Meet the Artist 2018: Pia Malstrup
Published: 19 June 2018
Pia is an artist from Copenhagen. She paints with oil, acrylic and ink, and also works with bronze. Her paintings are mostly completely abstract in vibrant colours, however throughout the years Pia has worked in all kinds of creative work. This includes designing clothes, working in decoration and design, and also painting in watercolour.
We caught up with Pia to ask her a few questions in preparation for Skipton Open Studios!
How did you first get into art?
I have been creative since I was 15 years old. I stated by creating masks in plasma, painting them in various patterns, and I put a silk string inside them so they could hang on the wall. My mom brought the masks with her to work and sold them for me. I guess after that I have always been creative in some ways. Selling my first artwork at 15 years old was very inspiring.
What or who is the inspiration behind your work?
I just like colours – a lot of colours. I’m inspired by the light against darkness. Sometimes it’s important to stick to the fine lines, and sometimes I just let go and let the paint make its on picture, but it’s always the colours that control the painting. Colours make people in a good mood. Some people compare my paintings to Georgia O’Keeffe. I didn't know her work at first, but started to look at her work, and I like it very much.
What project or artwork are you working on now?
I’m working on a series of paintings made in acrylic and ink. That’s my wild side, and it’s quite messy but the colours are wonderful. A large company has ordered a lot of paintings, and I’m doing a bit at a time.
What was the first piece of art that really mattered to you?
That’s a painting I did 5 years ago in Denmark. I had a really bad time in my life going through a divorce. I was painting a small town in Portugal called Amarante. I had this wonderful photo from when I had an exhibition in Porto, and it brought back some very nice memories. I painted and painted but it wouldn’t work. I tried again and again, and finally I found that it was not a small town but a self portrait of a woman falling apart. That was very scary. I never saw my own condition in my paintings before. As time has gone on my art has developed, and I can “read” a lot of my previous paintings in the same way, and my husband know exactly the state I’m in when I paint. Even today I try to deny the fact that my paintings are affected by it, but it’s beginning to be more complicated to defend it.
What is the most interesting artwork, exhibition or art event you’ve seen recently?
The best exhibition I’ve been to recently was in Denmark. A Finnish artist called Soile Yli-Mayry. She uses wonderful rich colours in her paintings and her technique is very recognizable.
Have you taken part in Skipton Open Studios before?
No, this is my first year in Jersey. I have moved from Denmark in 2017 and the last 5 years before that I was arranging Open Studios in the area where I lived, so I know all about the work behind an event like this.
Why should we visit your studio?
I’m as far as I know, I'm the only painter bringing Nordic art into this exhibition. My paintings are large and the colours make people happy. Whether you are a person buying artwork for yourself or if you're buying paintings for a company, my paintings will attract attention and bring colours in to your life. I bring something new to the island, and I have a lot of paintings to show. I do also have some art in bronze for people who like something unique and different.
Does living in Jersey influence your work? If so, how?
Yes, I think it does. I’m not very good at landscapes or cows, but being away from family living a completely different life shows in the paintings. There is a lot of personality shown.
What do you find most unique about the Jersey creative scene?
I do love the light on the island, and the quietness. You have time to absorb the sun, the wind and the water. I’m fascinated by the tide and how it changes the landscape. Today we have a lot of stone on the beach but tomorrow it will be only sand.
If I could ‘wave a magic wand’ and grant you one wish that would impact upon your work or life as an artist, what would it be?
I have always wanted to reach the point of recognition. That people would say “oh that’s a typical painting from Pia” but I think it’s a balance between being recognizable and to keep on exploring. I’m getting there definitely. Many that know me say that they can recognize my paintings anywhere. If I’m allowed to put in a PS, I would also like to have a partnership with a gallery in London, I just need to find them.
What kind of music keeps you company in the space where you work?
It really depends on the mood. By nature, I’m almost happy all the time. I have a very positive approach to life and I surround myself with music like Bossanova or old Jazz or simple pop music. At the moment the radio is on “Smooth London”.