About the Artist

About the Artist

Season 17 Artwork was created by Winona tattooist Molly Lyn of Black Moth Tattoo.

Great River Shakespeare Festival (GRSF) recently released the artwork that will be used throughout the season for each plays. For many years, the festival has commissioned different artists to create new pieces that bring together some of the themes in the plays for the season. This year, GRSF was able to commission Molly Lyn, a local tattoo artist and business owner, to create the season artwork.

GRSF’s new season artwork is now up on the website and beginning to appear in advertising for the season. Many people are surprised to learn that it was created by a tattoo artist, Winona resident Molly Lyn.

“I’ve worked with Molly for a couple years now, and I love her work. However, it was actually one of our directors, Beth Gardiner, who suggested we commission her to create the season artwork,” said GRSF Marketing Director Eileen Moeller. Moeller said one of the highlights of the season planning process has always been working with a different artist to try to synthesize their individual style with what the Festival hopes to communicate for the following season. Said Moeller, “Molly is not only a fantastic artist, but an independent small business owner, and a great collaborator. I’m glad she was able to make time for us!”

When asked what interested her about working with the Festival on season artwork instead of tattoos, Molly said, “It is so different from my day job; as a tattooist the drawings I am preparing are very specific and created for the individual I am working with. With these paintings, I had complete creative freedom and that is very exciting!”

Molly commented she enjoys communicating with clients as part of her creative process. 

“Art, in general, is all about balance for me. I like to take inspiration from multiple sources, and have lots of communication with clients before I start my creative process. The possibilities are endless, and I really enjoy exploring that.”

GRSF asked Molly how she felt balancing her personal style with something a client commissions from her. Molly said, “It is really interesting for me to look back on all of the different things I have tattooed during my career. Every single day is a different subject matter and I have a lot of fun trying to come up with artwork that suits the individual that will be wearing it. The biggest challenge is trying to picture what they are seeing in their mind, and being able to translate that for them. When it all comes together it is very rewarding!”

Like many of the other artists GRSF hires for the season, Molly is a self-employed artist. She said the reason she became interested in tattooing because it amazed her that someone might want to have her artwork on them forever. She said, “I have met so many people over the years. For my commissioned art, I get to make connections with a different group of people and that is really important to me. I wouldn’t be able to do that if I wasn’t working independently.”

In past years, GRSF has collaborated with other local artists including Sarah Johnson, Julia Crozier, Jamie Harper, and Pete Sandker. While the majority of what GRSF produces is performance art, the Festival collaborates with artists of varying media whenever possible.

As in seasons past, the original pieces created by the artist will be auctioned off during Callithump! on Thursday, July 30th. To learn more about Molly and Black Moth Tattoo, visit her website here.