Arts & Culture

Molly Jones Has Found her Mojo

Molly Jones has lived as part of Folkestone’s Creative Quarter for a number of years.  Growing up only a stone’s throw away from the town, having a living and working space has allowed her to create.  Working as an artist has its challenges, and factor in the life-changing element of becoming a parent, Molly is adapting her work/life balance. Her exuberant and vivid artworks adorn the walls of F51, the skatepark at the end of Tontine Street, bringing life and colour to the concrete bowls.  Folkelife went to meet Molly to find out about her inspirations.

“Living in a place where I can get up and walk into my studio next door is perfect.  I’m based at the bottom of The Old High Street and have been here for about 4 years.  My partner and I founded MoJo Studios a year ago creating work influenced by Matisse and Picasso, and inspired by mythology and folklore. Our practice as artists has grown since the moment we moved here.  We’re so lucky to live where we do!”

the feminine form

“I finished my degree in illustration and animation in 2018 and then a year later qualified as a secondary school art teacher.  I taught GCSE and A-Level in a local school up until the pandemic hit.  I had just left work and become freelance and then had all this time on my hands.  Also, within a few months of becoming freelance I realised I was pregnant.  Over my pregnancy I worked hard to build up my business and got loads of work in many different places.  I painted the mural in F51, and got the wall painted in Orchard Lane in Sandgate whilst nine months pregnant. People would come in and see me on top of a ladder and wonder if I should really be there!  All that nesting activity seemed to go into my artwork rather than making my home nice for the baby!  

“My work celebrates strong female figures and the female form.  I started to paint using gouache onto Indian handmade cotton paper.  I also taught myself how to guild and embellish my work with gold leaf.  The digital sketches for these paintings then became digital prints and as we started to sell our work at the Harbour Marketplace we also branched out into homeware such as plant pots and cushion covers.  But, I might have been a bit naive about having a baby and how you can fit your work around her.”

Molly Jones

Lady On Ball Molly Jones
Picture Molly Jones
Molly Jones Beer Shop

girrls to the front

“In being part of the Harbour Marketplace community I’ve met loads of people.  And the connections that I’ve made have then lead on to so many new opportunities.  The Harbour team were looking for someone to be involved with an event called Girrls To The Front. This was a festival in what was called the East Yard at the Harbour where girls would be leading the music, food, activities, you name it.  The plan was for me to paint a backdrop before the event but the weather was against us and I ended up painting during the event – which was actually the best outcome.  I really felt part of it, and it meant that loads of people came up to ask me about what I was doing. 

“There were little girls here trying to copy the positions of the women in my paintings.  I love seeing people react to my art. In working down here you can interact with the public and get direct feedback on your work.”

public workshops

“After the birth of my daughter we’ve both had to adjust as to how to work and be parents.  I’ve started up art classes as I love the teaching aspect.  It’s good to be clear though that some activities I do are to help support my freelance work.  I could spend loads of time prepping my classes and not get anything else done!  Things need to be a lot more focused. 

“I learned a lot from Katie Towse; she’s a local mum, author, media manager, in fact, an awesome woman.  I was illustrating her first book when I had my daughter and I thought I would just be able to work when she was asleep.  It doesn’t quite work like that does it?  In watching Katie and her three beautiful children, I really appreciate how she keeps all those balls in the air.  I don’t think I would have worked that out, just how hard you need to work, once you have children, if I hadn’t got my daughter.”  

bold, colourful and vibrant

“In 2022/23 I painted the mural in The Beer Shop. I just love what Lee and Lauren are doing there.  There’s a lot of focus on creative activity.  My painting worked really well in that space.  Now it’s been painted over, and although I’m not sentimental, I really miss that one.  So I’m creating it in smaller forms for sale along with my other work.  

“There’s a new mural in Orchard Lane in Sandgate now too, to help them celebrate their birthday there.  I’m excited about that one.  My work is big, bold, vibrant and so full of life that it needs the space to let it live.  The work I did for the Harbour a few years ago might resurface in a different area of the Harbour.  That will be fun to see again.  

“Since moving to Folkestone every year has been completely different, and every year I’ve succeeded more in my career.  Things are very exciting at the moment with so many new opportunities on the horizon.  I cannot wait to see what next year looks like!”

discover more about folkestone below

Eddie Lock – Art And Memorabilia
Create, work and live – The Creative Quarter
The Place To Be – Folkestone Harbour
The Goods Yard – Folkestone Harbour

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