We had the good fortune of connecting with Molly Valentine Dierks and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Molly Valentine, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I am a visual artist and designer. I have just very recently started a nascent brand of my own design works (www.mollyvalentinedierks.com), from jewelry to stickers to children’s toys and vinyl wall pieces and installations for home or business. I live to create, and between exhibitions of my sculpture, I find myself making work that is visually sensual [a lot of my work features nipples, which web designer friend told me is a running joke athe best user interface design ;)] or meant for play – for example the series of wooden 3D puzzle toys with custom boxes I designed for my cousin’s children – these toys are good for children’s brains (no instructions included to encourage critical thinking). I first handdraw my designs, then use technologies like laser cutting or vinyl printing to turn the ideas into humorousgorgeous, playful products. With the onset of COVID, I realized that I wanted to start my own business, and definitely had enough ‘products’ to do so. I still have a lot that has not yet made it to my website – for example, a pin that is a tiny 2.5 inch 3d printed leg that sticks out from your shirt, and a perfectly round boob bathmat (in production research). As a professor, artist, and designer, it is my mission to share my addiction to form, color, and texture with others who appreciate and delight in good design. 

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
As an artist, designer, educator, and sometimes curator, there is a lot to do at any given moment. I am now balancing starting a design business with my sculptural practice, which is currently installation-based. My sculpture is currently focused on miniature science fiction treescapes that seamlessly merge natural and synthetic materials and incorporate magical technological effects- think trees made of branches that are around a foot tall with magical and strange growths (the work can be seen here: https://mollyvalentinedierks.com/trees). My next in-depth sculptural exhibition is a solo show at the Czong Institute of Contemporary Art in South Korea (outside of Seoul) in June 2021. For this exhibition, I will also be doing a large-scale wall installation of thousands of clear circular plastic furniture bumps about 1 cm in diameter that look like synthetic dew in patterns mimicking migration patterns or condensation. I will be doing the research and gathering materials for this exhibition the next few months as well as applying for grant funding and some other opportunities to continue this series in the coming years. In addition to my installation work, I am also learning the ins and outs of building my own design business. Outside of being an artist and designer, I mentor a talented cohort of young artists and designers as a professor, but will be taking a sabbatical soon to focus more fully on my studio practices. It will be a busy but satisfying few months ahead.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I would take them to my home/studio to share my working space and then probably make some rounds to various museums- I love The Modern (Art Museum of Fort Worth), the DMA, and the Nasher. I also like to see what’s going on at 500x Gallery (a great space where I used to be a member), and some of my other favorites like Erin Cluley, Galleri Urbane, and The MAC. I also really enjoy the zoo. I am in love with the natural world, and get a lot of inspiration from the creatures at the zoo, which I find totally delightful – in fact, my newest sculpture series are tiny futuristic forest-scapes, which allows me to combine my love of what technology can create with my nature fascination. I derive alot from looking at how beautiful and funny animals are – how well designed – and all of their little habits I see reflected in the way people behave- preening, showing off, napping, playing, hiding. Any time a friend comes to visit, it’s a zoo excuse. Also the tacos at Yucatan in Fort Worth are fantastic. 

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would have to say that my friends in DFW are to thank. I moved here from out of state for a professorship, and the talented people I have met that have welcomed me into the fold are the reason my studio has been so energized. A short list includes Ashley Whitt, the members of 500x Gallery, Michelle Thomas Richardson, Lynne Cravens, Joanne Cervantes, Julie Libersat, and Narong Tintamusik, all wonderfully varied and ambitious artists from whom I have gained a lot of momentum and support. While I have a strong work ethiclong work hours need to be balanced by getting out to see all of the work that is happening around Dallas and Fort Worth, and to talk to my friends about how they are filtering their experiences through their work. Watching other artists, especially women, making impossible things, is always fuel for my creative fire and I am grateful to have such a talented and passionate group of friends.

Website: www.mollyvalentinedierks.com
Instagram: @mvdierks
Facebook: mvdierks

Other: I am part of the show Human/Nature at the Fort Worth Community Arts Center through January 16th, 2021. I have 8 miniature tree installations – that float in space 2 inches in the air above the pedestals, blow miniature bubbles, sit near plastic ‘grass’ that grows from the pedestals, and with details as tiny as 1 millimeter- as well as two Skin Lumps on the floor. The show, which includes 3 other artists and was curated by Narong Tintamusik, is eery, sci-fi, and fantastic.

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