Tasmanian artist and illustrator “Malachi Johns” discusses her love for creating art with Joel delving into the realm of creativity and expression through her works. Malachi shares her journey through her own progression in style development and connecting with others through the online world.
Tell us a bit about yourself, what are your passions and interests?
That is a fantastic question! One I am still trying to answer myself because my creative styles and themes are so broad an ever changing. I see them as a direct reflection of my own mind and my own experience, so they’re always developing. At the moment I’m focused on illustrating a lot of two-minute-noodle art because I have discovered the wonders of two-minute-noodles, so I’ve been illustrating a tonne of food. Before that is was a lot of portraiture and colourful abstract painting. It’s always changing! I suppose what sums up ‘Malachi Johns’ art is feel-good, happy, expressive, raw, cathartic art.
I’ve always made art ever since I was a kid. Branding it and really engaging with an audience though has only been a hobby for the past couples of years, slowly growing and developing them. Especially my online art pages ‘Artisan Fancy’ on Instagram and Facebook, they’ve been really growing which is awesome!
What are you first memories of doing art?
I might have been about 4 years old. My mum is a fantastic artist and would always draw and paint with my sister and I, and I just loved it. I liked being able to put what was in my mind into the physical realm by putting it onto paper. In hindsight it felt really therapeutic. Every year at school I got all the art awards at school and stuff like that, and I think all my art friends hated me for it but that’s the price of brilliance! Haha. Though I don’t have much choice in the matter, for me it feels like I have to and there’s no questions about it. I can’t remember a single day passing where I haven’t made something even if it was dreadful, it didn’t matter because it’s about creating. It makes me sad to think that people who really loved their creative hobbies, not just art but extending to music as well, let them fade when the stresses of life and adulthood take hold. I think a large reason for that is not on the individual but it’s because our society doesn’t exactly encourage creation that isn’t able to be monetised really quickly and that’s an issue with capitalism. It’s as if “you have to create, you have to make money otherwise it’s not worth anything” but that’s simply not true. It’s about enjoying something. The people that continue on with their art, like I have, are the ones that have the need and passion to create and won’t allow society’s pressure to change that.
How has the online world affected the artists process?
I think it’s changed the very nature of art because in the past, simply sharing your ideas through things like the publication process was really confined to the material sources like paint and publicity. Now that we’ve got this massive online and instantaneous platform for sharing ideas, the market of brilliance is absolutely saturated with good and bad art alike! Haha. I won’t get into all of that but whether or not that is a good thing for art in and of itself, remains to be seen. Who you are and how you approach it, will effect what you get out of it. I love having instantaneous access to so many brilliant works to be inspired by. It’s fantastic seeing all this incredible work! I know that quite a few artists just starting out can feel intimidated by that, but my advice to them would be that it’s not a comparison. Never ever compare yourself! It sounds very cliché but it’s also true. The only person you should compare yourself to is your own past-self. If your current-self is better than your past-self, then you’re fantastic! That approach to it is what’s gotten me through.
What are some of the art challenges and hurdles you’ve faced on your artistic journey?
That’s a big question because I can’t answer that. I wouldn’t say that art has any hurdles for me with it. Rather than having challenges it’s been more like a solution for everything!
Do you think that you’ve found a style that is uniquely your own?
Again, another question I can’t answer because my style is so fluid and so ever-changing! Haha. I’ve certainly had moments where I’ve realised that art is going to be something which is enduring forever with my character but literally every couple of months, my style changes and I do new stuff. I’m sure if you looked at all of them or came up with an algorithm to judge a common theme, you might find some cohesion in all of them. But honestly, other than their expression and their colourfulness it’s just a continual journey and there’s not necessarily one thing which I will stick to for all that long.
What is your digital art making process like?
It depends on whether I’m doing a commission for a client or whether I’m doing one just for myself. If it’s for a client, the process involves a lot of style, theme and subject matter research that takes place prior. For example, I’ll be thinking about what colours they want included, what composition is going to work and how to convey the idea that they want. So there’s a lot more planning and drafting and so it happens in a much more structured fashion. If I’m doing a painting for myself, I’ll literally start and see where it goes. You’ll see a lot of process videos on Instagram of people starting with lines and then doing colour and then doing shading or whatever else and sometimes I’ll do it completely the other way around just to see what happens! Haha. So it’s really varied depending on the circumstance. I think my process is reflective of my personality to be honest: I’ll have a structure, I’ll have a theme and stick with it for a few months, but then it’s time to shake it up! The only common consistency is that art will always be created.
What’s your dream goal with your art?
Oh I love this question. It would be my art having a tremendously positive impact on humanity, not just in our time but a lasting effect and I’d want that to be intermingled with my interest in psychology. I want to somehow combine psychology and art to create something which benefits everybody forever. Especially in terms of education, like a revolution in art therapy and helping children learn to express themselves, cultivating that expression and taking it with them into adulthood. That’s the ultimate art goal, to benefit humanity as a whole, which is idealistic I know! But hey, someone has to be idealistic and that’s me, haha.
What advice would you give to other young artists trying to breakout into the client world?
The biggest hurdle I faced in the beginning was a hesitation to put a price tag on my art. It was a weird inner voice saying stuff like, “uh no…oh that’s not worth anything”, I felt weird trying to sell me work to people. I found that my art friends also had this same issue about the hesitation to charge people for their artwork. Once you get passed that and you realise your artwork has value, then you can start increasing that. It’s about realising what you’re doing is worth something and people will pay that. That’s the challenge that I’ve found and that I’ve noticed in many of my art friends. If you’re wanting to shift from a hobbyist to an artist who sells their work it’s about realising your work has value and being firm about that! It’s a journey.
If you’d like to get in touch with or lookup Malachi Johns Art you can do so on Instagram at www.instagram.com/keturacreate, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ArtisanFancy or Etsy at www.etsy.com/au/shop/ArtisanFancy