Preston artist set to exhibit in Prague

Gizelle Molnar with her collection of vibrant portraits capturing spontaneous and happy moments spent with friends pic Lisa Brown

An artist from Preston prepares her first exhibition in Prague. Gizelle Molnar, whose vibrant portraits are currently on display as part of UCLan’s MA Degree exhibition, has been invited to exhibit her collection of bird prints in a new gallery opening in the city. We went to find out more.


Over the past two decades, Gizelle Molnar has lived and worked across the world, while studying various artistic disciplines. From drawing from life in Seoul to studying ceramics in the United States, Gizelle has led a fascinating life.

“I graduated with a degree in ceramics eighteen years ago, taught by Professor David Binns at UCLan,” Gizelle said. “I spent part of my degree studying at Central Connecticut State University in Connecticut, USA under the Erasmus program. I learned turning, where ceramics are shaped on a potter’s wheel, under the tutelage of Professor Vicente Garcia, making vases, cups and tableware.

“While I was in the United States, I worked as a nanny for a man who worked at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Cape Cod. He told me about a whole ecosystem of frozen microorganisms in the glaciers that had been lost during the melting of the glaciers due to global warming This is what I based my graduation show on, global warming and the lost ecosystem, creating microorganisms in china and hang them from the ceiling.

The lost ecosystem was created in porcelain and suspended from the ceiling.  It won bronze and the audience award at the North West Art Show.  Peak Gizelle Molnar
The lost ecosystem was created in porcelain and suspended from the ceiling. It won bronze and the audience award at the North West Art Show. Peak Gizelle Molnar

As well as being on display at her graduation exhibition, Gizelle’s poignant installation was exhibited at the Chapel Art Gallery in Ormskirk and entered the North West Art Show, where it won bronze as well as the prize for public, voted on by members of the public who attended the exhibition.

Read more: Students and staff celebrate the launch of UCLan’s MA Degree Show

After graduating, Gizelle traveled the world with her partner Andy, teaching English in South Korea, China and Italy, while pursuing her creative endeavors.

“I took a short course to study ceramics in Hungary,” said Gizelle. “And when I was teaching in Seoul, I found a studio in Gangnam. I needed a place to work and a man had set up a studio in a polytunnel while he was building his studio. I took a life drawing class every Friday after work and learned leather crafts, bag making and different crafts in Itaewon. I have always drawn, sewn, painted or worked with ceramics.

Gizelle returned to the UK, before the pandemic, to spend more time with her mother, settling in Preston with Andy. Soon after, she began teaching art to adults with learning disabilities at a day center in town, which she continues to do.

“People come to the day center and there is a choice of activities they can take part in. I went to an exhibition at the Lady Lever Art Gallery, Liverpool, showing Japanese woodblock prints from the 19e century. It was the first time these prints had been exhibited outside of Japan. So I based a series of classes on these, looking at the patterns, took kimonos and we explored and created Japanese patterned prints.

“When someone first attends, they may not sit with you for long, but over time they may sit longer. You may need to sit with them and support them or they may want to be left alone. I teach how to use different brushes and pencils, how to draw and use a ruler, select different types of paper and paint, and teach different skills and techniques. I think it really builds people’s confidence when they’re able to work independently and see what they’ve created at the end of the session.

“People like different things, the bright colors of propaganda art really appealed to a lot of people in the class. We looked at cartoon and comic art, as well as the work of different artists such Andy Warhol and Alex Katz, one of the artists I studied for my master’s degree.When we first learned about the war in Ukraine, we looked at Ukrainian folk art and talked about current events.

Gizelle had fun creating a series of colorful bird prints.  Peak Gizelle Molnar
Gizelle believes that art and creativity can help promote confidence and independence and improve people’s mental health Pic Gizelle Molnar

“Some people who attend the sessions may experience anxiety or mental health issues and I think being creative when you’re completely engrossed in one thing you can’t think about the thing that’s causing you anxiety. , it gives your brain a rest and then to see what you have produced after one session or several sessions, it feels good.

During the pandemic, Gizelle was asked to illustrate a children’s book. Local musician Mark Whiteside had written a children’s story, based on his childhood, and was looking for an illustrator.

Read more: Preston musician trades drumsticks for pen to write children’s book

One of the illustrations for The Car Gnome, a children's book illustrated by Gizelle and written by Mark Whiteside.  Peak Gizelle Molnar
One of the illustrations for The Car Gnome, a children’s book illustrated by Gizelle and written by Mark Whiteside. Peak Gizelle Molnar

“During the lockdown, it was really hard to find gifts for friends’ birthdays,” Gizelle said. “So I started illustrating friends with their favorite things. I have a good friend who loves her cat, so I did a bighead illustration of her with her cat. She had also been on Radio Lancashire during the pandemic because she had grown a lot of aloe vera plants and given them to people in her community so of course an aloe vera plant was featured and she hates Prosecco with a passion so in the illustration she is watering the plants with Prosecco.

“They were just fun, stylized illustrations that people seemed to like. So when Mark was looking for an illustrator, he told me the story and described some of the characters. I went and drew and painted what I thought he would have looked like as a kid. The next time we met, he saw her and said “it’s me!” and he brought a picture of himself and it was!

“It was the first time I collaborated with someone and it was a very good working relationship. The book was published independently and it sold very well. We did some book readings in bookstores independent and at the Larder. There are plans for a second book.

Car Dwarf Page
The Car Gnome features a little boy named Joe and his Aunt Flo. artwork by Gizelle Molnar, lyrics by Mark Whiteside.

Post-pandemic, Gizelle decided to pursue an MFA at UCLan, resulting in a collection of vibrant portraits celebrating the good times shared with friends.

“COVID lockdown has changed a lot of people’s focus, a lot of people have started studying. My mother had passed away, I was working night shifts and now I had free days so I wanted to use my free time.

“At the beginning of the year, we think about a project. I had all these pictures of friends on my phone, they were just the happiest pictures, pictures of them doubled over laughing, eating cake, sucking noodles, you never see yourself doing that in the mirror but you see your friends doing this. I just wanted to capture those moments.

A selection of the portraits on display in the Hanover building created by fine artist Gizelle Molnar.  Photo Lisa Brown
A selection of the portraits on display in the Hanover building created by fine artist Gizelle Molnar. Photo Lisa Brown

“Artists whose work I love and have on my walls at home, Andy Warhol – there’s a lot of touches of pink, Alex Katz, another artist called Andy Dixon creates these vibrantly colored canvases and the two really got married, the idea of ​​creating these spontaneous, brief moments in time in vibrant, saturated colors. After the past two years, with what everyone has been through, I wanted to create a collection of images that do people good, that capture the joy of the moment.

Gizelle Molnar has created a series of stylized bird prints.  Peak Gizelle Molnar
Gizelle Molnar has created a series of stylized bird prints. Peak Gizelle Molnar

Gizelle hopes to show A Brief Moment in Time in other galleries and would like to continue creating portraits to add to the collection. At the moment, she is concentrating on building up a collection of works to be sent to Prague to be exhibited in a new gallery that has just opened in the city.

“In everyday life it’s so easy to get your creativity down, it becomes the last thing on your list, but I think it’s really good to take this time to lower your mind and the noise of life. daily and focus on creating one thing.

Gizelle Molnar’s exhibition “A Brief Moment in Time” is on view as part of UCLan’s MA Degree Show in UCLan’s Hannover building, open weekdays 10am-4pm, until Wednesday 5 october.

Gizelle is currently taking orders, contact Gizelle

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Berta D. Wells