WEDNESDAY 7 JANUARY 2015
BRIGHT OLD THINGS - MOLLY PARKIN
WAS: FASHION EDITOR/WRITER
IS NOW: PAINTER
Molly first learnt to paint in 1949 at Goldsmiths, going on to exhibit at London's leading art galleries and selling her work to the Tate Gallery in the '60s. After divorcing her husband, she supported her two children with a new career in fashion, making hats and bags for Biba. She then became a successful Fashion Editor at leading publications such as the Sunday Times, going on to win Fashion Editor of the Year in 1971. She has also published 10 successful comic-erotic novels. In 1987, after 28 years of alcoholism, Molly found herself drawn back to painting at the age of 55. In May 2012 she was awarded a Civil List Pension by the Queen for her services to the arts and she now focuses her time on creating art.
How has your vocation as a painter affected your wider life?
I live an isolated, dedicated life, painting every day, as I did when a young student. My friends are poets, painters and jazz musicians. I am completely sober and never happier. I now feel capable of intense concentration and long hours, while my party days are in the past...
You have worked in fashion, literature and art - which has been your favourite?
As the fashion editor of Nova, Harpers and the Sunday Times in the '60s, I lived an increasingly empty celebrity lifestyle: press receptions, Paris couture, TV interviews, all-night parties, swimming in champagne (plus debilitating hangovers). I laughed out loud as I was writing my comic-erotic novels. My plots were all based on my past experiences. Then I dried up, so for 2 years I toured my one-woman stage show, including a headline slot at Edinburgh Festival. Then alcohol took over. At 55 I fought my way back to sobriety, it was the hardest thing I had ever undertaken. But it has rewarded me with art as my favourite, sublime act of creation.
What brought you back to painting at the age of 55?
My painting muse departed after my first divorce when I was 30. It reappeared 25 years later, in 1987, when I attended a self-help group for chronic alcoholism. I have been sober now for 27 years and have never stopped painting. A blessed return to my true self…
TODD SELBY'S ILLUSTRATED INTERVIEW
Fun, quirky and thoroughly charming, Todd Selby's illustrated Q&A offers up a unique insight into the mind of our Bright Old Thing.
BRIGHT OLD THING
A poem by Molly Parkin
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