – they can frustrate me (haha). I feel like I always have a harder time thinking simplistically, I like a lot of design, color, a storyline. So the larger the project the more room there is me.
You’ve made posters, flyers, designs for some really cool people and events; ever been starstruck?
A lot of the time I don’t meet the artists I work with in person. I will talk on the phone with them, or we will email, but we are usually in different cities. I also grew up around the bay area & worked in a fairly high profile tattoo shop – so I’ve been pretty fortunate to meet some well known artists/actors/musicians throughout my life & I’d like to think I’m the same with everyone I meet, no matter who they are. So I don’t know if starstruck is the best way to describe it, I definitely have felt honored to make art for someone whose career I have always admired. I got to make a poster for the band ‘Television’ recently. I grew up listening to them & I was definitely excited & felt very lucky when I found out I would be working with them. I also just finished a poster for the band, The Kills, & I have always thought Allison Mosshart was a great force & talent within music.
If you could collaborate with anyone on a piece who would it be and why?
Patti Smith, I’d love to make a poster for her. Would also be incredible to work with the great painter Peter Max.
Have you always liked to draw and paint? What’s influenced your style as an artist?
I have, ever since I was a child. My grandfather loved art & music and he always encouraged me to express myself through art. So I’d say he had a lot to do with it. Also, I’ve always loved music & style of the 60s & 70s. Being in San Francisco I got to see and learn a lot of the history of it all. Going to the Fillmore, seeing the famous posters on the walls there, that definitely had an impact on me.
You’re so stylish. How would you describe your fashion sense?
I don’t know actually, it’s just me! I find something I love & I wear it until it falls apart. I love clothes, I love sewing, I make a lot of my clothes. I guess I have a kind of a gypsy, 70s rocker, island beach vibe thing going on? Lots of mixing of eras. Lots of vintage and hand made items. Lot of boots, I basically only wear boots.
Do you remember you’re first pair of Doc’s?
I had the classics. I remember them perfectly too, because when I was 6th grade or maybe junior high, I had to wear a uniform to school and it was miserable. I hated wearing the same plaid skirt every day. Then I saw that movie the Craft and I just had to have Dr. Martens to wear with my private school girl skirt. I think I saved up and bought the 1460 black classics.
Tell us what you love about the city you live in:
Austin has alot of charm, it is a special city for sure. Its this weird creative , expressive, liberal bubble, right in the heart of Texas- a state that , well frankly isn’t really known for being liberal. So its interesting to see how it all blends together. There’s also such a huge history here for musicians, from Willie Nelson to Rocky Erickson, there are lots of hometown heroes. But, things do change. The city is rapidly growing and becoming more expensive, so hopefully it can hold on to what makes it so Special , & keep our local artists here.
What tips do you have for SXSW goers
Bring your own phone charger with you everywhere! Cell service can be bad, with all the people here. Stay hydrated & always tip bartenders (seems obvious, but you’d be surprised).
And finally, What do you stand for?
Diversity, individuality and honesty. No matter what, Always be honest and true to yourself. Don’t let anyone change you, second guess yourself, or falter. We are all different and that’s what’s so beautiful about all of us.