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Molly Surno


Born in the heart of Los Angeles, Molly Surno is a multi-media artist based in Brooklyn, New York. She graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts at the University of California- Santa Cruz. Subsequently she worked with documentary film and soon switched to film photography and sound field recordings. Whether documenting nail salons, bowling alleys, or cockfights the results are suffused with an emotional and humorous view of human nature.

Upon her arrival to Brooklyn 5 years ago she had already resided in Los Angeles, Oakland, and Madrid.  Quickly she integrated into the art community of her adopted home and her work has appeared throughout the city.  Her photographs have been showcased at AIR Gallery, Heist, AM Richards Gallery, Capricious, Brooklyn Botanical Garden, Rochester Museum of Art, Spin Magazines' gallery, among others.  After receiving a Kodak film sponsorship she began working with Super 8 for her upcoming series, The Glittering World. The selection of work is an exploration of the Miss Transgender Native American Beauty Contest in Arizona and its contestants.

In 2009 she was the recipient of a grant from the Brooklyn Arts Council for her project "The Smallest Canvas."  Examining fingernail art and culture in Brooklyn, this work is a feminist celebration using photography and sound.  This work was exhibited at the Capricious Space in Wiliamsburg and written up in a variety of publications such as VICE.

Molly is also the founder and director of the resurrected Cinema 16 series.  Named after the New York-based avant-garde film society in 1947 and inspired by Maya Deren's Greenwich Village exhibition of experimental films, Molly pairs edgy contemporary musical artists with vintage films. For over a year now, the passionate Surno has lovingly programmed these monthly screenings and performances, melding the worlds of art, film and music in New York, Portland, Chicago, and Austin.  Showcasing the program at locations such as the Kitchen, MoMA PS1, Smack Mellon, National Arts Club, Cinema 16 has garnered somewhat of a cult following.  The program has been featured in the New Yorker, New York Times. Wall Street Journal, LA Times, Time Out, and Interview.

She was also selected as a "young tastemaker" for Manhattan Magazines Young Curators on the Move issue in 2008.


Which work will you be exhibiting? What's the story behind this image?
Exhibiting in this Edition One Hundred show is a piece from my polaroid series. Polaroids have been my preferred method of creating a visual diary. This image was taken on the beaches of the beaches of Tel Aviv in 2008.

What is your charity or cause? Why did you select this? Where does community work fit in with your ethos as an artist?
Americans for Peace Now was established in 1981 to mobilize support for the Israeli peace movement. This is an extraordinarily progressive and is best known for mobilizing massive demonstrations contesting settlement activity in Gaza and the West Bank.

My work is very much based on fining beauty in the ‘unseen.’ With that said, I work with many communities who don’t traditionally get public representation. Due to the nature of working with these human stories, my work is deeply connected to culture and community. There is an obvious responsibility when visually telling a other’s stories, so I feel like the act of making art of the everyday is in itself a community service.

Edition One Hundred is founded with the idea of providing artists the opportunity to transform new technology into a tool to both produce affordable art while simultaneously connecting to non-traditional art collectors. What are your thoughts on Edition One Hundred?
Upon learning of this project I was instantly intrigued. Living in New York, a major global art destination, we sometimes get stuck in the ways we interact with art. Cat presented this idea and after investigating the platform, I felt really refreshed and enthusiastic about sharing my work this way. I am anxious to see how my collectors respond as well as people who may not generally buy art. Edition One Hundred seems like a perfect transition into becoming an art collector as the work presented is extraordinary and affordable.

How do you see this as a platform to reach a broader audience for your work?
One major concern for many artists is the access to their work. Oftentimes artwork changes very few hands and is seen by only those committed to gallery openings, collecting, and art walks. This new format for interacting with art on the web is truly exciting and innovative. Thrilled to be a part of this unique and egalitarian way of sharing and exposing my photographs.

What are your thoughts on Art in the Digital Age?
As an artist working with primarily outdated technology: polaroids, super 8, 35 and 120 film stock, I am constantly revisiting this subject. Change is always hard to digest and I think a lot of artists, especially photographers, feel defensive about the rate of technological change. I myself feel, in many way, even more committed to older and more traditional ways of capturing images. In a time where digital media is constantly changing, I work with methods that have been employed for decades. What I am very excited about is the opportunity to show my work during this Digital Age. One of the greatest moments in recent art history is the decision to host an online Art Fair (VIP Art Fair). These new mediums and opportunities to view art broadens the ability to buy works from living artists. That is one of the most exciting and engaging components of the democratization of art online.

As an artist, regularly producing work is a manifestation of your distinctive view. Also it has a lot to do with influence by the work of others. Do you collect art? If so, who do you collect? And if you had all the money in the world, who would you buy and why?
While I am not an active art collector, I have amassed a small collection. One great thing about making work is it opens up a whole other approach to commerce: bartering. I am constantly in awe of people making things in my community and have been able to trade works with many emerging local artists.

If I was collecting my dream would be to own a Fred Tomaselli, William Eggleston, or Ed Ruscha.

Why should people buy art?
To support living artists and to create culture.




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Edition One Hundred is curated, limited edition art available in editions of 100, priced at $100.00. Prints are hand-signed and numbered by the artists in a size and/or print exclusive to Edition One Hundred. More here.
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