I was born and raised in this great nation’s capital…Ottawa; home of beaver tails, the Rideau Canal, and incidentally…my parents! I graduated back in April, so I guess I’ve been “professionally illustrating” for five months now. But before that I’ve been involved in gallery work for a little over a year now.
so, apparently you come off as a "douche" in interviews, what do you attribute that to?
I don’t think you can attribute that to any one thing in particular…it’s taken years of practice and education…and let’s be honest, a little bit of talent. I’ve worked hard to become the mega-douche that you “see” before you…. and plus, I usually wear a really Deep-V when I write these things.
technically you're still a pretty new graduate, although in a way you seem like you've already done so much - what are you currently focusing on?
Thanks for saying that Pete :). The last little while has been kind of interesting, a large part of my focus has gone towards developing a larger body of work for two gallery shows I have coming up in the next couple of months one with LeBasse Projects in LA and the other here in Toronto at Show and Tell Gallery in March; I’m really excited about the work that’s being produced and to be able to share it with everyone…I hope it comes across honestly.
Along with that, I’ve been trying to reinvigorate some of my other art related passions…things like design, animation, and interpretive dance! Really just trying out as many different avenues as I can. Also, I’ve been super fortunate to be asked to contribute to a few really cool collaborative projects as well! One is this sweet deck of cards redesign which is being headed by my buddy Dave Murray; the project looks to have a book release as well as a sweet show tied in with it, and has about 19 illustrators and designers involved, including Juan Solon, Yuta Onoda and many more…it’s going to be pretty rad! Oh another thing, I’m actually gearing up for the release of my very first screen print! I got a chance to collaborate with Jon Todd on a screen print of my design that will be released on September 17th through my site. I’m really excited for it!!
(Wow, sorry for all the shameless promo…this is what I mean by ‘douche’)
how are exhibition shows different from illustrating?
Well from my experiences with illustration and gallery exhibitions I’ve found the two worlds sort of parallel each other in many ways; I find myself working up concepts or vision behind the pieces, and coming up with imagery that is true to me but that still conveys what I’m trying to say… and at times developing the work with the mindset that it will be viewed by a particular audience, and if there is a feeling or thought that I would like to resonate with them. The amount of time you invest in the work is usually considerably different; many people spend 3-4 months pouring themselves into the work for a single show at times. I’d have to say the biggest difference would have to be with gallery type work, it’s more about communicating your own personal narrative, and challenging yourself to develop and enrich your visual vocabulary and personal voice, so that you can invite people in to see and share this part of who you are…that’s how it is for me at least.
how has your work been changing post grad?
I had a really good conversation with Tessar a while back, I think it was around the time he was gearing up for his solo… and I was talking to him about the shift in his work and what kind of triggered it for him and simply put he said, “Why deny part of who you are?” It really resonated with me. I guess you could say with that I’ve been trying to do work that comes more naturally to me, and develop a process that is the same, be it the medium I use or the imagery…if it’s something that I think will challenge me and help me grow with the work, I’m gonna go for it! From a technical point of view you could say I’ve sort of embraced my love of black and white imagery, as well as the overall dark tone of the images I produce.
if juan and yuta got into a fight, who would win?
That’s tough…cause Juan fights dirrty, and the dude is built like Brock Lesner…and Yuta is Japanese…nuff said. Wow, kind of the most difficult question in this interview……maybe we should pitch this to Spike and get em on Deadliest Warrior!
do you wanna talk a little about your process - i know you're a painting man, but im pretty sure your real passion is graphite - please correct me if im wrong...
Sure! With my process, I usually like to start with a concept or a feeling that I have, and I try and work off of that…sometimes I have a title in mind and for some reason it helps fuel the process. From there I grab the old post it notes and I like to work up a few small black and white thumbnails that are very loose, and have a lot of energy to them…once I’m happy with the thumbnail, I gather any reference I might need and jump into the final, trying to keep as much of the energy from the rough stages as I can. I’d have to say your pretty spot on with the graphite, definitely the medium that comes most naturally to me…I think a contributing factor to that would be my affinity for black and white images…for some reason I think a little more clearly in black and white. I’ve been trying to expand and work in some inks and acrylic for my black and white work…but I think graphite will always be my go-to guy.
how important is non art related activity to you?
Absolutely essential! I’m kind of a bad example for it myself, because I’m a bit of a workaholic (is it work if I love it?). But I try to find time to get away from it and do something fun and different, things that make me happy. For me cooking has been a big thing in the last little while, music, running, reading, dinners, exploring the nature around me, conversations, writing, road trips, standing outside and looking at the sky. In reality I should probably be spending more of my time doing those things, for the betterment of my being…but sadly I don’t think that’ll reflect too too well on the ol’ T22.
any advice for new illustrators just starting out?
Go out and have confidence in your ability and who you are, and try and experience as much as you can, good and bad. A friend once told me that you can’t make anything great unless you’ve experienced such a thing…so find out what it is you love, work hard and then love like a hurricane!
any advice for the old dogs?
I don’t think I’m qualified…a request though - keep filling me with wonder.
all images copyright Nimit Malavia - check out his website here: www.nimitmalavia.com
Thanks nimit, I love how good you are at drawing!