I have always known Sophie Molyneux as an exuberant, eccentric girl, with a pretty mad sense of style. It wasn’t until her ‘Avocado bums’, however, that I realised she is an incredibly talented maker, too.
‘Avocado bums’ are her illustrations which look like figures made of avocado’s, or just people’s boobs and bums. They are rich and sensual images, which, like everything made by Sophie, have an underlying childishness that makes you feel silly and happy.
But the avocado bums were just the tip of the iceberg. They are actually part of a larger project called ‘blub’, a word defined by Sophie as:
Verb (to blub)
To squidge something that is or of similar feeling to an earlobe. “I want to blub that earlobe”
Noun (a blub)
A organic shape or form that vaguely reminisces an earlobe “ I drew a blub.”
As you can tell, Sophie is a lot better with words than I am, so it’s probably best she does the rest of the explaining…
What did you study and how did you end up doing what you’re doing?
I did Fashion Design for a degree and then did a Master of Fine Arts, which I finished in January of this year. Fashion just really was not for me. I was just too weird and could not make clothes that were in any way practical to the human body. So, I went on to do the MFA where you could do whatever the shiz you wanted, it was a dream. I’m not very good at having boundaries and the course just let me be myself which felt kinda crazy and weird like I was 5, so I worked like I was 5 just making whatever I fancied. At that moment in time I started exploring the words that I used as a kid like blub and ish.
Tell us how you got involved with Brainchild…
I exhibited at the launch in February. I was really nervous because I have only ever showed my work in Falmouth so London was scary and with many people I didn’t know. But it was great and everyone was so nice and the atmosphere was amazing . It was also so great to exhibit next to fun artists I had never met and see all of our work together with all of the people and musicians. SO FUN.
What is blub and how did you come up with it?
It is one of the words I have used since I was really young maybe since I could even say real words. I had a language based on the feelings of earlobes. I love them and their squidge.
That feeling of squidging things is not something you can describe with real words, so I made them up. Not purposefully they just happen spontaneously depending on the squish like ish, schnoo, blub and nub and these words then just become habit.
When on the MFA (which is like a glorified therapy session into your soul) I wanted to really explore this habit that I had never really thought about deeply. So I have now made the sensation and object and am trying through blubs to get people to react to that inner spontaneous squishiness we all knew as kids.
People have compared you to Yayoi Kusama. How do you feel about this?
Well I love her and have always loved her and the comparison is super flattering but it does scare me. I don’t want to do what she has done because she has done it and it was beyond amazing. But I am not Yayoi so I often take a step back from my work to make sure I am not subconsciously doing what she has done. We do have similar aesthetics and reasoning behind our work so there will always be similarities, but I need to be Sophie.
Tell us about your collaborators, what have you worked on together and what do they bring to the table?
I work with two of my closest friends. Tilly Blue is a jeweller and furniture designer and Sam Jennings is a woodworker and furniture designer. All three of us come from completely different creative backgrounds which is why we work so well together. I think we each bring something different to the table and really support each other’s work and ideas. Also, the end result is never what we expect it to be, which is super fun.
Both Tilly and Sam are way more practical than me so they make our ideas reality through clever thinking and skill, whereas I just like to do it haphazardly. We are currently working on a collaborative brand together which we will hopefully exhibit later this year.
Your work is very colourful, what influenced this choice?
I just love colour, real colours, like blue not navy and red not maroon and yellow not mustard, real life colours that are bright and fun and in no way subtle. I am not a very subtle person.
Immersive and Interactive art is becoming more and more popular, why do you think this is?
Because people want to be a part of something and interacting with objects these days seems almost as important as interacting with people.
But also its fun and art is supposed to be fun. Art has become way too serious and precious; it should be enjoyed.
How do you make your work immersive?
I don’t think I could make it anyway other way. I want people to be involved and have fun with my work because that’s how I make it and that’s the point. I want to make a world that people can live in that isn’t just a room with a sofa a table and a plant. I like everything to connect and everything to not have just one purpose. I’d like it to be interchangeable and personal.
What are you making for Brainchild this year?
I am continuing on the blub train for Brainchild but mainly just exploring the object of blub by making an intertwining blubby octopus kinda thing for lounging.
Who do you recommend we exhibit at our next festival?
I recommend Milly Melbourne she is an amazing clothing and object designer. She creates super crazy, fun, clever designs that are just all around YUM.