Glen Molloy started off his artistic journey painting graffiti years ago doing tags and the usual antics surrounding the graffiti culture with illegal artworks across the city as best he could.
Belfast was in the midst of a sectarian conflict and Glen believes it really was an achievement in itself that he didn’t end up in serious harm with Belfast being a very frightening place in the 90’s with tanks and guns being a daily sight on the streets. Let’s hear more from the man himself. Glen tells World Equal Magazine…. “I had drifted in and out of painting for almost 30 years but it wasn’t until 2014 I found myself at a dead end with little or no reasonable job prospects so I picked up the spray cans again and just hoped for the best”.
I went under the loosely attached title of graffiti artist for maybe two years until I actually started painting portraits on the street and almost overnight decided that it was Street Art that was the way forward for me.
Graffiti didn’t have any real reward for me and it would have been very hard to survive financially, also culture can be very aggressive with a lot of tensions within it, so a picture that speaks a thousand words seemed like a much better option compared to the thousands of words I had already written on the city walls and beyond that really didn’t say anything at all so a complete change of art for me!
Nowadays it’s all about impact that the art can have on the urban landscape. I really love painting faces in strange places in all those dull and neglected spaces, it now means thousands of people get to see my work on a daily basis which is really what any artist is looking to achieve. With graffiti it was only really about me and other graffiti writers now my artwork is for everybody young and old and on the street right in front of your face it can be brilliant self promotion but very hard work.
Painting on the streets involves a lot of preparation and a certain amount of danger is involved with being out late in the middle of the night in various weather conditions the city can be quite hostile but it’s all worth the while when you get to see it completed.
I am a self-taught artist and still have loads to learn and I struggle with a lot of my paintings, I just throw myself in at the deep end and hope it turns out ok and if it doesn’t I can always paint it out and start over again. It’s knowing when to stop is the hard part as it can it can be so easy to overwork a piece and ruin the likeness of a portrait. A piece is now finished for me when I can’t spot any mistakes, very simple and effective rather than trying to add more detail than is needed. My work can really vary from a simplistic graphic style almost like a big sticker to a very detailed fine art and illustrative style with everything from lettering, landscapes and still life all in one crazy mash up, no rules just as long as it looks good.