No Pretend: Please introduce yourself. Tell us where you’re originally from and where currently you reside?
Malarky: My name is Malarky and I am an artist and illustrator. I'm originally from South London but now I float between London and Barcelona decorating walls and shutters and anything else I can get away with really.
No Pretend: At what age did you realize that you were talented and that “creating” is what you wanted to do?
Malarky: actual point when it changed from something I did to something I wanted to do probably wasn't that many years back, but there is a little story behind it
It all started when I took up skateboarding back in 1998, back then I was at school and money was tight so I couldn't really shell out 60 quid for a deck. I used to get blank decks and plain t-shirts and doodle on them or do stencils, it was just a bit of fun, a little side project from skating.
The urban exploration side of skateboarding had a cross over with the graffiti scene and a lot of times we would find ourselves skating in a place where people were also painting, so everyone kind of got to know each other. Some writers showed me how they would draw/tag on the old royal mail recorded delivery stickers that you could get from the post office and stick them up around town, so I got busy doing that while working full time in a skate shop, until I could save enough to go to university.
I moved from London to Newcastle (North England) to study. Up there I got more into graffiti more and started painting more trackside and street bits, got in some crazy situations and probably came close to death more than once. I was still doing stickers and now paste ups and through that I met some awesome artists, this was the first time I'd met someone who did art as a job and had a studio. This was a completely new concept to me and right then I knew that’s what I wanted to do.
This was the point when it changed.
Some small galleries started opening and taking on my work and I was getting little sales here and there. I finished off uni and got a job in an architecture practice and working there all day everyday further encouraged me to work hard at my artwork. I saved money for months and months and moved to Barcelona to work full time as an artist.
No Pretend: Are there any existing artists or popular figures that influenced you?
Malarky: I am influenced by my surroundings; mainly, all the things I see every day, whether I actually see them, or whether I see a water stain on the wall of the Pub I am sitting in that looks like an astronaut wolf. All the art I’ve ever seen I have consciously and subconsciously worked out what makes this picture appeal to me and taken it onboard and I always look forward to seeing new art.
No Pretend: What is your biggest motivation/inspiration when it comes to creating a new piece?
Malarky: motivation comes from doodling. I’m a doodle warrior, doodling all day on bits of a card or envelopes, and then there comes an idea or the start of an idea, that I want to make a painting of, and I know that I am going to have to paint it.
I don’t think I could sit down and then force myself to do a painting that has come from nowhere. My paintings normally leave some kind of scrap paper trail, you could follow then all the way back to the sketchy, messy concept, drawn on a napkin in Nandos.
No Pretend: Are there any specific themes associated with the pieces you create?
Malarky: A lot of my work portrays some kind of emotion, or tries to capture a feeling at a specific moment in time, using characters, animals, shapes, textures, etc.
No Pretend: Do you have a trademark style? Or preference in color scheme? If so, how did this style emerge?
Malarky: I do have quite a specific style. I'm not really sure how it came about, it’s just really what I thought pictures should look like, a particular style where, if I saw it as an outsider, I would be into it.
I like to mix in some colours and comedy elements, just because that’s what would make me happy, so maybe it could make someone else smile, quite selfish really haha.
No Pretend: What are some objects you have used as a canvas other than walls?
Malarky: I love painting shutters, I like how they are hidden in the day and then they come out at night and just sit there on the street. For me it’s a beautiful concept and aesthetic. Maybe this is why I paint a lot of foxes, they have a similar vibe.
Aside from that, Barcelona is an awesome place to find things to draw on, there is a day when people put out old furniture to get collected, and you can walk about and pick up 100 better things than a canvas for drawing or painting on, recent examples are cupboard doors, old paintings, off cuts of wood, cabinets, set of old table mats, trays and loads more. And these are just things for drawing on, aside from this I’ve got ladders, toys, books... loads! It sounds strange but lots of people do this in Barcelona, it must be good for recycling. All the furniture from my old flat was street finds, and we had 2 leather armchairs. Haha.
I like to paint on untreated wood, the paint sinks in nice and you can get full colour coverage with the texture showing, it’s real nice.
No Pretend: Can you describe your usual work atmosphere? What kind of setting helps you to focus the most?
Malarky: Depending where I am I work at a desk or table, and I spend about 30mins tidying it each morning and by lunchtime it looks like a hellhole. I used to be in a studio but it was the same for me
I work mainly from home; some people don’t like it because of distraction etc, but for me its fine. Once I’m drawing, nothing really stops me
No Pretend: Do you see yourself collaborating with any local street artists? If so, do you have anyone in particular in mind?
Malarky: Yes, I always love to work with new people. When painting on the street I prefer it. I am doing a painting with a friend/artist or even better a whole crew. Last year I did Collaborative shutters with quite a few different artists most notably MisterTheFreak (Spain) and Burning Candy (UK), this year I have already done 3 with a new artist friend of mine Billy in London. I am meeting more artists in Madrid next month to paint shutters and then more in Valencia the month after.
No Pretend: Are there any major projects or exhibits you’re working on for 2011?
Malarky: Um, I guess ill sort out some exhibitions and other do dads later in the year. At the moment, just painting the streets loads and chilling out.
No Pretend: For those interested in your artwork how can you be contacted?
Go to www.malark.co.uk. This has links to flickr, twitter, and the blog (this always has the newest stuff on).
Or email: Malark@malark.co.uk
Or facebook: just search Malarky