Performance artist Molly Milk is interested in the depravity of the humdrum. Her work is a strange combination of sensual and meditative. Her most recent performance art piece on YouTube, titled "Vogue," features Molly, in a black leotard and thigh high leather boots that give off heavy dominatrix vibes, smoking, posing, and staring at the viewer as though she knows their most intimate secrets.
A close collaborator of photographer Parker Day, Molly is able to embody a variety of characters without ever losing sight of her own artistic taste. Her physique could be described as cartoonish, with her lively black eyes that provocatively gaze into the camera , her pouty lips that give her a perpetually bemused expression, and her adorably impish upturned nose; it's as though Jessica Rabbit came to life. Though the characters she portrays are beautifully outlandish, somehow, Molly lends a sort of idyllic realness to them, or at the very least, a sort of authenticity to their artifice, in that you get the feeling that she's convinced she is whoever she is playing at that moment. It reminds me of this quote from Breakfast at Tiffany's: "You're wrong. She is a phony. But on the other hand you’re right. She isn’t a phony because she’s a real phony. She believes all this crap she believes. You can’t talk her out of it.” In this interview, she mentioned she loved kitsch because it holds a magnifying glass to everyday life to the point it becomes warped, distorted, and extraordinary. In that respect, her work is the perfect embodiment of this concept.
What's the story behind your Instagram username, @girlyflavouredmilk?
Well I first coined the name Molly Milk back in 2011, wanted to keep a little mystery as to where I was from so I chose the European spelling as opposed to my native English spelling. I am essentially a girl who is "milk" flavored. Milk is also my favorite candy flavor and has been since I was a wee-one, so it all just seemed fitting and kind of cute/creepy!
Who are your main inspirations?
Divine is a big one. There's not a shoot I go to without her in mind when trying to convey personality and really create a moment or character for the people on set/viewers. Her fearlessness and camp-glam is something I try to channel in myself daily. Another major inspiration would have to be Bjork- her aesthetic only seems to get better with time and that is truly something I aspire to be- ever-changing and evolving. She truly is (in my opinion) one of the most talented vocalists and musical geniuses of all time. Oh, and we cannot forget Junji Ito, my absolute favorite artist and writer. He really influences a lot of my visual pieces. If you're not familiar and enjoy horror, you'll be in for a treat!
If you had to create a 3 song playlist of your life, what songs would you pick and why?
Whoa. I think I might need a longer playlist. But off the top of my head:
1. Beat Boy- Die Antwoord
It was the first Die Antwoord song I'd heard and it had just been released- 2008 or 2009 I believe? Seeing them and hearing that song for the first time forever changed me. It was unlike anything I'd ever heard before and I was dying for more. Quickly became a very big super-fan (and still am!) Yo and Ninja definitely are up there next to Divine and Bjork as far as life-changing inspiration goes.
2. We Can't Stop- Miley Cyrus
Okay, let me just start by saying this is not by any means one of my favorite songs, HOWEVER, not only is this song a total BOP, but it's also a very good representation of how my inner *thot* / basic white girl feels whenever I'm with my closest friends or living in my best of moments (I'm a messy queen).
3. Spooky Little Girl Like You- The Zombies
This has always been a personal favorite of mine since I was little, probably because everyone in my family would sing this song to me like it was written about me. I am terribly indecisive and also a little spooky. BOO!
What has been your favorite project to work on?
Ooooh. Thats gonna be a toughie. Every project is so special and unique in its own way, bursting with assortments of different kinds of magic. My favorite project was probably my very first shoot and meeting with one of my now dearest friends, Parker Day. It was both her and I's first jewelry editorial shoot for BUST Magazine and the whole experience was just pure magic. It completely opened my mind to this world that I had always hoped existed, and then it was like, I found out it was real. I felt so welcomed and instantly knew this was where I belonged. An absolute turning point in my life.
How would you describe your personal style?
Kawaii Hooker Helena Bonham Carter.
Why do you think the kitsch aesthetic is so visually powerful? What do you think was the ultimate era for kitsch?
In my opinion, kitsch is powerful because it stems from the familiar and mundane parts of life that we're used to seeing everyday, but when looked at upon closer inspection, is nothing short of bizarre! Its fascinating, really. I think that the ads in the papers during the 40's & 50's along with any and all of John Waters' works are my personal favorite examples of kitsch and camp. There are just some emotions and reactions which they invoke that simply cant be replicated.
What do you hope to communicate with your performance art pieces?
Self-love. My pieces are all about me (quite literally and figuratively), not only because I'm a self-absorbed narcissist, but because loving my appearance has not always been easy- if anything, it was (at a time) completely absent. My performance shorts are for everyone to enjoy (or feel uncomfortable with sometimes), but they are primarily a creative release for me to explore my physical appearance and how it can be altered to convey a particular feeling to the receiver.
What's your favorite shoot you've done?
NVDES, NVDES, NVDES! The "On My Magic" music video is one of my favorite things to date.
What fetish do you find the most interesting?
Probably balloon fetishes. There's so much you can do with them in terms of playing with them, but it all just feels completely innocent and fun, where that's not always the case with fetish work.
Images used in collage via @girlflavouredmilk