Peony Gent and Molley May

Please tell us who you are and what you’ve been working on recently.

PG: I am Peony Gent, an illustrator, artist and poet originally from Cambridgeshire and now based in London. My work is multi-disciplinary, most often combining installation, experimental comics, drawing and text art. In September 2021 I was very happy to have an exhibition of my work displayed in St Pancras Square in London. ‘Overlay’ was an exhibition of a body of work created during my time as the Illustrator in Residence for the House of Illustration, and was my first solo exhibition.

MM: I am a multi-disciplinary artist and illustrator based in Bristol, with a focus on drawing and observation. I work on trying to capture the emotion and nostalgia in everyday items, and am currently working on a series of drawings around dresses and the memories associated with wearing them.

What drew you to each other’s practice?

PG: I have a lot of admiration for Molley’s approach to the practice of drawing. Her work has a real sense of raw honesty to it, and is both bold yet deeply delicate. I particularly love the sense of grounded materiality of both her drawing methods and subjects, something I would love to integrate more of into my own practice.

MM: I enjoy Peony’s sense of story telling and how her work often takes you to quite unexpected places. There is a lot of tenderness to be found in her work and much of it feels very human. I think what she is doing with comics is very unique and a bold statement in the current contemporary comic book scene.

How will you use the 1:1 FUND?

Our plan for the 1:1 FUND is to create a series of works responding to each other, creating a free-flowing visual conversation. Whilst we do not want to put too much of a restriction on the content of this project (the point of it being a playful and exploratory process with no artificial pre-determined agenda), we have both already had many verbal discussions over the past year or so about the affect of enforced isolated making, as well as the relationship between artist and space, and community and individual.

Specifically we will use the fund to organise a drawing residency for ourselves where we will have access to a space for large format and messy drawings – something neither of us can currently even remotely achieve. Within this rented space we will undertake a period of experimental development drawing / large artworks. In terms of drawing content we are interested in learning something from the other: Molley wishes to step outside of her usual sphere of observational drawing to involve fictionalised subjects into her work further (something Peony regularly does), whilst Peony wishes to perhaps step closer to observation and the study of still lives, Molley’s speciality. We are excited to see where these commonalities in interests yet differences in approach will lead.

Why did you choose the idea you will be working on?

We have both felt stagnant in our practices for a while – the pandemic and lack of studio access for both of us left us working in regular routines, with little ability to work outside of those confines. We feel this idea will allow us to go outside of our comfort zones and both discover something new, whilst returning to our artistic roots as it were.

In particular Peony seeks a return to materiality and reconnection to the physicality of drawing after a long time period of primarily drawing digitally. She also wishes to spend time interrogating her drawing methods, something there has been no time for since finishing her MA in 2019.

Molley wishes to experiment with scale and media, and attempt to reconnect with imaginative drawing. Drawing without pressure to share or monetise will also allow her to relink to her work on a more emotive level. We are excited to see where these commonalities in interests yet differences in approach will lead!



Molley May, 2021. Image courtesy of the artist.
Peony Gent, Overlay, 2021. Image courtesy of the artist
Molley May, 2021. Image courtesy of the artist.
Peony Gent, Overlay, 2021. Image courtesy of the artist