Visual artistry has the ability to spark the imagination. Greatness rests in our imagination, at times it can remain dormant because of the lack of stimulus or the push that we need to create. Those who have the gift of painting and using color to tell a story or even awaken our imaginations are important to the tapestry of our lives. We spoke with such an artist. Nicole Malcolm, also known as the Madd Painter, talks to us about being a creator and how she hopes her gift can help the community.
Tell us about yourself.
I am a creator, activist, mentor, visionary poet, leader, and fighter. It’s so difficult for artist to wear just one cap.
What is it about you that make you unique?
If I was on a plate, I would be food for the soul with a little extra kick to it. I am only a small human that recognizes my God given potential of greatness. I am me and there’s no one like me. From my fingerprints, to my hair follicles, to the encoding of my blood, I am me and very proud to be. So all of that, I put into a colorful body of artwork.
How did you get started?
I began my venture to the creative world not long after turning 1. My mother continuously tells of a story the day I painted the perfect smiley face with her nail polish on a small piece of cardboard. Oh how she wishes she had that piece of cardboard today. Years later, since the biology major wasn’t going so well at NIU, I decided to continue my education at Chicago State University. There is where I met a young lady who encouraged me to take my passion for art a bit more seriously. After that the flood gates just burst open and over flowed with art opportunities.
What is the most challenging aspect of what you do?
Sometimes the hardest thing is to persevere. There are many obstacles, no’s, and people who purposely attempt to drain the life, money, joy, you name it they want it, out of you.
You use a lot of vibrant colors in your artwork. Is this something that you do deliberately?
I use vibrant colors for the same reasons advertisers do. I want to be able to attract your eyes. No matter where it’s sitting, it’s going to catch you from your peripheral. It’s going to catch you and make you look at it.
How do you want to impact the community with your artwork?
I want my artwork to help the community pay attention more to their surroundings. I want us to recognize who we are as a people and as individuals. I want my art to help us recognize our talents and our greatness. The stuff that I make for the community is to inspire and provoke thought in our children. I want to motivate them and have them tap into whatever gift that they have.
Who is your biggest personal or professional influence?
My cousin has taught me not to be afraid to go for my goals. Through his love he has made me understand life and how to live it better. As far as professional influence, many underground/well-known hip-hop artists, along with other visual artists, have motivated me by allowing me to see behind the scenes the struggle of their success. When people only see the artist on the stage it’s almost as if it was an overnight success, but in reality that moment literally could have cost them blood, sweat and tears.
What’s the value of what you do?
Its’s priceless. I put my blood sweat and tears in my work. I use the energy of the moment in my work. Once its gone I’ve used it.
What is the last book you read?
The last book I read was Octavia Butler’s Kindred. I choose this book because I love Octavia Butler’s books and this was one at the time I had yet to read. I was interested to see how she would connect time-traveling with slavery. Butler has an amazing way of mixing the future, history, spirituality, and science. She has been a major influence for my creative inspiration. What can I say, the woman’s work is just absolutely amazing!
What encouraging words do you have for our readers?
With all the lights and beautiful colors of the world, it is so very easy to compare yourself to another. Why!?! You are special and there is something deep within you that we need and only you can share. Discover it, develop it, and then share it. Be great, for there is greatness in you!
Nicole Malcolm’s Instagram: MaddPainter1204
Take a look at some of her work in the gallery below.