Last week I had the chance to interview a good friend Malaika Astroga, an up and coming sketch artist based out of Montreal who gets to where she wants to go by working hard (seriously her motivation is addicting). From front-lining magazines to creating a t-shirt brand, I'd keep an eye out for Malaika as she continues to take over the world.
To find out more on Malaika check out her website, or keep on reading for my interview with her where we talk inspiration, fashion, and plans for the future.
1) First off your sketches are amazing, I'm sure you get asked this all the time but what is it that inspires you the most?
For the most part, I’m inspired by other people. I spend a good chunk of my working hours people watching, and I like to try to challenge myself to try and draw the interesting-looking people who walk by, or who wander into the restaurant. Otherwise, I’m always inspired by plants and flowers, particularly those of California.
2) How did you get such amazing drive? It's incredible how much motivation you have for your art at such a young age.
Well, I’ve apparently been drawing since I could hold a pencil, according to my parents anyway. Since then, drawing constantly has become a way to relieve anxiety, and at one point I decided that I should be doing something productive with it, instead of just letting my sketchbooks pile up. However, it was several years ago that I really started to try and kick my productivity into high gear, and that was because I vowed to be better and more successful than my ex-boyfriends.
3) Is there any particular reason why you wanted to break into the fashion industry with your sketches?
I never really considered my t-shirts to be a part of the fashion world, however seeing people in different cities wearing my shirts and designs on the street has been incredibly rewarding. If I can create something that others are willing to wear in public, then that’s more than enough reason for me to keep going.
4) Do you have any fashion icons that you look up to?
I don’t have one style icon in particular, however I have been very inspired by Montreal’s art scene. The mix of indie online designer, 80s and early 2000s chic is something that I find very hard to pull oﬀ myself. That being said, I admire seeing it on other people as it inspires a lot of my street-sketch illustrations.
5) How has your work evolved over the past few years?
Over the past few years I would like to say that my illustrative style has definitely solidified. It evolved from very flowery and busy compositions, to a more comic-style and now is emerging as a more minimalist illustrative style.
6) Do you have a favourite illustration?
In terms of my own illustrations, not really. After even a few weeks I look back on my work and can’t help but think how I could do better. However, I have been very into Jess Chen’s new minimalist tattooing style, her large floral back and tiny neck pieces in particular.
7) If people want to purchase your your art, more specifically your art on clothing, where can they buy it? Do you have an Instagram account that they can view and contact as well?
8) What are your plans for the future?
At the moment, I’m finishing a Communications degree at Concordia University and interning for a magazine. Once that’s done, I’m very interested in pursuing a tattooing career, and later on a post-secondary degree of some kind.
9) Lastly, what advice would you give to young artists, or young entrepreneurs looking to start their own business?
My advice for young artists (although I am still very much a very young artist) is to take every opportunity that comes at you and to never stop applying for events, magazines etc. You never know what could come of tabling at an art fair, or submitting your work to a magazine even if you don’t think it's good enough. I promise it's worth it.