Artist Spotlight with Jordain Molloy Gillen

Amidst the strange times of social isolation that we’re living through, we’re delighted to introduce you to the vibrant and unique world of multi-media artist Jordain Molloy Gillen. Here, he shares some of his work and the influences behind it…

‘Born and raised in Ballymena, Northern Ireland, Jordain Molloy Gillen is an artist and designer who has been practicing professionally for three years. Graduating in Fine Art from Belfast School of Art in 2017, having studied there for four years, Jordain has expanded his practice fantastically. To date Jordain has worked on a number of things outside of his practice including events dressing with Creating Retail Magic, having his own solo shows The Millinery Collection and Dark Glamour, collaborating with Lush Belfast for culture night and working in the costume department for productions such as Give My Head Peace and Game of Thrones.

From a young age Jordain was always surrounded by the arts. He was taught to draw and sculpt by his grandfather who was self taught and would create pieces of work as a hobby. His grandmother taught him how to sew and influenced his interest in fashion. Throughout his teenage years he would continuously create headpieces and make small garments for his mother’s dolls. He was always a very keen photographer as well and would never miss an opportunity for a photograph as he believed in capturing memories. More recently Jordain has taught himself how to create bespoke jewelry pieces including brooches and earrings. Jordain has also transferred his love for drawing and sketching into detailed illustrations depicting feelings, dreams and memories. As well as this Jordain now creates more elaborate garments and is currently expanding his work as a designer along with being an artist.

There really are no limitations to his practice for he believes that an artist should not be restricted to their abilities. Identifying as a Queer artist and designer, he believes in spiritual growth and experimenting with your art, for art is to be enjoyed not only by others but by the artist too. Jordain is quite a humanitarian and believes in equality and making a statement, to give a voice to society. He is also very concerned with matters affecting the natural earth and animal rights which is conveyed in some aspects of his work. When creating work he has a dreamlike vision in which he likes to work with processes that incorporate colour, golden shine and illusionistic qualities, offering something you can only imagine from a dream or mythical experience.’

Silk Waistcoat with Custom Hanger
Waistcoat made purely from silk paint skins with metal hanger made from steel, 2016 – This piece was experimental in which I wanted to play on the idealism of creating a garment with ‘silk’ from silk paint.

Headpiece made from silk paint skins, photographed by me also, 2016 – 
Again this piece was experimental to create a non-binary idenitity with fashion.

Left: Hangman – Headdress
Masquerade made from chiffon, steel metal and embellishments, photographed by Michael Brad, 2017 – 
This piece depicts a character disguised from society, seen as unapproachable but trying to see beyond the veil only to be blinded by love.

Right: Into the Forest
Mirror Sculpture and Horn headpiece
, photographed by Michael Brad, 2017 – This piece is very much a fairytale piece to tell a story of how a mirror holds reflections within. The actual mirror within this sculpture belonged to my granda who had passed away at the time. It was his shaving mirror and so the idea behind this piece was that the mirror holds reflections of times past.

Gothic Masquerade
Masquerade made from machie and embellishments
, photographed by Megan Sanderson from Imprint Photography, 2018 – This piece was featured as part of Dark Glamour, using Venitian mask making techniques and exploring the gothic.

The Love of The Sun & The Moon
A4 Acrylic painting, 2019 – 
I have always had a fascination with the love story of the sun and the moon and so I have explored this throughout various pieces of my work.

Left: The Moon and the Stars in the Palm of my Hand
A4 Acrylic painting, 2019 – 
This piece depicts the imagery of having all the abilities to pursue your dreams with power you hold in your hands.

Right: Luna in Virgo
A4 Acrylic painting, 2019 – 
Continuing with the theme of astrology this piece is a homage to my mother who is a Virgo star sign.

Becoming the Storm
A4 Acrylic painting, 2019 – 
This piece was inspired by a look from The Vivienne from RuPaul’s Drag Race. The concept behind it was to tell the story of how depression can cover someone’s head like a cloud from a storm and to raise awareness for mental health. This piece was very touching for me as it conveyed some of my own personal feelings.

Left: Tropical Headpiece
Mixed media, 2019 – 
This piece was created purely for fun as an alternative to your everyday fascinators, created with a tropical twist.

Right: Sketch for Goddess Headdress – This is my initial first sketch for my Goddess headdress.

Left: Spring Awakening
Collaboration featuring my neckpiece and Goddess headdress
, photographed by Megan Sanderson from Imprint Photography, edited by Jordain Molloy Gillen, 2020 – This piece is very much about telling a story of new beginnings.

Right: Untitled
Collaboration with Megan Sanderson, featuring me wearing my red star cloak made from recycled fabric from old garments, my Goddess headdress and neck piece, photographed by Megan Sandedrson from Imprint Photography, edited by Jordain Molloy Gillen.

Luna Moon
A3 Screen print, 2020 – 
This piece again explores the story of the sun and the moon. Here the sun is resting while the moon comforts and smiles. This was also screen printed onto T-shirts.

Bat Brooches
Made from leatherette, felt and embellishments, 2020 – 
These were first made with wool felt recycled from an old trilby. Due to popularity I then made a second bunch from leatherette. A little gothic twist with colour.

‘To see something that others can’t see is unique, but to be able to capture the moment and share it for others to enjoy the secrecy of happiness is something greater than we can imagine.’
– Jordain Molloy Gillen


All content in this feature is created and copyrighted by Jordain, excepting where other photographers and collaborators are noted. You can explore more of Jordain’s work on his website and follow his progress on Instagram and Facebook.

You can also see more from the other photographers credited:
Michael Brad – Instagram
Megan Sanderson (Imprint Photography NI) – Instagram

23rd March 2020