Interview with lowbrow pop surreal artist Malojo

"Comics, cartoons and old monster’s movie posters are my greatest love. But I’m also fascinated by classic painters like Bosch, Bruegel or Caravage, they are as important for me as Tex Avery, Walt Dysney and Chuck Jones. I love to paint funny monsters with tortured flesh, cute puppies with bad intentions. I am showing humourous side of my characters, sometimes a bit cruel, as I am fascinated and inspired by the horribles scenes of religious paintings.".  - Malojo

Malojo was born in Bayonne, France. Lives and works in Toulouse, France.
Hello dear Malojo, please, tell us how did you find the artist inside you? How long have you been doing art? Is art something that you always wanted to do?

I draw since I was a kid, I can’t tell when exactly I began, I never asked myself if I wanted to be an artist, I just can’t help myself to be one! I tried to write novels and play music when I was a teenager and I also made some cinema studies, but drawing and painting are the most natural things to do for me .
What  was / is  your major influences? Other artists, books, movies, music or any other media....What inspires you to create your artworks?
Actually, everything on the list! Some of my favorite artists are James Jean, Al Columbia, Basil Gogos,  Mike Mignola. I listen a lot to different kind of music ( Blues, rockabilly, psychobilly, punk, post punk, new wave etc… ). I love watching movies (everything just not realistic!) and documentaries, I love history, wild life and science. It’s too long to make an exhaustive list ! Let’s say that my major influences come from pop culture, but also sacred art, medieval art, mythologies from all the world. I had the chance to travel and see a lot of amazing museums and churches in Europe and New York. If you look closely at my work, you’ll find a lot of hidden references about mythology and history.

How does "a normal day of artist" in your life look like?
Normal? I don’t know, it’s exhausting and exciting! Like for all the artists - I work ten hours a day and seven days a week ! I wake up early, make sport and go to work in my studio, we don’t usually take holidays, we always have something to do!
What’s your background? Are you self-taught artist or did you study art? Do you think an art education is important or imperative for anybody wishing to be an artist? What are some of the advantages and disadvantages that you have encountered throughout your career with/without the formal training of the Art Academy?
I’ve followed cinema class in college. Then I was in a fine art school, but it was all about conceptual art and art philosophy and nauseam! It was almost forbidden to draw or paint figurative stuff; so I didn’t learn a thing and have to make my education by myself. I think an art education can be great if you learn basics and the use of the the tools you could need ; not learn a single way of thinking. Anyway, all I know I learned it by myself.

What fascinates you the most about surrealism / pop surrealism / contemporary art / lowbrow art? How would you describe your style? What themes do you pursue, what surrealism mean
to you and what do you hope the viewer will take away from your art?
As a said I’m not a big fan of realistic stuff. Also pop culture is badly considered here and I heard about pop surrealism and low brow pretty late; but I always been a fan of “ genre films “  cartoons, comics and rock ‘n’ roll wich is not considered as “ cultural “ enough here, so it was so liberating to discover those pictural movements where I finally can  mix all the things I love in art. I don’t know what I expect the viewer to take ; maybe my love for all the things we talked about and  have fun.
What do you love most about creating and being an artist? What does “being creative” mean to you?
I don’t know...painting and drawing are my favorite things to do, it’s the moment when I feel the most happy.
Can you describe your typical workflow when you’re working on your art? What are your tools of trade? What medium do you most often use and why?
It depends, I have research periods during which I make a lot of sketches and read tons of books about religions and their mythologies, history, history of art, and a lot of differents things: for example, I try to find interesting sentences in Russian, I love to use different languages to hide tracks and give differents significations to my work; it also give me clues for the artworks to come. In this moment I love to watch documentaries too. Then I love to begin a day work early, I make a huge playlist, drink a lot of coffee and work ‘til I’m exhausted. I use oilbars for my painting and pencils for my drawing. Painting and drawing are 2 differents pleasures ; painting is hard it’s always a dare, it demands a lot concentration, drawing is more natural but I can’t choose which is my favorite .
Which creative medium would you love to pursue but haven’t yet?
First, I want to be a better painter and drawer and I would like to use those skills to make toys and characters for animated movies. I use to write a lot as a teen and I would like to write my own tales and then illustrate them ; I also would like to sing in a rock band because I have a lovely voice!
Tell us more about your workspace. What was the most funny or weird thing that happened to you in your studio? What is / was the most strange thing hidding in your studio?
Nothing special actually! My studio is full of toys, skulls, books, masks and huge horns like a lot of artists do have in their studio. I also have some original artworks by amazing artists like Tara Mac Pherson, Aaron Conley, Cailloux and my sweet Ciou!
What toughest challenges have you faced as an artist during your art career? What is the biggest lesson you have learned so far?

In France you’re not considered as an artist if you don’t do conceptual art, so you don’t have places to show your work, it's pretty frustrating!
The biggest lesson for me was given by my talented girlfriend Ciou who tells me constantly “ Don’t give up!”
What’s the best and worst advice you ever received in your art career?
The worst advice was probably given by some of my fine art’s school’s teachers who told me “Your work look like shit, you better give up!” and the best by my girlfriend; it’s something like “ Move your ass ! try harder !”
What do you dislike about the art world? What is the hardest thing on being an artist? Is the artistic life lonely? What do you do to counteract it?
There’s a lot of things I hate in artworld but it’s the life I choosed so I don’t want to complain but if I do, I do it with friends with beers .

Where do you see yourself in the future? Professionally, what’s your goal?
I want to be a better painter, a better drawer, have more money and live in the country close the ocean with my girlfriend.
Do you have any tips or inspiring words for others? Maybe advice for beginning artists out there?
Sure, like I said before “ Don’t give up, move your ass , try harder! “
Your favorite art or life quote is ...
“ Whatever you got I’m mad at it ! “ Henri Rollins
What are you doing when you’re not creating? What (other) hobbies do you have?
I love reading and going to the cinema but what I prefer is going for a walk into the woods or on the beach, unfortunately I live in a city for the moment and I don't have opportunities to do that.

Do you have an online portfolio, blog or social medias where we can view your work?
Sure : Official Facebook, Website and "malojo sebastien nassiet saldubehere" on Instagram.
Is there anything else you’d like to say? Is there any project you are working on right now  or any ongoing  event or exhibition you would like to share with our readers?
I'm working now on two shows for September : “ RIDE “ at the Pony club gallery in Portland and “ French low brow “ at the Spacejunk galleries in Bayonne, Grenoble and Lyon. I'm also working for an auction of breast cancer awarness in September too.
Thank you dear Malojo, it was a honor to interview you, I wish you only the best for you and your art and already looking forward to see your new art works :)
By contributor Linda , 2015. Find Oh, So Surreal on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, Google + or RSS