Astha Malik is an independent local artist who paints vibrant women portraits and captures their beauty, strength and diversity.
Seattle Refined: How long have you been creating? What mediums do you work with?
Astha Malik: I have practiced my passion for colors and painting from a young age. Growing up, I'd paint on just about any surface - doors, switchboards, dough, planters or t-shirts. My creative side took a back seat starting high school as my focus shifted to academics. I returned to painting 15 years later once I moved to Seattle.
I use acrylic on stretched canvas primarily. I still like to paint on different surfaces every now and then, like vinyl records, wood panels, craft sticks, etc.
Can you tell us about your artistic process and how the different stages work into it?
My creative process begins with days of brainstorming before I actually get to the canvas. The brainstorming involves finding inspiration, drafting high-level visual elements and the message I want to convey from my work. Then I start to sketch on canvas. Once I have the drawing ready, that's when I move to thinking about a vibrant color theme for the portrait. My process involves continuous improvisation as I paint. Finally, I finish my artwork with a backdrop complementing the portrait. My compositions slowly come to life, and in the end, a new creation establishes itself with its own story to tell.
Tell us about where your inspiration for your art comes from.
I draw inspiration from everyday women I meet, read about and the ones I've had around me. My paintings are influenced by Indian and African culture, New York streets, color blocking, graffiti and just about any spontaneous observation.
Do you have a specific "beat" you like best – nature, food, profiles, etc.?
Color is my beat. Bold and vibrant colors define my art and me.
Do you have one piece of art that means more to you or is extremely special to you?
Actually, it's a collection of 3 pieces. I call them 'Be the You of your soul.' It depicts a modern-day Indian bride breaking all the stereotypes. I believe you should be exactly who you want to be, be the woman who stands for herself and be the woman who is proud of herself. Don't let anyone's judgment define you. Be You!
What experiences in your life have affected your art the most?
I credit my mom for encouraging me to explore my creative side as a kid. Growing up in the land of colors - India has influenced my use of bright colors. No matter what language you speak or the culture you belong to, color stimulates emotions - and bright colors make you happy.
Some of my work is homage to Frida Kahlo. Visiting the Blue House in Mexico City was very inspiring.
What is next for you? Anything you're working on right now that you're really excited about?
A couple local art walks are coming up. I'm super stoked to be part of it. It is extremely fulfilling to have people come up to you and appreciate your art.
Lastly, how do you take your coffee? (We ask everyone!)
With milk, sugar and lots of froth. And occasionally, a cookie or two.
About 'Artist of the Week': Seattle might be notorious for niche coffee shops and scenic waterways, but locals know it's also home to an array of people who love to create. This city is chock-full of artists who we love to feature weekly on Seattle Refined! If you have a local artist in mind that you would like to see featured, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you're wondering just what constitutes art, that's the beauty of it; it's up to you! See all of our past Artists of the Week in our dedicated section.