EXCLUSIVE: Our Interview with Aslan Malik

Photos courtesy of Aslan Malik Berlin motion and art director, Aslan Malik shared with us how his father used to illustrate super heroes...

Photos courtesy of Aslan Malik

Berlin motion and art director, Aslan Malik shared with us how his father used to illustrate super heroes for the siblings and himself when he was younger. Since then, he was determined to be an artist. He also expressed his biggest wish is to work on a Wong Kar-Wai movie regardless of how menial the task is.

Hi Aslan! Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am a motion designer and art director originally from Berlin. Some years ago, I left Berlin for the very first time to live in Tokyo, but a few weeks after I arrived, the earthquake hit and I had to leave. Since then, I've been all over the globe, normally not in one place for more than a few months at a time.

When did you discover your passion for art and design?
I've illustrated ever since I can remember. My father is a terrific illustrator. My older brother and I always made him illustrate for us super heroes that we would put up on our bedroom walls. I began to sit at his side and make my own illustrations. It was always my clear aim to become an artist when I grew up. I made a wrong turn and became a designer though. It's good for now. I will make the transition at 40. That's the plan. Maybe a little bit more of casual photography in the meantime as well. I like to do different things. It's a gift and a curse. If you look at my stuff, it is all over the place but there are so many interesting things out there and it's hard to concentrate on only one. I would love to make much more. Music, for example. But I focus on the visual arts. Otherwise, you never get over that certain point of excelling at what you are doing.

We had a field day just browsing your portfolio. Where do you get inspirations from?
There are certain things I've always been drawn to even at my earliest age. Many things I knew about the world, I learned through movies though. I always had a wild admiration for cities, such as New York, Tokyo and Hong Kong. As a kid, I went to the video shop on a daily basis and watched everything from Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, Jean-Luc Godard, Wong Kar-Wai, Masahiro Shinoda and so forth. I loved their view on their respective cities and the people in them. I must have watched the beginning scene of Shaft countless times, imagining how life would be growing up in Harlem in the early 70s. Music also took a big place in my life. My older brothers both had huge record collections, and I would spend most of my day at the record store if I wasn't illustrating or watching movies.

As a teenager, literature joined the list of my diversions. Kawabata, Bukowski, Henry Miller - they all made me want to live the lives they lived. I think everything I do nowadays is a reflection of that need. When I see something which reminds me of one of those stories or movies, I take a photo or paint a picture. I think I just recreate the world I've wanted to experience ever since I can remember.

What do you have to tell from your work?
Nothing yet, really. I don't believe I can contribute something meaningful until I do a little bit more of living.

You can split my work into two categories:

Professional work, which is advertising. And the aim here is selling products. It's a comfortable way to make a living but not really fulfilling, by any means. Most of the time it's fun though.

Personal work, which surrounds everything I'm interested in and capable of. But this is for my own pleasure and needs. I think people can pick up on that and they can feel what I feel. That makes me happy. I like how people respond to my work when they catch fire. People can be so passionate, and I love those moments when they tell me they saw a certain thing on my blog and how they interpreted it. At times, it feels like others have a better insight into my persona than I do of myself. That always shocks me.

If you could only work with one colour, which one would it be, and why?
Black. I know it's technically not a color, but colors just work for me in combination. I can create everything out of black and all its different shades.

But I have a super soft spot for turquoise and purple. In combination, they magnetize me. When those LED lights first came out, I'd always set the color to one of those and just stare at it.

If given a chance, who would you want to collaborate with, and why?
One of my biggest wishes is to work on a Wong Kar-Wai movie. I wouldn't care what my task is, they are just too beautiful.

What would you do if you win a million dollars?
Buy lottery tickets. I don't think a million dollars would change my life too much. I have simple needs. I travel a lot, and to buy a nice camera or paint supplies, you don't need a million dollars. But 300 million dollars is a completely different game. I would buy the clock tower in Brooklyn which is right in between the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan Bridge. I would put my studio in an upper floor and the rest I would transform into a gathering place, like Gertrude Stein did or Andy Warhol after her. Then I would get another small apartment around the MOMA and enjoy the scenery for the rest of my days.

Aslan Malik's official site
Aslan Malik's Behance site

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