Street Artist Interview: Malarky

8 May ’11

Malarky street art in London

Malarky and Mr. Penfold

Tell us a little about your artistic background and how you go into street art?

I was always a doodler and then when i got into skateboarding when i was 13 or 14 I was subjected to a lot more art that related to me and this is when I started doing drawings for stickers and putting them about, gradually got into doing graffiti and for a while I was doing letter pieces but my letters normally always ended up turning into characters and then I started focusing on characters and just drawing stuff that made me smile. I never planned to be an artist, I didn’t even know you could survive working as an artist, i’m still not sure! I worked a few different design jobs and started meeting like minded people that were already working as successful artists, loved the studio culture and just chilling with friends and drawing so I just started doing that. As far as street art goes, I like to paint outside, I can’t really explain it, I like to add some colour to the streets and reclaim a bit of bland street surface, if you what I mean.

You spend your time between Barcelona and London. How does the street art scene in London compare to that in Barcelona?

There are similarities and differences, Barcelona – mainly due to its different laws and buffing rules ,has way more graffiti and street art, Its everywhere, you can feel the energy anywhere in the city and it ranges from chrome dubs to mad full colour abstract pieces, the vibe of the city comes through in the artwork you see, its nice and relaxed, and no one takes themselves too seriously because over there, due to bad economy or whatever, you can’t make a living doing this kind of art, so the motivations are purer i think. In London for sure there is some amazing stuff, crazy burning candy rooftops and mad roller stuff, people had to get more imaginative to avoid the buff! There is also a lot of shit, people want to do it to be cool or make money or something rather than make something nice, so they do it, and normally get away with it, it sucks in that way.

Malarky street art in London

Malarky and Billy

We’ve recently seen a lot of your work around East London and also down in Brixton. Can you tell us a little about these pieces?

I’m from South London so Brixton is like an old friend to me I love to paint there because everyone is nice, the shutters are big and smooth and you can buy export Guinness in every off licence. Its a crazy place different to the rest of London when i go there I feel like in on Holiday, maybe thats why i like it. I used to go there once a week meet up with whoever I was painting with that day get a couple of beers and a Nandos sketch something out and then get to work, always the passers by give good responses and because now most people know my work there now its super chilled, even one time police pulled up when I was painting and I thought ‘here we go’, and it turned out he just came to see if I had witnessed some stabbing round the corner for a report, they have other priorities down there so they leave me alone mainly haha. However as much as I hate to admit it, East London is also an awesome place to chill and go paint and way more people see the work, its cool to paint there put its been hammered so much you have to pull out something special to stand out plus the Police are real persistent round there.

A lot of your recent pieces have been on shutters and trucks. Aside from walls, what other surfaces do you like painting on and what has been the most unusual?

Trucks are nice to paint, they real smooth and its nice to see them driving about the place, I used to see 2 or 3 of my trucks driving around everyday in Barca, I’m gonna try and get some more London trucks done soon. I like painting also raw concrete, raw brick walls, smooth shutters anything really, its more the positioning that I think about rather than the surface. An unusual fave of mine is doing a piece that extends out of the shutter over a wall to another shutter, I don’t know why I just like how they look.

You’ve recently collaborated with Billy and Mr. Penfold. What is it about working with other street artists that you like?

Its always good to collaborate, it just mixes things up and adds a bit more excitement, it doesn’t always work the best but you get to meet new people, try out new stuff, sometimes learn something and have a good time

Malarky street art in London

Malarky and Billy

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced putting up a piece on the streets?

Theres been trucks on narrow Barca streets where I have had to keep move every 10minutes for a bus to come past or one time I remember putting a whole billboard up in the middle of the day, with no ladder, only a roller on the end of a broomstick and a chair, that was a silly challenge it was so windy i got covered in paste but I got it up in the end, doing full pieces with only 1 cap aswell im a sucker for that! Challenges are what makes it all worth while, if it was easy it would be boring and its good to have a story to tell at dinner! haha

You’re also a skilled illustrator. How much do you draw on these techniques when you’re putting art up on the streets?

Essentially my street work is just large scale illustrations, but weirdly I learn more about colours when im using spray, my canvas colour ways are all influenced by colours ive used in street pieces

Foxes feature in lots of your pieces. Why foxes?

It just sort of related back to shutters and street artists, just how they are away in the day and out at nighttime, foxes seemed so perfect and the colours are awesome, whenever i finish the fill on a fox it makes me smile I dont know why I just love the orange and white together.

What are your plans for 2011?

Exhibiton in June with Billy at High Roller Society, Paint loads of crap in London, Eat some Nandos, Paint some more trucks in Barca, Win the lottery.

See more Malarky at www.malark.co.uk.

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