Words with Malarky

Malarky. Photo by RJ Rushmore

Note from RJ: This is the first guest post from Ben, a young street art fan from Newcastle. Also, thanks to HookedBlog for documenting Malarky’s work so well. Most of the photos in this post are by him.

Malarky’s colourful characters have begun to adorn the walls and shutters of East London and Barcelona in recent years. His instantly recognisable style soon got him known and he has recently exhibited alongside fellow street artist ‘Billy’ at High Roller Society. As the dust settled from an extremely successful opening night, I caught up with Malarky to ask a few questions.

Ben: Tell us a little bit about yourself – when did you first start painting and why?

Malarky: My name is Malarky; I live sometimes in London and sometimes in Barcelona. Things I like to do include:
• Painting outside
• Painting inside
• Drinking Beers in the Sunshine
• Eating Sandwiches in the Park

I got into alternative art through skateboarding just all the mad deck graphics and stickers and real low brow illustration stuff. I started doing hand drawn stickers and just putting up as many as I could, that sort of pushed me into the graff scene. I have always lived in the centre of whatever city I was in so I never really got trains anywhere, I always enjoyed metro and trackside missions, but it sucks not seeing your piece again, so that sort of pushed me to start painting shutters because people at street level see them every day.

Certain characters seem to reoccur in your work such as your fox – what the story behind them?

I used to see foxes on my way home in the small hours and just loved how they run the streets in the night-time, when no one else is around, just chilling on the corners. Then when I started drawing them, I just loved the colours – the orange and white together and how instantly recognisable an animal it is from just that. Then when I started painting shutters it all fell into place, they both stay hidden in the day then just chill on road though the night.

Malarky and Billy. Photo by HookedBlog

Tell us about your new show with Billy entitled summer breeze?

Just a crazy medley of mad colours and characters crammed into this cool space, it’s been super fun to do I don’t know what to say, go and see it!

Malarky at High Roller Society. Photo by HookedBlog

Are your methods and techniques of painting on the street the same as when creating pieces for your show?

Well my colours are definitely influenced by the paint I use on the street; I mix up the paints or inks to match my cans. On the street I like keeping some of the background texture like brick or metal shutters, I use a similar vibe with my paintings on wood so my paintings are like little miniature Japanese versions of my street stuff.

If you could use one medium for the rest of your life what would it be?

MTN 94 all day every day

Recently your street work has involved collaborations with other artists such as Sweet Toof, and What Collective, do you prefer to collaborate with others or work alone?

It’s strange, I love to do both and obviously it’s more fun to paint with someone so I just take it as it comes. Collabs can work well because of all the ideas flying about, but then sometimes you have a big piece planned for a truck or whatever and it has to be a solo piece to work. I guess it’s more satisfying to paint a big piece on your own, but more fun to do a collab and I love the fun times!

Sweet Toof and Malarky. Photo by HookedBlog

On your website it says you live in a ‘magic place between South-London and Barcelona’. You seem to do a lot of painting in Barcelona, what is it that attracts you there?

Barcelona is just a magic dream land of shutters, trucks, sunshine and beers. I just can’t stay away from it, the energy, the people – everything is chilling. Sun and beers all day, paint and beers all night. You could paint a shutter every day and it would take 20 years to finish them all, I can’t speak highly enough of it.

Malarky. Photo by Malarky

Are there any of your street pieces that you are particularly proud of?

I love the rooftop on roman road with Billy, it’s so prominent on that street and the colours and pieces worked well together. Sometimes everything just comes together nicely, that’s was one of those times!

What is the strangest/most unusual thing that’s happened to you when you’ve been out painting?

There’s been crazy Policia that have bounced me off shutters, and all the classic ‘nearly fell 50ft to my death’ times. My favourite time was when I was painting at this abandoned civil war bunker in middle of nowhere up a mountain overlooking Barca. A band appeared out of inside the bunker and started playing songs and handing out beer, then more and more people started appearing and it turned into a crazy block party up a mountain, it was sweet!

Billy and Malarky. Photo by HookedBlog

Do you collect art and if so, what art do you have on your walls?

I don’t really collect but I have some prints/paintings up on the wall – some Mr Penfold prints, a Nylon painting, a Sweet Toof print, some sick Hedof prints and a Cloud Commission print.

Any plans for the future we should hear about?

A couple of top secret projects but aside from that, paint more streets colourful, hit some other countries and I think maybe make a small comic.

‘Summer Breeze’ is a must see and runs from the 11th June until the 3rd July at High Roller Society.

Photos by RJ Rushmore, HookedBlog and Malarky