Today we’d like to introduce you to Chalda Maloff.
Chalda, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t making art. I sold my first several watercolor paintings in the 1950’s when I was about 10 years old, to a movie studio. I had heard that this studio was looking for art that would “look like a kid painted it,” and I thought, “I can do that.” The pieces ended up in a fleeting scene in a film with Lauren Bacall.
As a college undergrad, I studied Art History at Berkeley, and spent a marvelous semester abroad in Florence, Italy, studying Renaissance masterworks and soaking up a culture that respected and elevated the arts.
The seeds were planted for my current career when I first realized the potential of the computer as an art tool. As a graduate student in Computer Science in San Francisco in the early 1970’s, I was lucky enough to receive a private demo of some of the earliest art software at Xerox Parc labs. The computer was a crude aesthetic instrument at that time, but I was enchanted by the possibilities. My fate was sealed.
In the years after that demo, I continued working in oils, acrylics, pastels, and aquatint, but always with an eye toward ongoing technological developments that might be applicable in my art. In 2001, after a number of false starts, the moment came when I decided to devote my energies entirely to digital art. I gave away my paint sets, realizing I would never again want to hold a physical paintbrush.
Computer software allowed me to achieve a level of detail that I couldn’t attain with any other medium, and it made possible various visual effects that I found compelling. But beyond those factors, the creative process with this software corresponded uncannily to the inner workings of my mind.
My first major solo exhibit of my digital art, at the Morris Graves Museum in California, was entitled “Dancing in the Rain,” from the Eastern European proverb, “Whoever thinks sunshine is necessary for happiness, has never danced in the rain.” I had chronic pain at that time, something that it was hard to put a positive spin on. While working on that series of artworks I was reflecting on ways in which the bitter parts of life might bring the sweet parts into high relief.
Has it been a smooth road?
The road is not yet smooth. Many art enthusiasts find digital painting to be foreign and unapproachable. Distrust may arise when the viewer, unacquainted with the process, is unsure to what degree the artwork actually represents human skill, effort, and sensibility. Thankfully this situation is changing.
We’d love to hear more about your business.
I am an optimist, and my art reflects that quality. I have developed techniques and effects which I believe put the viewer in a positive frame of mine. One such technique is the illusion of back-lighting or inner glow which, from the days of fire worship to these days of screen worship, has struck a chord with humans. I believe this effect imparts a near-universal response of pleasure or gratification.
In the near future, I am looking forward to participating in “COLOR PLAY,” a four-person exhibit at Mary Tomás Gallery on Dragon Street, opening May 12. That gallery always carries a terrific energy, and I expect this to be a great show.
Looking further out, I am continually experimenting with new techniques and aesthetics, and new concepts that I want to express visually. As with any creative process, there are ebbs and flows. I experience weeks or months where virtually all my work ends up in the recycle bin, followed by periods of satisfying focus and productivity. Periodic software updates or new hardware purchases inject their own element of chaos, for better or worse. I cannot imagine ever losing interest in creating digital art.
Is our city a good place to do what you do?
Dallas is a great place for the arts. It has a progressive and dedicated community of art lovers.
- Website: chalda.com
- Phone: 512-794-9224
- Email: cmaloff@medium-S.com
- Instagram: @chaldamaloffdigitalartist
- Facebook: Chalda Maloff – Digital Artist
- Other: marytomasgallery.com