Artist Spotlight: Molica

Tacoma Strong’s “Artist Spotlight” is a way of providing our local art community with a platform to tell part of their story.  Tacoma is full of innovative, creative, hardworking artists all with unique voices and experiences. We hope to connect them with you to further strengthen our creative community.

Note: We aren’t interested in sugar coating or watering down their voice, so venture forth with this warning– swear words ahead.


I met Molica through a mutual friend and inspiration, Silong Chun. We instantly hit off because not only are we both passionate about art and community, she is relaxed, approachable, and a great listener. She was the first I told about my idea for highlighting Tacoma artists, so it only makes sense she’s the first artist.

Molica: Do you like my cramped space?” (laughter)

Hannah: I do! It’s comfortable in here

Molica: “I’m in here 90% of the time but it’s my element ya know.

So what got you into art in the first place?

I’ve always done art and dabbled in everything. I’ve always been into traditional tattoos, as you can see, that reflects in the paintings. I started doing hand stuff just for fun around last year. I really progressed and it’s been really nice to just focus and– practice, practice, practice just to see how far I could go. Even with just the hands, I thought that was my style, but I’m still looking to challenge myself and try new things.

Are you in school for art?

No, I was, but about last month I switched it to global studies. I’ve always wanted to something with charity events and art shows. I wanted to start something called “The Art of Giving Back” where artists participate and have it help build their art communities. I really want to open a coffee shop where kids could do art and moms could connect with each other. I’d love to have a space where kids could experiment with different mediums, painting, clay, and so on.

When I was 22 I started this thing called Creative Monsters for kids, where I taught them painting, clay, drawing and such–that’s where my inspiration for the coffee shop comes from.

Yeah so it was visual arts, but now I’m majoring in global studies, because I can teach myself art, it’s a lot of just practice. But global studies puts me in a position to learn and help other people. My mom is a single parent, ya know, and every time I think of helping other people I think of when you help someone even a little bit, it ads up. There’s power in little bits adding up.

The way I think about donations now, is that I’m not the richest person in the world, but if I give you $5 and someone else gives you $5, and another person gives you $1, and it keeps going–it adds up. It means something.

I’m also big on this micro-loan called Kiva, it’s a nonprofit organization where you can donate $25 to people in 3rd world countries. So my first donation was to an elderly Filipino lady who needed money. Sometimes they don’t even pay you back though, but that’s ok. When you do get paid back you can re-give the $25 to someone else and so on. But yeah, I want to use my art as a platform for spreading awareness about how we can help each other.

What do you think stands out the most about your art?

 I try to be an unapologetic artist. I don’t want to worry if I offend somebody, I don’t really care if I do. I feel like I have to start making art for myself first, it’s why I have trouble making commission pieces. I always try my best, but my best artwork is how I feel in that moment. One time I woke up super early and knocked out a whole piece and 3 hours, it just came to me. I feel like “Fuck that Shit” (referring to the poster on her wall) is just– Molica. And I work with kids! So you can imagine I have to filter myself all the time.

How long have you lived in Tacoma?

All my life. I’ve always wanted to leave, but every time I travel and come back, I’m like “I can’t leave Tacoma’. I was supposed to move to Sacramento but– I love it here. The air is fresh and I love the people. When I had my first art show here in Tacoma I was like, “Wow…this is what it’s like to be a family with your city.” Some people aren’t even born in Tacoma, but when they’re here they fall in love with it. When I do gigs, I can feel that passion even more. I feel like I need to build my foundation here.

What other parts of the Tacoma arts community do you enjoy?

I got fully involved this year. I used to be a pre-school teacher and was super busy going up to Seattle. Then I made this decision to quit pre-school, I  was really scared, but we’ll see what happens. I quit– then art shows were offered back to back to back. It’s crazy when you free up the time how opportunities come.

My first solo show was at the Hall of Fame Vintage store here in Tacoma. It was so cool because my family had never really seen my art before. My mom saw my art and said, ‘You remind me of your dad,” and I was like –”huh? What?” and she goes, “Your dad draws too.” I’m 27 and never knew that, so it’s nice to get a connection with art and my family.

Then I did a show with Silong (Red Scarf Revolution) about the genocide of the Cambodian people, “Scars & Stripes”. So I’m Cambodian, my first thing was to let my friend Dez introduce me to Silong, because, man, Cambodia sounds cool, I want to get involved and I don’t know much about it. But I want to know my roots. Instead of waiting for my friend to connect us I said, “This is what social media is for” and I reached out to Silong myself.

What kind of things would you like to see in Tacoma?

I would love to see a blow up of the Tacoma Art scene. More collaboration, people working together in Tacoma. There is a lot of that here too, but I want it to grow.

Contact & Follow Molica

Are you an artist or do you know an artist who wants to be featured? Let’s connect. I’ll make it happen.
By | 2018-04-05T19:07:55+00:00 October 20th, 2017|Art, Artist Spotlight, Community, Local Business|0 Comments

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