Malinda Prud’homme Interview
by Matthew J
Who is Malinda Prud’homme?
Hi Everyone! My name is Malinda and I’m a Mixed Media and Portrait Artist working from my cozy little studio in Toronto’s Art & Design District. While I love to work in a variety of mediums I favour acrylic and oil paints on canvas. My greatest passion is depicting true to life female portraiture in order to express that all women; regardless of age, size, ethnicity, or personal style; are beautiful in their own unique way. With my artwork and my online presence I hope to inspire women to shed their harsh self-criticisms based on unrealistic societal pressures and see the truly beautiful people they are! When I am not working on my original work I love to create custom artwork ideas for my clients. I depict anything from baby portraits and pet portraits, to landscapes and abstracts. While my life revolves around my art, I do like to relax with a good book or television show cuddled in my home which I call, “my happy little hobbit hole.”
Where did the idea for your solo show come from?
I have always been passionate about female issues, even as a child I was a strong feminist. But somewhere along the way I began to fall into the pressures of what the media and our society said was expected of me. I became very hard on myself, particularly on my outward appearance. It wasn’t until my mid-20s when I started to focus on my art and avoid media messages that I began to learn to be kind to myself; to accept and love myself as I am. I in no way think I’m perfect! Is anyone really perfect? What IS perfect? When we love and understand ourselves we learn to love and understand others and that is a truly beautiful thing. So for my first Solo Exhibition it was an obvious choice to make a stand against the medias portrayal of beauty specifically. I wanted to show that ALL women are beautiful. You don’t have to be thin. You don’t have to be young. You don’t have to be perfectly smooth. You don’t have to have light OR dark skin. You just have to be uniquely you, and you are beautiful. With this message in mind I put out a call for beauty! Any woman who wanted to take part from anywhere in the world could submit. I was so overwhelmed with the number of responses I felt it was only right to pick at random. In the end, 16 gorgeous Canadian women from different walks of life were chosen. Each so unique, I could not wait to get started! The process was shared live throughout my social media sites to help my muses and my fans feel like they were all part of the journey and I am pleased to say many of them attended my opening. It was truly a dream come true.
Leading up to the show, there appears to have been a great deal of support from the artistic community. How was the show received?
I really did everything I could within my time restraints to share my event and I could not be happier with the support I received in return. Many articles including FS Local and Newz4u were published and that really helped get the word out. I am so proud to say the opening night was a big success! Well over a hundred guests viewed my beautiful works and enjoyed the spread. It was incredible! It was especially lovely to see many of the women depicted in my “True Beauty” series at the opening. Being able to discuss their piece with them and hear what the night meant to them was something I will never forget. As far as the media goes, I am very grateful to have received some wonderful reviews. SNAP, Art Katalyst, and Trillium Gallery magazine are a few who included full features in their issues. I could not be more thrilled!
How would you describe your feelings about the show?
I am beyond thrilled with my show and the support that was given to me that day. I have to admit it was overwhelming. I never expected that many people would attend my opening night, some driving hours from out of town to be there, to see my work and experience that special moment with me. It was incredibly heartwarming and I enjoyed every moment of it. My only regret is that there wasn’t time for me to visit with everyone who attended. I was tossed from person to person all night and before I knew it it was over. The amount of time put into the event (roughly six months) versus the amount of time you actually get to enjoy the outcome was a bit hard to handle but I think that’s only natural. In the end I would not have done a thing different. It was more than I ever could have hoped for. That’s not to say I didn’t learn anything for the next time! I sure did and I can’t wait to get started!
Do you see art as being a political tool?
Yes I definitely think it can be! There are different types of art and that’s what makes art wonderful but I absolutely believe that artwork can put out a strong message and therefore can help shift or shape minds (and hearts). My artwork focuses perhaps more so on societal messages rather than political but it all comes back together in the end. We live in a world that unfortunately thrives off of our insecurities. The only way to break through that is to start loving yourself. This leads to loving others which will inevitably lead to a happier world. So I do feel that in my small way I am helping things progress in a positive direction by inspiring women to love themselves inside and out. It’s a challenge but once achieved it feels amazing!
What motivates you?
That is a great question! I just love what I do! When I make art I feel like it is what I was meant to do. I very rarely sleep in and first thing in the morning I am usually bursting with energy excited to paint or promote! I suppose the ability to make art for a living motivates me to take my career seriously and put in the necessary hours. The love of what I paint and the message I’m expressing also motivates me to make artwork as often as I can and share it with the world. So I suppose furthering my career and making more artwork is motivation on its own.
How has art affected the way you view the world?
Art has shaped societies throughout history and I feel it still shapes our world today. While the classics used fine art to expresses a message, we now use not only fine art but art in media as well. I really do believe that artists of all sorts, and those who think outside the box, have the power to change the world and I hope we are shifting towards a new artistic revolution. Art for aesthetics alone is absolutely lovely but artwork that carries a strong message is something I deeply admire.
Where do you hope to see yourself in five years?
My goal has always been to be able to make a decent living as a full time artist. I do not currently make a realistic hourly wage but I have been raising my prices yearly since starting. As my career progressed, my techniques progressed, my prices progressed, and the appropriate patrons followed suit. So in five years I would love to be doing exactly what I’m doing but making a more realistic hourly wage. I’m already booked months (sometimes up to a year in advance) so as long as I continue to progress and raise my prices I am quite confident my dream will be achieved soon. I sometimes get told, “One day you’ll be famous” and I always think that is very sweet but not really what I’m striving for. Fame is a very intimidating thing. If it happens then wonderful! But I’m only looking to create for the rest of my life!
Are you a spiritual person, and if so, how does that influence the way your work?
“Spiritual” is one of those words that could mean something different to different people. I can say with certainty that I am not religious. My sister and I were raised with knowledge and experience of a variety of faiths but were given the freedom to choose on our own. During my teen years I felt more connected to pagans religions but was fascinated with the bible and the moral lessons taught within. Overtime I’ve grown to understand that (for the most part) all religions preach kindness, love, acceptance, and tolerance. These are all things I believe very strongly in and, while I do not feel I need to belong to a faith, I do believe that I should try to live by these morals and think about my thoughts and actions more deeply to live a kinder and more positive life. This has led me to understanding and loving myself which has allowed me to love others and understand them better as well. This influences my work greatly because it is part of my message. In a world that tells you, “You don’t look good enough. You don’t have enough. YOU are not enough!” it is hard to love yourself. I encourage people to disregard these messages and loves themselves as they are. I feel once this is achieved so much more is possible. My form of spirituality is believing I can change myself from within and be better and kinder and that I also have the power to inspire that type of change in others.
What advice would you give anybody out there who may be having difficulties finding their artistic rhythm?
My advice would be to stick to a daily work schedule, make ANY work, and share it with the world. When I first started my career I did still-life in order to hone my skills. Then I did landscapes and charcoal drawings and eventually began an occasional beauty portrait. I was never hard on myself or my work. I enjoyed the process of every piece and was proud to share it even if it might not be “perfect” in everyone’s eyes. Over time it just became obvious to me what my message would be and what my main subject would be because that’s what I naturally turned to. Making art and keeping a dialogue going with your followers is very important and people will love to see you grow into your unique style and artistic rhythm over time.
For more of Malinda’s work, be sure to check out the following links.
Home base: www.MalindaPrudhomme.com