Malisa is an Oakland-based artist born and raised in Singapore. She found her passion for art in her teenage years and has been honing her skills ever since. Finding joy in reflecting her world, the human experience, and viewing it as a way to navigate the complexities of life. Personal experiences, meditation on relationships and the celebration of the beauty of nature are all recurring themes in her work.
Malisa has a strong attraction to natural and organic subjects, using art as a platform to create dialogues between life and death, man and nature, peace and conflict. Her painting style creates a dream-like world rooted in reality. Inviting her audience to bask in rich colors and wader lush environments, while giving space to contemplate what it is to be human.
What’s your preferred medium to paint, and why?
I enjoy using Acryla gouache, Ink, and acrylics. What I enjoy most about these mediums is the saturation of the pigment and ease of layering them on top of each other. The fact that they are also nonreactive with water when it dries is also a huge plus.
What do you do to get out of an artist block?
I try to find space for myself; understanding that some days are just really good sketching days. Being sensitive to my mental and emotional needs helps me accept that the artist block is very much part of the art-making experience and to not be disappointed with myself. So If I’m feeling stuck, I won’t force myself to produce. Instead, I'll go for walks, sketch with friends, go skate. Anything that would allow my mind to wander and no hyper-focus on the feeling of being stuck.
At what age/what turning point led you to be an artist?
When I was 14, I stumbled on a book my mom had bought my older brother that was a collection of different manga artists, highlighting their style and breakdown of their technique. At that point, all I knew was that I loved the look of the finished outcomes and wanted to try to recreate it. So I copied my first ever “anime” drawing. As horrific as that first drawing was, I was hooked on art from that moment on, and the first intention of becoming an artist sprouted.
What do you listen to when you are painting/creating artwork? Why?
I listen to what feels meditative, so lots of lo-fi, soft jazz, Studio Ghibli piano collection. This music helps me stay grounded and calm. It also reminds me of being at a cafe and just drawing the afternoon away. Since the lockdown, I haven’t been able to work in a public space and I really do miss that. The music I choose helps me feel a slight connection to that experience
Do you feel it’s necessary to finish your painting prior to beginning another? Why?
Not at all, I like having a few projects going at the same time as it allows me to bounce around depending on what I’m feeling like working on. I feel that the pressure of having to complete a painting before moving on would be unnecessary additional stress for me.
When you receive unsolicited critiques or comments, how do you feel/how do you react?
I tend to stay pretty open to feedback since it often comes from a good place. I think my mom trained me pretty well in this area, to have a thick skin and to always look for ways to improve. But if the comment is rude, then I wouldn’t pay much attention to it.
Malisa's Favorite Trekell Products:
The amazing shapes of the surfaces. I’m am also very curious about the brushes and just ordered a watercolor set! I can’t wait to test it out!
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