Audrey Malo

Audrey Malo

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Can you recall the first time you realized you were going to be an artist?  What were your earliest impressions?
As far as I can remember, I always wanted to be an artist though I had varying degrees of confidence in myself. The turning point was when I finished studying archives for a year. At that moment, I felt as though I needed a backup plan: a stable office job.
I quickly came to realize that I wasn’t interested in starting over in a whole new career. It was at that time that I went back to pursue illustration; this time with a greater commitment and more determination.

Who or what influenced your art when you were young?
Children’s books, comics, Saturday morning cartoons, toys, and popular culture were all influences. I read a lot of Archie and Goosebumps. I was into the American culture of fast food, anything that was neon-colored, sports like rollerblading and martial arts. Mystery and adventure were themes I commonly liked to explore.

Do you remember what your first artwork looked like?  Do you still have it?
It was an illustration of “Serendipity, the Pink Dragon,” an animation from the 80s. I was maybe 3-years-old. I’m sure it’s around somewhere!

Why did you choose illustration as your life’s work instead of, for example, filmmaking, law, or even medicine?
I am very lucky that I grew up in a household where my artistic nature was encouraged, even celebrated. My parents and relatives have stable jobs in more traditional fields, but they never questioned my choice. From my smallest achievements to larger ones, I always felt supported in doing what I love.

I am a visual person. Creating images is my language of choice. I love every aspect of it: sketching, scribbling, creating digital or traditional collage; from very elaborate paintings to the most primitive ones; street art, and even some forms of graffiti. 

Did you study art in school?
Yes, I was a studio arts major at Concordia University, Montréal. 
 
Where does your inspiration come from; your impulse to make art?  Do you have a source for your ideas?
I often feel like I need to be pushed by some external force to make something happen. When I create personal work it usually stems from a mood; particularly when I feel confident and at peace with myself. My best work reflects my sense of humor, my aesthetic, and the themes that I love: those that come back time and time again in my daydreams.

How would you describe the process of creating art?
It’s intuitive; like a flash. I don’t have a very long attention span, so when I get excited about an idea, I draw it right away. The rest, I improvise.
 
Do you have a favorite artist?  What is it about that artist’s work you like?
Lately, I’ve grown interested in the work of Henri Matisse; his reflections on color, the evolution of his work through the years. It really informs my practice.
 
If you could do something else, other than creating art, what would it be?
I would love to organize old illustrations and books; possibly work in a natural history museum. 
 
Do you remember your first set of paints, pens, or markers?
No, but they were probably purchased from an Avon catalogue.
 
Do you have a favorite artist supply, a favorite method, or favorite location, where you like to create artwork?
A promising sketch is one that I draw on a whim when I’m not sitting at my desk. It’s probably because I’m doing something else and my ideas are flowing. I usually draw in my sketchbook with HB pencils, crayola markers, or crayons.
 
If you could give a viewer clues to understanding your art, what would you say?
It’s hard to say. I have a cheerful personality and like to experiment with bright colors. I also have some darker moods that are an inherent part of my nature. The darker side shows in my art, at times. Still, I don’t want to add gravity to these feelings. I find that’s when humor comes in. You might find a bit of strangeness in my work but never so much it makes for an uncomfortable experience. 
 
Do you think illustration has the eye of the public or could public awareness of this field be improved upon?
In Montréal, we are finally starting to catch the wave. Illustration is more accessible now and better understood. I’d say, the work we do is much-needed.