Eyes have always attracted my attention, as I always believed that they were something more than just organs we need to see, that they are actual doors to someone’s inner soul. While doing my usual research on the web, I was immediately drawn to Maldha’s extraordinary drawings depicting amongst other things just that; eyes. But then again, this sentence cannot really describe the magnitude of talent Maldha possesses, because when someone looks at her paintings, one is immediately immersed into a different space, a place where someone’s thoughts try to decide about the character of the person’s eyes who Maldha painted. Is this person sad, happy, determined, loyal to his/her cause, eager to face the challenges ahead? Is this person himself/herself?
I must say, I am extremely glad and thankful that such a great artist like Maldha honored our magazine with her accepting our invitation and being kind enough to have this interview with us as well.
Hello Maldha. I am really honored to be featuring you in our magazine, since you are a very talented and established artist! Reading your biography and looking at your pictures, it is clear to me that you are a person who amongst other things is influenced by dreams, emotions, surrealism and who succeeds in taming all of them at once and transferring them in a painting. How do you manage to achieve such a difficult task and deliver these remarkable paintings?!
To be very honest, I do not have an organized process when it comes to creating. I usually begin by envisioning what I want to create and how I want it to look. I then make loose strokes and shape it into a silhouette almost, before I begin layering and detailing. Usually when my paintings are done, they look almost unidentifiable compared to how it looked when I first began. I paint as it comes to me, whether in gradual fragments or all at once. It is then that I start to fully sculpt and finish my pieces. Conducting my process this way actually makes my pieces feel more authentic than having an organized process. If my process is organized, it ends up feeling almost repetitive and kind of puts me off from creating.
Eyes are said to be windows of the soul. Your paintings of various eyes however give me the impression that you are not just presenting these windows of the souls, but you are rather inviting the viewer to dive deeper in those eyes and search to find his / her own truth. To dive deeper in those eyes and identify his / her own feelings, to search his / her own identity even though these eyes you are painting are not his / hers. What do you think about this statement? What are you really trying to achieve with your paintings in general?
I would like my work to evoke a sense of mystery and curiosity. I do not want to create art that looks aesthetically pleasing. I create my concepts so that every single person who observes my work is able to interpret it in whatever way they want. For example, I may paint an eye that shows general signs of “happiness”. Perhaps through the way the eyebrows are positioned, or the way the corners of the eye is crinkled. Yet there are always people who surprise you. They might comment on that particular image saying, “I think this person is enduring internal suffering and everything is not what it appears to be”. That is what I want to evoke and achieve with my paintings. The curiosity to interpret the pieces as they see fit.
The eyes you are painting are always different in size, shape, color, direction of sight, emotions. Despite these differences, there are some similarities between them, such as the fact that all of them are drawn in great detail and the face surrounding them is drawn as a heavily textured surface. Personally, I think this is not only done so as to give depth to the painting, but it also has another meaning, a metaphorical one. That eyes are a safe haven, a safe harbor for the dreams to start their journey, a calm sea for a diver to dive into and start exploring the hidden truth. The face with its rough structure shows the struggle to keep the eyes safe from harm, shows the experience, the time that left its mark. Would you care to comment on these thoughts? What is the purpose of this difference in drawing technique between the eyes and theface?
These thoughts are very interesting haha. One of the metaphorical reasons why I texture the surfaces so heavily is due to the fragmentary nature of the eyes. The heavy textures could depict the person as a whole, although the main subject you’re looking at is the eyes. I'd like to think that the textures are the person's experiences and memories in life, etched and embedded to complete the fragment that is the eye and make them whole. Much of the purpose behind the technique though is to present my subjects in a visceral manner, almost as if they are in a constant battle against time, always fleeting as if they are experiencing life from beginning to end in the blink of an eye.
If you had to make a painting of an eye / face that you would like to give the viewer the feeling of Hope, what kind of painting would you draw? Which eye color, direction of sight, eyebrow shape would you choose?
This is a hard question to answer. I would like to imagine a person by the sea during dawn, just as the sun is coming up on the horizon. They would have cold, blue eyes looking at the rising sun. They would be feeling calm, so their features are relaxed and content. The eyebrows would be slightly arched as the rays of light creep up against the person’s face causing fragments of light to lazily meet the iris, with shadows of the lashes broodily caressing the skin. To me, this is how I envision to paint this particular expression.
So, tell us, what can we expect to see more from you in the future? Any future plans or exhibitions on the way?
I am very excited for the following year as I am in discussion with a lot of people about a lot of exciting collaborations. I cannot elaborate too much about this yet as everything is still being discussed. However, I can safely say that I will be continuing my collaborations with return on art to sell my art on their platform. As per the exhibits, I am looking into a couple of them right now and I am exploring the idea of perhaps hosting a solo exhibition once I move abroad from home next year. I am also exploring the idea of making my art more accessible to more people and I am focusing on that a lot right now as well. I am very excited for 2021 and to bring everyone who enjoys my art with me on the journey.
Maldha, I really enjoyed our conversation and I really appreciate your time you spent with us. Is there something else you would like to add?
I just want to be as honest and authentic as I can be with my work, because in a sense it is my salvation. As a young teenager, I spent so much of my time researching art, following other artists on social media and trying to get my hands on books about art. During those times, there would be these artworks that I would stumble upon - seeing them would make me feel at peace and it would evoke this feeling of appreciation and calm. I only hope that I can create work that makes someone else feel that way. In the future, I would hope to grow as an artist and become one of the biggest names that ever came from South East Asia and from my ethnicity. I would also like to thank each and every single person who has continued to support me and my art, and would like to let them all know that from the bottom of my heart, I am so thankful and appreciative for the unconditional support.
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