We interview street artist Malark, whose paintings have been appearing on the shop shutters of Brixton this month
How long have you been doing street art for and what got you into it?
I’ve been painting for years both on and off the street, but it’s just really within the last couple of years I have been doing shutters. I started doing some in Newcastle then Barcelona and now these in London.
You’ve been living in Barcelona for a while – what made you want to come to Brixton and do these pieces?
I was back in the UK for a exhibition in London bridge, where I met Billy – who I paint with in Brixton – and we painted a shutter just near there. After that we wanted to get some more done, we wanted to steer clear of East London where most of the graffiti and street art seems to be, and just start somewhere fresh that didn’t really have a scene at all. I’ve always loved Brixton because it’s got such a strong culture; it’s almost like it’s a completly different place to the rest of London. I was surprised it didn’t really have a scene for street art actually.
Why do you think Brixton is a particularly good place to do something like this?
Brixton is real nice for this. Everyone is real friendly, a lot of the shutters are big and smooth and you can buy export Guinness in every off licence.
How long does each shutter take to paint?
Depending on the shutter, it takes 2-4 hours. We usually chill at the same time, have a beer and that – we try to make a day out of it.
You’ve got quite a distinctive style – can you explain what it’s all about?
The style I’m not really sure. I love the bright colours. I just try to paint how I like to see things. I imagine if i was a passer-by what would I like to look at, or what would make me smile and it sort of informs itself.
Have you got permission from the shopkeepers to paint the shutters? What has the response been like generally from shopkeepers and passers-by?
Its easier to get permission so we can take our time and not worry about any sillyness. The response from passers-by has been awesome, always positive, most of the time they cannot belive we are not being paid or anything and we try to explain we like to do it so thats why we do it. Shop keepers are getting more into it now they have seen a few about, but big thanks to the first guys that let us paint!
Is it just you or are you working together with other people?
Mainly I paint with Billy but also some other guys. It depends on who I have spoken to that week. I always love to paint with new people.