Cover image for Drawing blood : a memoir
Title:
Drawing blood : a memoir
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York, NY : Harper, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, [2015]

©2015.
ISBN:
9780062323644
Physical Description:
338 pages : color illustrations ; 23 cm
Language:
English
Abstract:
The underground artist and journalist presents a memoir of her years between September 11 and the Occupy movement in New York City to discuss the impact of historical events on her work and her decision to become a witness journalist.

"In language that is fresh, visceral, and deeply moving--and illustrations that are irreverent and gorgeous--here is a memoir that will change the way you think about art, sex, politics, and survival in our times. From a young age, Molly Crabapple had the eye of an artist and the spirit of a radical. After a restless childhood on New York's Long Island, she left America to see Europe and the Near East, a young artist plunging into unfamiliar cultures, notebook always in hand, drawing what she observed. Returning to New York City just before 9/11 to study art, she posed nude for sketch artists and sketchy photographers, danced burlesque, and modeled for the world-famous Suicide Girls. Frustrated with the academy and the conventional art world, she eventually landed a post as house artist at Simon Hammerstein's legendary nightclub The Box, the epicenter of decadent Manhattan nightlife before the financial crisis of 2008. There she had a ringside seat for the pitched battle between the bankers of Wall Street and the entertainers who walked among them--a scandalous, drug-fueled circus of mutual exploitation that she captured in her tart and knowing illustrations. Then, after the crash, a wave of protest movements--from student demonstrations in London to Occupy Wall Street in her own backyard--led Molly to turn her talents to a new form of witness journalism, reporting from places such as Guantánamo, Syria, Rikers Island, and the labor camps of Abu Dhabi. Using both words and artwork to shed light on the darker corners of the American empire, she has swiftly become one of the most original and galvanizing voices on the cultural stage. Now, with the same blend of honesty, fierce insight, and indelible imagery that is her signature, Molly offers her own story: an unforgettable memoir of artistic exploration, political awakening, and personal transformation."--Book jacket.
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Book 741.6092 CRABAPPLE 1
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Summary

Summary

Art was my dearest friend.
To draw was trouble and safety, adventure and freedom.
In that four-cornered kingdom of paper, I lived as I pleased.
This is the story of a girl and her sketchbook.

In language that is fresh, visceral, and deeply moving--and illustrations that are irreverent and gorgeous--here is a memoir that will change the way you think about art, sex, politics, and survival in our times.

From a young age, Molly Crabapple had the eye of an artist and the spirit of a radical. After a restless childhood on New York's Long Island, she left America to see Europe and the Near East, a young artist plunging into unfamiliar cultures, notebook always in hand, drawing what she observed.

Returning to New York City after 9/11 to study art, she posed nude for sketch artists and sketchy photographers, danced burlesque, and modeled for the world famous Suicide Girls. Frustrated with the academy and the conventional art world, she eventually landed a post as house artist at Simon Hammerstein's legendary nightclub The Box, the epicenter of decadent Manhattan nightlife before the financial crisis of 2008. There she had a ringside seat for the pitched battle between the bankers of Wall Street and the entertainers who walked among them--a scandalous, drug-fueled circus of mutual exploitation that she captured in her tart and knowing illustrations. Then, after the crash, a wave of protest movements--from student demonstrations in London to Occupy Wall Street in her own backyard--led Molly to turn her talents to a new form of witness journalism, reporting from places such as Guantanamo, Syria, Rikers Island, and the labor camps of Abu Dhabi. Using both words and artwork to shed light on the darker corners of American empire, she has swiftly become one of the most original and galvanizing voices on the cultural stage.

Now, with the same blend of honesty, fierce insight, and indelible imagery that is her signature, Molly offers her own story: an unforgettable memoir of artistic exploration, political awakening, and personal transformation.


Reviews 4

Publisher's Weekly Review

Artist, writer, and activist Crabapple was compelled from a young age by the need to draw because it gives her a sense of self worth. Her struggles as an impoverished artist are rendered here in raw, vivid prose, accompanied by her arresting illustrations. The New York that Crabapple comes of age in is a city in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. As a freshman at FIT, she finds little work to fund her art supplies. Unable to gain a foothold in galleries, she decides to let her body be a canvas-and a commodity-via lucrative sex work, first via Craigslist ads and later as a SuicideGirl online pinup. "Naked girl money was my escape hatch," Crabapple explains, as the work gave her the means to get noticed. But sick of the exploitation that she and other sex workers and performers were subjected to, she cofounds Dr. Sketchy's Anti-Art School, a live-drawing workshop that treats its models with respect. When she becomes the house artist for the Box, a burlesque night club, she achieves financial stability and access to the world she's hungered to join; after witnessing the London austerity protests in 2010, however, she realizes she's done drawing for rich club patrons and lends her talent and fervor to the Occupy Wall Street movement. Crabapple has become a powerful artist and feminist, scrapping to make art that matters. Agent: Lydia Wills, Lydia Wills LLC.. (Dec.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Kirkus Review

A New York artist and writer's illustrated memoir about how she rose out of obscurity during the tumultuous decade of the 2000s to become a renowned artist.New York native Crabapple, a contributing editor for Vice, grew up with loving parents in comfortable circumstances. Yet from the time she was a young girl, she felt trapped by her childhood and yearned for the freedom to explore the world. Crabapple left for Paris at 17, where she lived among bohemians at the legendary Shakespeare and Company bookstore and traveled around Europe and North Africa. When she returned, she began college at the Fashion Institute of Technology, where she drew compulsively, studied exotic cultures, and became involved in political movements that emerged in the aftermath of 9/11. Crabapple turned to "the naked girl business" to support herself and earned money first as an artist's model and then as a goth-inspired SuicideGirl and, later, as a dancer and burlesque performer. In the meantime, her artistic talent blossomed. Yet the author realized early on that making it in the art world wasn't just a matter of being good: it was also about "getting noticed." In 2008, Crabapple became house artist for The Box, a NYC nightclub catering to elite clients. She earned recognition and monetary rewards for artwork that satirized the excesses of the rich, yet her achievements left her feeling hollow. The world outside The Box was collapsing while she "was painting pigs in Nero's nightclub." After meeting up with journalist Laurie Penny and becoming involved in the Occupy movement, Crabapple discovered her true calling as a political artist and, later, writer. Lavishly illustrated, the book offers a candid portrayal of an artist's journey to self-knowledge and fulfillment. The author celebrates the function of art as an act of "hope against cynicism [and] creation against entropy." Compelling reading about how art gave the author "a way to see, to record, to fight and interrogateto find joy where once I could see only ash." Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Booklist Review

*Starred Review* Accomplished artist Crabapple, a contributing editor for Vice, tells the story of her art-making, world-traveling, burlesque-dancing life in this utterly original memoir. From the age of 17, when she first visited Paris and found a temporary home at Shakespeare and Company, Crabapple has been determined to make artistic statements. Supporting herself through dancing, nude modeling, and a stint on SuicideGirls.com, she lived all the starving-artist clichés, from roach-infested apartments to sleazy clients. Her anecdotes are filled with steely determination, righteous indignation, and more than a few notes of utter exhaustion. Each chapter takes readers from international adventures found on the cheap to yet another soul-sucking experience with Manhattan's elite, who employ the originality of Crabapple and her performing friends but maintain a rigid, quasi-Victorian class system. As she found herself drawn into the Occupy movement, Crabappple was able to merge her political and artistic lives together even more to forge a new career. Jaw dropping, awe inspiring, and not afraid to shock, Crabapple is a punk Joan Didion, a young Patti Smith with paint on her hands, a twenty-first century Sylvia Plath cut loose from the constraints of Ted Hughes. There's no one else like her; prepare to be blown away by both the words and pictures.--Mondor, Colleen Copyright 2015 Booklist


Library Journal Review

Possessed by a restless spirit, young -Crabapple followed her artistic muse from New York's Long Island to parts of Europe and the Near East. After 9/11, she returned to New York City and expanded her creative vocabulary to include burlesque dancing and nude modeling. After the financial crash of 2008, the resulting Occupy protests moved her to adopt a new mode of political expression called witness or citizen journalism. Visiting prisons such as Guantanamo Bay and Rikers Island, as well as other desperate corners of the world, she used voice, drawings, and reportage to illumine issues that are difficult, galvanizing, and needful of exposure such as solitary confinement, refugee concerns, and police brutality. Her tough prose is voiced by Jorjeana Marie with the edge and grit the material demands-the only drawback here being the omission of Crabapple's artwork. That Crabapple's words are so effective even separated from her illustrations bears testament to the power of her writing. Verdict Highly recommended. ["Recommended for readers interested in the intersection of art and social commentary, but also anyone who relates to being labeled an "outsider": LJ 11/1/15 starred review of the Harper hc.]-Kelly -Sinclair, Temple P.L., TX © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.