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Spotlight for Inspiration:  Joshua Malik

Spotlight for Inspiration: Joshua Malik

joel

joelndsarah

Christie Stockstill

Let’s start by learning a little bit about you.  For instance, do you go by Josh?  Where do you live? Where did you grow up? 

Joshua Malik

Honestly, it doesn’t really matter.  I’ve been going by Joshua for a couple of weeks, just because someone said it was more marketable, and it sounds more professional.  I don’t really mind either way.  I was called Joshua when I was in trouble...but for the most part I’ve been going by Joshua.

I currently live in Santa Barbara, California, but I grew up in North Webster, Indiana. It’s a little podunk town where...I mean there is one road.  We called them blink roads. You just drive through it and you’re out.

CS

What are you doing in Santa Barbara besides creating amazing art?

JM

I’m a full-time student. I’m going to college quite a bit.  I’m studying liberal arts. Next year will be my last year; I’m only getting an associates degree.  There’s no way I’m spending four years in college.  So, I’m hopefully moving to L.A. next year.  It’s cheaper and there is a lot more offered there as far as outlets and all that.

CS

Where do you go to school?

It’s called Santa Barbara Junior College. People usually go to them before they transfer to a four-year school, but I’m just going to get my associates degree.

6

CS

I know the Brooks Institute is there...

JM

Yeah... I can’t really see myself learning an art. In my opinion that is something you pick up on your own.

CS

You are so prolific! I know, for instance, right now you are attempting a new image every day for a year.  Where do you find your inspiration? How do you stay motivated?

JM

For inspiration, I generally get up around 4 or 5:30 in the morning, and I’ll go up to the mountains or down to the beach and watch the sunrise.  I take information whether it’s something I’m feeling or something that someone has told me..  I’m just digging deep down inside myself and trying to think of a story that would connect with someone but also tend to make them feel a little...uh...I don’t know the word I’m looking for...kind of uncomfortable. I know that sounds weird, but I want my art to do something more than just be pretty.  Most of my work is dark and kind of somber, sad or upsetting in some ways, but in the long run I’m doing it just to express something that I’m not. I’m not really a pessimist.  It gives me a way to express myself in a way I don’t really have a connection with.

selfnurture

CS

Who or what, if anything, influences your photography most right now? 

JM

Oh!!  Ok, so, I listen to a lot of Icelandic music because it doesn't interact with your brain the same way that normal music would...you are able to connect with the English words and you’re understanding what’s going on.   In Icelandic or a different language, you feel what is going on instead, and you let that go into you and come out in inspirational ways.  So sometimes I listen to darker Icelandic music, not dark like very creepy, but more of a sad piece. The music is about something that has happened to this person, but you don’t know what’s going on, and you can interpret that in your own way.

CS

I love it! Now we’re all going to go find iTunes selections from other countries to help inspire us.

JM

I recommend it!  My art teacher wouldn’t let us listen to English music for that reason, so I developed that a while ago.

CS

That’s a pretty cool tip.  I’m glad you mentioned that.

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CS

Do you ever shoot in studio?

JM

(laughing) No, no. Yesterday I had to shoot inside only because I ran out of light because I was in class.  Never in studio. I do have lights that I like to take on location if I’m doing fashion.

CS

I am curious to see your fashion work.

JM

(more laughing) It’s still developing.  I’m working with a designer from Moscow.  Once I get those clothes, it will start picking up. For now, I’m sticking with conceptual.

butterflies

CS

That’s exciting. I’m excited to see where you go with that!

What is your process for planning a location shoot?  Do you find a location first or have an idea then find the location? 

JM

It alternates.  Not all the time am I like, “Today I’m going to create something by the beach!”  Sometimes I go to the beach first, just because it’s my first pull.  Once I’m there, I may decide to create something. Depending on if I did get up early in the morning, and try to think of something or if I just go there and try to spontaneously think of something...it’s kind of in between.

CS

A few sort of technical questions...What camera do you use most often? 

JM

I use the Nikon D800.

CS

Is that the only camera you use, or just the one you go to most often?

JM

Well, it’s the only one I have, so...

DSC_1466edit

CS

What is your go-to lens?

JM

Oh my gosh, definitely my 85mm/1.4.  I just got it, and there’s no warp, so I love that, and there’s no vignette.  It saves me so much time in Photoshop when I do expansions.

CS

What other items, not necessarily photography related, do you always have with you?

JM

Music. Even if I have a model there, I have music on.  Sometimes I ask them what they prefer. It puts them in a less nervous state of mind...especially if you are having them do something uncomfortable, like a position or something that is adding stress to their body. It gives them less stress when they have that to fall back on.

self comfort

CS

What has been the most memorable moment of your career thus far? The most exiting...

JM

Occasionally we have these things called Flickr meet-ups. It’s basically about 20 - 40 of us get together at various houses. We stay with someone or on someone’s land. We just camp out in their yard. We stay their for a whole week, and we get up in the morning at dawn. We go out and create the whole entire day; we come back and edit during the heat of the day when yo can’t really use the light...and just do that continuously.  It’s basically a mecca of photography. You’re with all these people...like-minded...no one’s judging anyone.  You have all these people to model for you.  We’ve been doing that every six months and that’s definitely one of my favorite parts of this adventure is getting to meet and work with people that are like you.

DSC_7112

CS

Any parting words of wisdom for other artists working hard to be successful in this business? You’re so young...  Right? I mean, I assume you are young; you’re in college.

How old are you?

JM

Yes, I’m 19.

CS

How do you have work in Vegas, work in Moscow? Any ideas for people to get out there and find something for themselves?

JM

My biggest words of advice would be to not get discouraged, especially when you’re starting out.  Of course you’re going to start out with limited exposure... When you’re first starting out, and you have the least amount of exposure you possibly can, which is exactly what happens when you first start doing something.  It can be completely detrimental to you being an artist.  I almost quit photography because I didn’t get the exposure I was wanting as quickly as I was wanting. It was really hard to see other artists succeeding and not doing exactly what they were doing. That being said, I don’t think an artist that’s just starting out, if they are not just naturally good at what they are doing, should be getting that success because then they are never improving.  I think that was my biggest thing...I improved so much...and that just continued. I was developing more and more connections because I was putting my work out there.  Put your work onto as many places as you can, but you also have to learn how to properly use the platform you’re hosting on as well.  A lot of people don’t like Flickr because they don’t really understand how to use it; they’re not tagging correctly or using groups properly.  I have gotten all my magazine submissions, all of my interviews (except this one) and all of my work from Flickr.  Other than just telling you that, I don’t know how to explain it.  I didn’t understand it at first either.  When I first started I had like 10 followers, but now I’m almost up to 6000 in about a year.  You always have to be working to learn the platform.

CS

Thank you so much for chatting with us! I know you have another phone meeting in like one minute. Right?

JM

Yeah! The London publisher I’m working with. I’m showing him the first book cover I did, and getting his approval for the next one, which is in Vegas.

forgottenking

CS

That’s really cool!

JM

Thank you!

joel

Joshua’s 411:

https://www.facebook.com/joshuamalikphotography

https://www.flickr.com/photos/joshuamalik/

Joshua's Gift of Inspiration:

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Spotlight for Inspiration - Manuel Estheim

Spotlight for Inspiration - Manuel Estheim

Spotlight for Inspiration-Christie Perkins Stockstill

Spotlight for Inspiration-Christie Perkins Stockstill

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