Polly Pollet wants to get people thinking. The 24-year-old Belgian artist based in Brussels knows that art isn’t just something pretty to hang on a wall – it’s a powerful form of communication. Sometimes, you don’t need much more than a few (skilfully drawn) blue lines on plain white paper to spark conversations and inspire change.
This Article was Written by guest writer, Lisa Schwarzenauer
The self-described ballpoint-ninja is an expert for that. Using nothing more than a ballpoint pen, some paper and her imagination, she creates images that challenge the viewer to think about subjects ranging from identity to sexuality, social media and the state of society – always in a playful way. ‘Positively provocative’ is the mantra.
Her art is always inspired by the world around her – by society, by her friends, by the things we see and hear in the media every day. Every drawing is more than just the image you see – there’s a story behind each creation, told between the ballpoint lines. Guilty Pleasures, for example, is a series of drawings inspired by her closest female friends. The drawings celebrate the female body and sexuality and make a powerful statement against sexism: it’s all about discovering your body, feeling comfortable in your own skin and having fun without feeling guilty.
Putting colour on paper is Polly’s way of engaging with uncomfortable truths and topics. In her sketchbook, she reacts to things that bother her with a combination of drawings and deeply personal texts. One of the latest works in there is Ataraxia 2.0, a critical reflection on social media and our obsession to make our lives and ourselves appear perfect online. “The title refers to thoughts of the Greek philosophers Pyrro and Epicurus. The term states a lucid state of robust equanimity, characterized by ongoing freedom from distress and worry. In digital times we tend to create our own ataraxian paradox where we show ourselves through filters on social media losing the true being of who we really are. Find real beauty in what surrounds you. Every detail of life is a gift and we lose it from time to time behind our blue screen. Look up and explore.“, she explains.Power of Instagram
While she is aware of the negative sides of social media, she also knows how positive it can be for artists. Polly Pollet is part of a new generation of artists who share their work and connect with other artists and art lovers via Instagram and Co. “Social media has completely changed the game,” she says. It’s opened countless doors for emerging and established artists alike. To name just one example, it’s never been easier to collaborate with people. It doesn’t even matter if they live and work on a different continent, as Polly Pollet and Porous Walker prove. Walker, a California-based artist and art director who has worked with Francis Ford Coppola and other big names in the American art scene, came across her work on social media, and now they’re collaborating for a new exhibition in Brooklyn in March 2018.
But social media can be more than just a handy networking tool. If you want, you could say Polly’s career as a freelance artist really kicked off thanks to Instagram: when she posted the drawing of a hand, middle-finger up in the air, in 2016, people started noticing her talent and wanted to have drawings like that. What started as a way of dealing with depression developed into Project Fukit: People send Polly photos of their hands making a gesture – could be anything from a peace-sign to a fist or an outstretched middle finger – and the address of someone they love, she draws the hands and sends the finished artwork to the intended recipient. The series is intended as a loving and playful ‘fuck you’, as a way of showing you care and you do give a damn. Like the rest of Polly’s work, it is different and unexpected and sure to get people talking, in particular because she does not reveal who has ordered the drawing – the recipients have to figure that out on their own.