Not many people know much about my former life. It’s something I’m not particularly proud of. In fact, I’m a little embarrassed by it.
In my previous life, I worked in advertising. Worse, I worked as an art director for a major fashion retailer. Even worse – I was a fashion illustrator.
But wait, it gets worse.
In my attempt to escape the superficial world of advertising where I made a living bamboozling the American public, (fans of Mr. Blanding’s Builds His Dream House will know which line I’m referring to), I left to become a jewelry designer.
My reasons for leaving advertising were noble I assure you. I left the business because I believed advertising, as Mr. Blanding’s daughter put it, is “a basically parasitic profession,” that “makes people who can’t afford it buy things they don’t want with money they haven’t got.”
But – just like the proverbial “jumping out of the frying pan into the fire” idiom – no sooner had I gotten out of advertising and into the jewelry business when I realized it had a dark side too. Not just your average, run-of-the-mill dark side either, but a decidedly more sinister side than the advertising profession ever had.
During that confused career move, I went from working for people who cared more about wrinkles and font sizes than anyone I knew, to working for clients that had no concern for the devastating environmental impact and human misery their business inflicted on the planet.
Obviously, there are worse professions to be in – oh, like drug dealing I suppose, and being in the sex trade, or say human trafficking – yet in the context of how I was brought up, I had sunk pretty damn low. It must have been my youth spent growing up on a hippie commune in Northern California that scarred me for life from ever feeling entirely comfortable working in such a superficial world.
Not many of you know – in fact, no one does – that I grew up on a commune called Rainbow (I know, don’t laugh) in Mendocino County, better known to you stoners out there as the Emerald Triangle.
Rainbow’s most famous residents once included Winona Ryder (actress) and John Schaeffer (founder of the Solar Living Institute) and was visited by such groovy luminaries as Timothy Leary and other visitors from the world of the truly far out.
At Rainbow, we grew our food – organic of course – and we raised our own goats, chickens and we had a few horses too. All our food was homemade, even the wine. Hell, everything was homemade. Everything was recycled and repurposed. And old school bus was transformed into a pad only a hippie could love. We were mostly self-sustaining, except for our dependence on fossil fuels, everything we had was created, grown, harvested and built, with our bare hands. In fact, we didn’t even have electricity. We were off the grid, man.
To this day, I can’t take a hot shower or a bath without marveling the fact that hot running water emerges freely from a tap. Such riches! Those things mattered a lot to a 13-year-old who just wanted a nothing more than a battery operated curling iron and clean designer clothes.
Fast forward – past the flashy career working in advertising and the jewelry design business – I was pushed into making a big move. Just as life has other plans for you, I had no choice but to give up my material lifestyle – the big house in Sonoma, the designer suits, the crocodile loafers – everything a superficial girl holds dear to her heart.
What first came as a shocking reversal of fortune, became the most profound and meaningful transformation in my life.
But, there is one thing I miss about my former snazzy life, and that was the big fat bank account. It was nice not always having to worry about how I was going to pay the bills.
Today, I struggle because I don’t earn an income from the work I do. I refuse to sell products related to pet food, and I won’t sell ad space either (how could I!). So, the only thing I’m left with is to rely on the kindness of strangers for donations. Aside from the occasional donation, which I am eternally grateful for, it’s not enough to keep Poisoned Pets afloat.
That’s when I had a brainwave. Why not use my skills as an artist to promote Poisoned Pets?
So, I dusted off my pencils and fired up my Italian drafting table and voila! Poisoned Pets art was born.
Before you ask, no, I don’t sell prints or t-shirts or any of that stuff. Not yet, anyway.
Because I have not found a single print on demand company in the U.S. that doesn’t use imported material or products, where everything is made – from scratch – in the USA, and doesn’t use any toxic materials from non-renewable resources. It’s sort of like trying to find an ethical pet food company! They’re as rare as hen’s teeth.
Meanwhile, I thought you’d like to see the other – much nicer – side of Mollie.