Artist Joy Malin on FW’s Friday:5ive

Our sweet neighbor, Joy Malin, is an artist who most recently has discovered her amazing talent for animal portraits. We’ve seen her over the years, taking canvases of gorgeous florals or figures in and out of the building, sending off her masterpieces in the back of her clients’ cars, conducting art classes in the park and in her apartment.

We mostly see her walking her amazing little guy, Charlies, the cutest little Yorkie you’d ever want to meet, around Tompkins Square Park. Joy and Charlie always have an ebullient hello for Mignon.

Artist Joy Malin and Charlie on the subway

Her darling “child” (she does have three
human children, too!), Charlie, is with her practically everywhere she goes. Most of you know how much FashionWhirled adores its doggie friends and to have them intersect with art, well, it’s almost too much!

Here, a little Friday:5ive visit with the lovely artist Joy Malin.

FashionWhirled:  What role does style, or fashion, play in your life as an artist? How does your personal style inspire the style of your animal portraits?

Joy Malin:  I’m a very simple-looking girl from the outside.  I’m always in black, an old gallery trick, making the art the most important thing in the room.  It is another thing when you walk in my apartment.  Lots of color, lots of fabric layering and not one more inch for another painting!  I like pretty!  I hope my animal portraits all have a little pinch of humor.

Two of Joy Malin’s Floral Series, above and below, that remind me somewhat of Maxfield Parrish

FW:  What made you first realize you wanted to be an artist? When did animal portraits come into that equation? 

JM: The first memory I have of really falling in love with life was walking through a museum somewhere in Europe. Holding on to my grandmother’s hand, feeling the cool marble floor and seeing the most beautiful things in the world surrounding us.  I was lucky to have a grandmother who loved art, and me!  My visits to Geneva to see her and traveling around Europe were all too few and far between. But they were enough to light that fire within me, I knew who I was and what I really loved.  Animal portraits were always in the equation, I think most of the incarnations I have had have been to experience life as a dog!

FW: Who is the muse or inspiration for your art? Do you see your animal portraits as fashionable accessories to a fashionable home? Why yes or not?

JM: The inspiration comes from nature, light and shadow, beautiful color, something that sings “mother earth”.  My muse is every wonderful dog I have ever known.  The unconditional love I am now experiencing from my dog Charlie shows me what love is.  Now that you mention it, I guess I do see my animal portraits as part of a fashionable home.  Without heart, how fashionable can a home be?

FW:  If you could have any notable individual — animal or human, dead or alive — sit for one of your portraits, who would that be and why?

JM: My grandmother, I wish I could thank her again.  Cleopatra, beauty, brains and a great wardrobe!

A painting from Joy’s Figures series

FW:  What words of wisdom do you live by, or strive to live by? What legacy do you hope to leave to the future?!

JM: Smile, you’re forgiven! My legacy, my children.


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