Thursday, July 19, 2012

Interview with Art Off Paper Artist Chris Malfi

When did you know you wanted to be an artist, and what goals did you set for yourself while getting into it?
It's something I've wanted for as long as I can remember. I have a lot of goals I'd like to accomplish but the first one I set was to hold a successful art show and make whoever came leave with a reason to come to the next ARTOFFPAPER event. 

What type of art do you specialize in? What are your strengths, and what do you feel are some of your weaknesses? 
I wouldn't say I specialize in any type, I just run with my emotions and experiences in each piece; my art is an extension of me.  My weaknesses are stick figures and kryptonite.

What is Art Off Paper? Explain what you do and who the other members are.
ARTOFFPAPER is about recognizing that art does not have to be defined by a brush stroke or pencil line, we all have our own ARTOFFPAPER. Art is about personal expression, from canvas to the street, fashion, music, dance, literature, to the rhythm of your speech.

Society has a way of influencing people to believe that if something is exclusive it adds an undefined feeling of value to our lives. ARTOFFPAPER was formed to create a philosophy that can connect everyone. There are no outsiders; we all have our own ARTOFFPAPER because what makes us different is what makes us the same.

ARTOFFPAPER was started by Brendan Munday, Jared Long and myself; in our eyes everyone is a member. 

What makes your art so different as a crew, and what do you all bring to the table?
We are complimenting opposites with an indefinable chemistry. We all have our own unique styles and abilities that are strong enough to stand-alone but together we form like Voltron. Because of this we are able to accomplish any creative task at hand. We do illustration, graphic design, jewelry/accessories/fashion design, murals, interior design, commissioned artwork, as well creative consulting.

How important are expression and inspiration to you? Is it possible to make something from nothing?
Expression and inspiration is an essential part of any creative process, inspiration can come from anywhere, anyone, and anything.  Yes it's possible to make something from nothing, because it's just an interpretation of what nothing and something is, what one person views as nothing maybe something to the next.

What events/shows have you displayed or done work for?
I've been fortunate to be apart of a few but my top 5 so far;
Special Sauce- Huntington Long Island
Rare - Tribeca, NY
The End Recording Studios - Green Point Brooklyn 
Research Fundraiser at Nicotra Ballroom - Staten Island 
The Leaky Life Boat- Seaford NY 
Each show has its own special meanings to me as well as personal accomplishments. 

Have you been commissioned to do any really big projects, or is most stuff local and/or private?
The first check I ever received from designing jewelry was from Maurice Galli, a French designer who has designed for royalty as well as Tiffany & CO., when I met him he was the head designer at Harry Winston but most importantly, he was my teacher. Needless to say it was a big deal to me when he approached me willing to pay for my creativity.

I have also been commissioned by Dr. Sherrill Antonio who is the Associate Dean for Film, Television, and New Media in the Kanbar Institute of Film & Television and the Clive Davis Department of Recorded Music at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. I was asked to do the book cover for Dr. Antonio's book on Spike Lee, a truly rewarding experience which became even more of a dream come true when I heard Spike Lee has been to my website and loved the portrait I did of him.

Another great moment for me was when ARTOFFPAPER was asked to be part of the grand opening of The End Recording Studios. We got to paint a large scale mural on their building's rooftop in front of hundreds of people while watching the sun set over Manhattan. 

What project are you most proud of?
I'm proud of every project I am a part of but the one that sticks out the most to me is when we were asked to donate our art for a cancer research fundraiser. I knew I wasn't born with the mind for science or medicine, but I still wanted to be a part of the fight for a cure. 
I'll always be proud to know my graffiti inspired art raised money for the fight against cancer.

What are your plans for the future and are you currently making a living off of "Art Off Paper?"
I have many plans for the future but things don't always happen according to plan so I'm just going to continue my journey and try to enjoy my life the best way I can. Yes, I currently make a living off of my art. 

What is the most rewarding thing about being an artist?
The most rewarding thing about being an artist is doing what I love to do every day.

What would you tell someone who wants to get into a specific type of art, but may feel they aren't creative enough?
I would tell them Creativity and confidence kind of go hand in hand, if you don't believe your an artist no one will. 

Anything else to add?
Shout out to Rawthentix, Rare Salon, Richmond Hood, DeadLine, The End Recording Studios, Stefan Barone, Tre Giovani, Untouchable Cutz, FSP, Eargasms, The Voices of the Summer, and The leaky life boat. Thank you to everyone who has supported my art and ARTOFFPAPER. 

A.O.P will be painting live July 21st at Van Duzer days in Staten Island.

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