Malia Shields is another studio tenant of Helikon Gallery & Studios. Malia’s work is currently on display as a part of our annual “Denizen” group tenant show. We had a chance to ask Malia 20 questions on her life and work, here is what she had to say:
1. What is your earliest memory?
Coming up the stairs from the basement of the house I grew up in with a necklace in my hand of a relative who had passed away, whom I had never met, and feeling upset because someone had told me she was dead. I knew her but only in the spiritual plane; I had not learned to separate spirit from physical.
2. What type of art did you create as a child?
I liked to paint animals. I actually learned to draw after I had been painting for awhile.
Yes, my mom is definitely an artist by nature, but she has not painted since I was very little.
4. Are you “self taught” or “traditionally educated”?
Both, depends on what process/medium we are discussing.
5. What artist has been most influential to your life?
My 3rd grade art teacher. She was a very quiet Indian woman, an artist, and the first one to validate my ability to draw, nurtured my talents through drawing from books of nudes (classical paintings) – with my parents permission, of course.
I still enjoy drawing and painting people, and I do come back to figurative work often; however, I find myself more and more drawn to composition and abstraction as a subject.
7. What non-art objects fill your studio space?
I have some food, a space heater, a table, chairs, shelves…. that’s about it. Anything non-art is supporting the process, so could be considered art related.
8. At what moment did you decide that you were going to pursue art as a career?
In 2007, I was 36, I had finally accepted the idea that if I could change how I thought, I could actually create the life I wanted. I began to learn meditation to “heal” my self perception, and from there, I began “seeing” paintings again during meditation. As those began to come through, and I felt more in touch with my talent again, I chose to step into making art a major part of my career focus and choosing experiences that supported my art.
Both. I work as an intuitive reader, practitioner of energy work, and I show/sell my work both online and out of a gallery in Wheat Ridge. I have had a good amount of luck selling from book stores, healing centers, and my work is currently available in a few of these smaller venues.
10. What is your least favorite art buzzword?
I am not sure I have ever thought about it. I’ll have to get back to you on that one.
11. Outside of the craft you are known for, are there any other art endeavors you pursue?
I love pottery, and I have done a bit of that over the years. I’d love to get back into that. Just the smell of the clay and the physical nature of the craft is enlivening to me.
Do we need to discuss this? (jk) Yes.. I do. I think we all do. Wind really gets to me, never have been able to explain it.
13. Are there any scientific theories that fascinate you?
Yes, more than I can count. The idea that the mind can heal the physical as much as the emotional or spiritual, that “life” is a placebo, that we hold information and pattern on a cellular level and that all of this can be cleared and healed. The idea that the human body actually thinks more with the nervous system, the vagus nerve primarily, as well as the idea that we think with the brain, the heart and the gut…. that the body is actually much more a systemic “being” – to include the etheric body – than a piecemeal system. Levitation through the use of magnets and specific elements is also fascinating to me; levitation through the use of sound waves.
14. Is there one album or one musician/band that you are constantly enthralled by?
I tend to be more enthralled by silence than music anymore, but I do very much love the music of Ben Howard, particularly Depth Over Distance and Keep Your Head Up.
Definitely energized by alone time, need to recover from time with people generally speaking, though this is not true of all relationships or groups.
16. What is the most interesting dream you can recall?
Lucid dreaming is a daily occurrence for me. I also tend to dream about what will happen. I think that is pretty interesting 🙂 I no longer have nightmares, and that used to be a common theme.
17. Any guilty pleasures?
Of course, what would life be without them. I love my coffee with honey and coconut milk – must be dark dark dark! I love ice cream, gelato; grapefruit gelato is a favorite!
Does it have to be on Earth? 🙂 Hmmmm… I’d say Greece, perhaps Italy or Spain.
19. Where do you currently live and how did you come to reside here?
I live in Golden, Lookout Mtn area specifically. It’s in the mountains, wildlife is everywhere, hiking trails are at my doorstep. Nature is such a part of me; I thrive when I have solitude, quiet, and lots of nature time. My son also loves to be outdoors, so its a win-win for us. It’s also close enough to the city that we don’t feel isolated.
20. What is something most people don’t know about you?
I started out life with a photographic memory and a very high IQ. I had open heart surgery at 21 years old to fix a congenital defect, at which point everything changed. I now have a daily “struggle” to recall most memories, very intermittent photographic memory now, and though my intuition has developed to be more strong now and I am much more present than ever before, I definitely don’t have the same kind of intellect I did as a kid. My art kind of “saves my sanity” b/c of this; the process of creating just allows me to find my center, if that makes sense. Painting actually taught me to access my intuition, which has now become one of my strongest skills.
“Denizen” will be on display through August 29th at Helikon Gallery & Studios. We are located at 3675 Wynkoop Street, Denver, CO, 80216.
For more information on Malia: studiomalia-fineart.com.