Today we’d like to introduce you to Malcolm Pinson.
Malcolm, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Art has always surrounded me. My dad is an airbrush artist who creates Black art, which inspires me to make art for people who not only look like me but don’t see themselves in art often. As a child, my dad’s art as well as African sculptures were mounted on my parent’s walls and my dad would occasionally draw art on my lunch bags for school. Being immersed in an artistic space has guided me to where I am today.
Though art was all around me, it did not have an influence on me until later in life. Yes, I doodled and drew often but not with the passion I have today. From a young age, I was into sports, especially football, and didn’t see art as more than an elective that I took as a requirement for high school graduation. In fact, I found art in college. In college, like most people, I met many new people who opened my eyes to possibilities and people who reintroduced me to art. These people were talented in many areas whether it be dance, music, and painting; it seemed like everyone had their thing.
I noticed that I continued my doodles of cartoons during my boring classes and learning different fonts each day. As the semester went on, I noticed my progress and looked more into tutorials on Youtube for different drawing techniques and painting materials. Winter break of 2017 was when I did my first canvases and I was surprised with how they turned out. The feedback I got from others was positive and their words, especially my dad’s words, motivated to keep me going.
Because of this motivation, over the years, I would experiment with canvases using different colored backgrounds and using larger canvases. I learned to airbrush my background from my dad, use different cartoons and branching out to drawing animals and scenery. Once I graduated, I invested into an iPad which helped me elevate into digital art, which later led to the creation of my stickers. With the help of some friends at District Productions, we were able to start doing some art shows throughout San Francisco, where I was able to sell work and showcase my art for the world to see.
All of the shows came to a halt once Covid-19 hit but it’s giving me the opportunity to stack up on some more canvases and create some new art. The art that I am making today helps me cope with the events happening this year and spread messages of positivity and empowerment.
Has it been a smooth road?
The road has not been smooth for sure, I faced some challenges getting where I am today.
One of the first challenges I’ve faced was developing my own art style. For me, this was the most important for me because I wanted people to look at canvas and know exactly who made it. Most great artists and cartoons have a recognizable style which is what I wanted to accomplish with my art. There was a lot of trial and error for me while I was trying to develop a style. I had to spend countless hours drawing over the years and experimenting with different art supplies to see which ones worked the best for my pieces. I’ve spent a lot of money on paint and pens canvases and other supplies while creating my style, and those art supplies are not cheap.
Another challenge for me is promoting and a marketing my work. I find it difficult for me to promote my work because I have always feel like I am bragging and showing off. I think that hurts me sometimes because I will end up sitting on canvases for too long and never end up selling them, and they end up collecting dust or staying on my wall for my own admiration. Especially when I do a canvas thats relative to a time, it gives me a small window to promote and market it before it is too late. For example, I’ve done a couple of canvases during the pandemic that have been relevant to the protests and quarantine and I had to post them as soon as they were finished. However, when I tried to do a Michael Jordan canvas during the time of the Last Dance documentary, I wasn’t able to get a design that I liked by the time it was over, so then it would’ve been considered old news so I had to scrap the idea. Another example was when I made some sticker designs hella long ago, back before the quarantine and I haven’t posted them because it was never the right time. That is even more important when it comes to timely canvases. But I am overcoming that mindset, I am trying to become less connected to pieces, so I can expand and make more sales and grow my brand. I am finding that in order to be successful with my art, I have to be ready to get out of my comfort zone, promote myself, and show pride in my work.
And finally, the last obstacle I am going to speak about is expanding the brand into more than just art. I have plans of putting my art onto clothes and expanding to animations as well. The only problem is that I do not how to do any of that, I know as I venture into new realms I have to face and overcome the new challenges that come with it. I know that it will take time to research and execute the next steps on growing the brand. But I’m trying to look at it positively and remind myself that I won’t be able to grow unless I leave my comfort zone.
Please tell us more about your art.
All of my canvases are one of one and are completely unique. I first start by airbrushing or spray painting the background, I usually try to use bright colors and gradations. Most of the time I paint the canvas before I even know what I am drawing. Once I am able to determine the overall mood of the canvas, I then decide what to draw. The materials I like to use are Posca and Molotow markers; I am a big fan of the markers and find these work the best.
Other than traditional canvases, I also do my art digitally on my iPad. That is where I create designs for my stickers and create the outlines for ideas that eventually become canvases. Digital art is fun for me because I have every color in the world to use, I can zoom in and add all the details that I need, and I can copy and paste certain shapes and letters that might be hard to redraw. Eventually, I’m going to turn some of my digital pieces into prints but right now I post all of my digital to my Instagram; @ogmalcarts.
Finally, the most recent medium I experimented was painting a large scale mural piece. I recently got the opportunity to participate in a community art space at a store on Haight Street in SF. It was my first time doing a large scale painting and I recreated one of my favorite canvases, “Free Your Mind.” During this painting, I used paint brushes, spray paint, and markers. It was a fun challenge and a humbling experience. I hope I have the opportunity to do more large scale paintings in the near future.
When it comes to my style, I get a lot of my inspiration from cartoons and graffiti, two things that have always peaked my interest. I was drawn to cartooning because it gave me the freedom to be as wild as I want with my ideas. But it wasn’t until I saw “Style Wars,” a documentary about the graffiti scene in NY during the 80’s, that I realized I could put the two together. The doc focused on teenagers painting huge pieces on subway trains, all with unique styles and clean lettering. Sometimes they would even address the issues happening within the community through their art. I’m still not even anywhere near as good with my lettering as I want to be, but that doc inspired me to leave my comfort zone and showed me how my art could be used to convey messages.
Is our city a good place to do what you do?
Personally, I think my location is okay for a business like mine. In my home town of Petaluma there are people that are interested in buying the art, but the opportunities for art shows in Petaluma are very limited, especially for Black artists. There is one maybe two art galleries in Petaluma but most of the art displayed there is photography, abstract art or paintings of scenery farmlands.
In my opinion, there needs to be more diversity of art within the art galleries out here, with more art from younger artists. If I were to improve Petaluma, I would add some type of gallery or art wall where local artists can put together pieces and murals and display their art for the community, I would include more styles and art from younger people within our community because there are talented photographers and artists that are younger but it’s harder for them to get into these galleries because they don’t fit the criteria for the gallery.
However, in surrounding cities such as San Francisco and Oakland there are more opportunities for artists to paint murals and have art shows that will have big turnouts. Most of my success with art shows have been in those cities. I think these cities have more opportunity for success because there is more culture and diversity. Both cities have murals throughout them and multiple art galleries and shows to participate in.
- Stickers 1 for $3 or 2 for 5$
- Canvas 8 x 10 starting at $50
- Canvas 9×12 starting at $65
- Canvas 12 x 16 starting at $105
- Canvas 12x 24 starting at $130
- Canvas 16x 20 starting at $150
- Canvas 18 x 24 starting at $200
- Website: ogmalcarts.bigcartel.com
- Email: OGMalcArts@gmail.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ogmalcarts/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/OG_Malc
All photos are taken by me or my mom Felisa Pinson