Molly Beres is a member who first began her relationship with the Book Arts Center six years ago after taking a screen printing class. Flash forward to some time away from Buffalo, and Molly has returned this past January and been a regular in the community since, coming in to volunteer at the Center every Thursday, bringing a very free spirited creativity with her. Since then, she has familiarized herself with letterpress and screen printing equipment and created numerous digital art designs for the Center to sell in their shop. I asked Molly about her time with Book Arts, specifically looking into how the Center has inspired her own art, and what she loves so much about volunteering. Molly stressed Book Arts’ cause as a huge part of her enjoyment, saying that she believes it is incredibly important to “keep old mediums alive,” and remember the charm of the old way of doing things.

For Molly, this goes hand in hand with her love of Mid-Century design, which the Center is chockfull of. She cites the variety of old wood type as a huge inspiration for many of her printing projects. Molly’s medium of choice is mainly digital art, which proves to be a much cheaper and easier investment for a young artist, but she also loves working “analog” with graphite and ink.

Molly, with a deep appreciation for cassettes and the starting crackle of vinyl records, names vintage cookbooks, advertisements, and 60s Disney movies as other sources of inspiration. With live action productions like That Darn Cat and The Parent Trap, she finds the hokey set design calling to her art.

Coming from a strong Polish-American family, it’s no surprise that our conversation drifted to memories of bingo nights in small Catholic churches, packed with grandma-like figures with dabbers in every color imaginable. Molly reflected on these interactions as a joyous and youthful part of herself, one who still participates in Bingo nights and the little traditions that only a true Polish Buffalonian can cherish. This niche heritage brings us to another crucial part of Molly’s art: the infamous Easter butter lamb, which Molly names as her favorite piece she’s created. Taking the form of an enamel pin which Molly designed and produced, she finds this piece to be one which has received great feedback from customers and resulted in plenty of shared stories of community, Easters with butter lambs, and yes, small Polish women at bingo night.

Though living in the modern world, it is clear that much of Molly’s work reflects on the charm of the “olden days,” the quaint traditions of family, and the campy charisma found in vintage materials. Molly herself having “gone through a quarter life crisis” and earning two BAs, encouraged me to pursue the art and interests that I want to, even if stability in life is not guaranteed. In a candid moment, Molly revealed advice to me which I find crucial for all young artists: “If you don’t pursue it,” she says, “you may wake up in fifty years and regret it for the rest of your life.”

Find Molly Illustration on Etsy and Instagram!

Written by Sage Enderton, Communications Intern.

Want to get involved like Molly? Head on over to the Membership page to see how 🙂