We are very excited to present the talented Scott Malin to kick off our new Seriscope series. Scott Malin (b. 1974) is a self-taught artist living in Vancouver, BC. His drawings explore ideas of narrative and blur the line between real life experience and imagination. Most of his art utilizes straight-to-ink drawings, both celebrating and damning choice. It's been a pleasure working with Scott on a limited edition serigraph. Without further adoo. ( Interview June 5th 2008 )
You‚Äôre originally from Vancouver, BC but lived in Northampton, MA for a while. What brought you there? My partner, Aretha, went to do her MFA in choreography/dance at Smith College. It was a perfect opportunity for both of us because we were looking for a change from Vancouver. I would visit her for 3-6 months and then return to Canada for 3-6 months.
What are the differences in the art communities in Northampton and Vancouver? Did you find your art was influenced when you moved? I don‚Äôt feel like I know much about the art community here or there. I do know, however, that Northampton has more diverse venues for all types of art, be it drawing, dance, music, etc. Another nice thing about Northampton is it‚Äôs only a 2.5 hour drive to NY and 1.5 to Rhode Island.
It was my first time living outside of Vancouver, so it was fantastic. Different weather. Different people. Different trees. It was really inspiring and I rapidly filled sketchbooks, about 6 a year. The experience shaped my art in that I had a kind of sabbatical to just draw. I definitely felt a renewed sense of being while I was there.
There‚Äôs a lot of collaborative drawing happening in Vancouver, have you done any collaborative art with anyone?
I‚Äôve done some animation for bands (The Beans, Great Aunt Ida) and for a dance show with Aretha a while ago. Mostly I collaborate for/with people I know. I ought to branch out, but am not very good at the social side of things.
You‚Äôve done the comic ‚ÄúKick Around‚Äù for Discorder Magazine and inked ‚ÄúWay Off Main‚Äù which was printed in The Georgia Straight. I assume comics have been an influence in your art. I see a narrative layering in your artwork, do your drawings have a narrative story? I think of my current drawings as narratives. Messing with time, memory, and vision. I still love comics and have been trying to get back to completing a longer narrative I started in Northampton, but the momentum hasn‚Äôt come yet.
Is there anywhere online or a published format people can check out your comics? I did have some samples up on my website and maybe should do that again as my self-published comics are older and sold out. The inked work I did for Way Off Main is very different than my own comics, but those are available through my pal Josue (www.freshbrewedillustration.com) who wrote and penciled the strip.
Your recent show with musician Chris Harris was based on the music of John Fahey. How did Fahey‚Äôs music shape the art you produced for the show? That show was meant as one story of Fahey based on limited research of Fahey‚Äôs life. Several drawings were based on interviews or his writing. And others were based on song titles or repetitive listening to songs (I listened to one song 93 times straight to finish the drawing). My favourite part was drawing or painting the mural while my buddy would practice the songs. The art made more sense hearing the songs being played.
The Fahey shows drawings were straight-to-ink. This unforgiving method seems to work well for your narrative layering works. Is this how you usually draw? I rarely use pencil. I got so used to using an ink brush in my sketchbook that I became really comfortable with just jumping in and not premeditating anything. I still tend to work that way (the two prints are from straight-to-ink drawings as well). The energy of the first drawings has always been the strongest for me.
I‚Äôve gone straight to ink for my own comics as well, but find it‚Äôs better to pencil because I want the structure more formal and refined. So that‚Äôs really the only time I use pencil. And I have recently started doing linocuts and am penciling a rough sketch before carving away.
Your sketches have characters awkwardly interacting with nature/animals. Can you tell us more about any underlying themes in your work? It‚Äôs funny because I think so many artists my age use that exact theme. Perhaps it‚Äôs part of living in a city and romanticizing/lamenting the woods and lack of interaction with nature. For me it‚Äôs also remembering the forest when I was young. Always loving nature shows, cats and dogs. Loving children‚Äôs literature that involves animals. And loving the physical structure and beauty of animal forms‚Äîthey are so satisfying to draw.
Who/What do you feel has most influenced your artwork? My girlfriend is a huge inspiration and critical eye. My friends. Dreams. Music. A phrase from a book. Looking at and learning from others‚Äô drawings/comics.
If you could only see the artwork of one artist for the rest of your life, who would it be? I‚Äôve thought about this because most of my art/comics have been boxed away for a couple of years and are still boxed up. The one artist whose work I brought with me to Northampton was Taiyo Matsumoto. He‚Äôs a cartoonist and is totally inspiring. There was a buzz about him the past year or so because an animated version of his comic ‚ÄúBlack and White‚Äù. The film was ok, but not as invigorating as the comic itself. When I read it for the first time I felt like I shrunk to a child again and felt the thrill of being able to move.
Image Above from Tekkon Kinkreet -Taiyo Matsumoto Which do you think make good art good? Originality, concept or style? And, why? Damn. Maybe sincerity behind the work. Or the humanness. The line quality of the drawing. I appreciate the human hand in drawing and prefer that over other art forms, so I like to see the line represent spirit.
Other than art you play music in a couple bands (Great Aunt Ida and The Secret Three). Does your music and art have any relationship? Music is my social time. I love playing bass, but it‚Äôs the only instrument I can play. It has given me amazing opportunities (touring across Canada with Great Aunt Ida last year was incredible), but I connect with it in a different way than with drawing, which is my solitude time. I don‚Äôt practice bass, except with whatever band I‚Äôm playing with. I do, however, ‚Äúpractice‚Äù drawing and feel awkward and stressed if I go too long without doing it.
What else are you interested in other than art? I enjoy cooking vegetarian meals. Drinking beer with friends. Walking. I also go through periods of reading a fair bit of young adult literature. ‚ÄúThe Chronicles of Darkness‚Äù by Michelle Paver is a standout so far. I‚Äôm interested in learning more about animism, types of whisky, and gardening.
What do you say if someone asks you if you‚Äôre an artist? I‚Äôve recently become comfortable in saying, ‚ÄúYes.‚Äù
What is your most beloved object? Pentel brush pen.
What do you do to pay the bills? Does it affect your art? What's your dream job? I‚Äôm a substitute elementary school teacher and have been for about four years now. The kids definitely inspire me to tap into my imagination and remain curious. It‚Äôs a fantastic job that allows me time to travel, draw, and return to Vancouver to do a job that I‚Äôm proud to do. I think ideally I‚Äôd teach part-time and draw full-time.
What‚Äôs one thing you have learned as an artist that you could share with other artists? Trust.
SERISCOPE has produced two limited edition serigraphs of Scott Malins work. These two prints are available for purchase as a set for $25. We strive to provide high quality handmade artwork at a price that allows most people to collect these up and coming artists work.
The first print is based on a John Fahey song and is entitled "Prince Georges County Line". This signed and numbered one colour serigraph is 9"x12" & printed on 120lb archival/acid free paper.
The second print is a test print which was used to experiment with the transparent layering of Scott's artwork. It is a 4 colour print utilizing different shades of grey and transparent base. This print is 8.5"x11" and printed on archival/acidfree paper.
For limited time purchase both prints by Scott Malin for only $25
50% of the sales of the prints will go directly to the artist. The other 50% will be used to produce more Seriscope artist showcases. We appreciate your support.