A talk with ISAAC MALAKKAI - Street artist and illustrator


As mentioned sometime before, I grew up in a little village of Andalucia, Spain. This place is called Linares and it doesn't really got much to offer, especially for a curious teenager wishing to discover the world.

In a place like this the magic and the colors of the murals that some guys of the village (the so called OGT Crew) painted with spray naturally catched all my attention. Here and there, some new murals appeared and it was always delightful to discover and contemplate them for the first time. Like this, I found one of the artists who I followed through the years and whose art would inspire me so many times.

Isaac Malakkai is a street artist and illustrator from Almería, Andalucia. To me, his art seems like the form that crazy dreams acquire when they come to the real world. The colors, the delicate details, the natural blend of the nonsense and the beauty. 

Part of the series Reality bites made with acrylics on paper and canvas
His creations are unique and capable to ignite the flame of inspiration that beats inside the minds hungry for good art. You just can't get enough of it. 

I was quite curious about the mind behind these drawings, so I wrote him and told him I had a few questions for him. He was happy to tell me a bit about himself and his work. What follows is a part of the little interview I made with Isaac Malakkai. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did:

How did you start in the art world? I mean, were you one of those kids who painted the school desk and so discovered a hidden passion?

I've been always drawing. My mum usually tells me I'd grab a pencil and spend the hours drawing. One of my earliest memories is in preschool, being obssesed about drawing the amazing dolls that my Philipin classmate brought each day. And yeah, also painted my desk all the time.

What motivates and inspires you for creating? I saw you did the 'One Sketch a Day' challenge, how do you do to keep the inspiration up each day?

One Sketch a Day book by Malakkai
I wish I'd have a clear answer to that. At the moment I consider I am in a creative "dry season". I could tell you tons of beautiful, dreamlike, bohemian things about it, but truth is, motivation is always there because if you draw, it is what you wanna do. Inspiration is another thing. It is easy to turn to your "clichés" or your own "language" that you've been creating through the years, but you even get tired of that and feel the need of "new vocabulary". Sometimes, you get inspired by something stupid that someone says, by a lonely walk... but it goes like seasons. I think its important to keep that  playful feeling, not easy to maintain.

About the One Sketch a Day, it is an interesting challenge. It is one of the hardest things I've ever done, referring to dedication. I took it as a visual diary and simply drew whatever detail of that day made me angry or made me laugh.

A lot of whales in your art. What about that?

Whales are easy to recognise, also easy to deform and still being recognisable. It's an animal that invokes great respect to me, stillness as well as an uncouncious fear. I die for diving with a whale! But I think I'd also die by the shock of doing it.

Street art or Illustration?

To me, the essence of both is basically the same: drawing. I don't consider myself a big fish of street art or even a medium fish. Whatever kind of canvas arrives to my hands is very welcome. But the best thing of painting on the streets is the people. For good or bad, the interaction makes painting on the streets something special. If someone is on his way, sees a piece I made, stops for a second and feels something, whatever, that's already an achievement to me. I made great friends thanks to street art, and that just priceless.

I've seen some digital creations. Is that the future of your art?

Well, digital illustration was something kind of banned for me, becuase I didn't consider it fun not to get all dirty. But when you start with it, you realise, like with brush or spray, that its just another technique more. I'm using it to experiment a lot with color, which I don't do so much in other techniques.

It's Alive. Digital Art.

Being an artist gives you the chance to travel quite a bit. Where can we find a Malakkai on the streets? And, is there something you learnt from those trips that you value the most?

Ciudad de Juárez showed me the strenght and positivism of people. Djerba taught me that avobe religion and traditions, people comes first. Serbia took away lot of prejudices from my head... each trip has its highlights and is just a piece more of the puzzle that your life and personality forms. But without a doubt, what travelling teaches you best is that people is PEOPLE. Period. And I say this in the most beautiful and positive way that I can.

I'm curious about what you read, watch and what other artists inspire you.

I admire artist who can accomplish things that I just can't make since I'm self-taught. Laguna o David Choe for example. And wonders like Egon Schiele, Pat Perry, Miyazaki, Masamune Shirow, Velazquez, Victo Ngai…

I can always read Bukowski and I also watch a lot of cartoons, Rick&Morty, Gravity Falls, Clarence...buah too many, I would never end.

Thanks, Isaac, for sharing this with us.

Keep the brain filled up with beautiful, challenging things.

*All images are property of ©Isaac Malakkai

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