A Wearable Canvas – Day 234

Seven Seas Suite by Richard Malinsky. Copyright © Richard Malinsky
Seven Seas Suite by Richard Malinsky. Copyright © Richard Malinsky

Artists are always looking for ways to expand their market while protecting the integrity of their work. Sculptors cast their sculptures in alternative materials while painters might create a series of limited-edition prints or find other unique ways to get their work out to a wider public.

Richard Malinsky’s paintings are collected for their emotionally engaging imagery inspired by the organic form and influenced by the textural colors of Claude Monet, enticing the viewer to focus on the essence of the representation rather than a literal one. “Technically, I am focused on the fluidity of the paint (symbolic of organic growth), surface tension and the edges that define two-dimensional composition,” says Malinsky. “My use of color is sometimes playful and surprising but never haphazard because color and form define the space.”

His work is widely collected and exhibited in galleries and museums, but a comment from a client at one of Malinsky’s exhibitions launched the artist into a new direction for his work.

“Several people have commented that they thought my paintings would work well as fabric,” says the artist. “I liked the comment but didn’t really know what to do with it. So it lived in the back of my head for some time until one day someone said, ‘I love that painting. I wish I could wear it!’”

That comment came at the same time Malinksy was experimenting with different weights of unprimed cotton canvas, staining it with liquid acrylic and shaping it into a Free-Form series of wall hangings – a natural evolution resulting from the compositions and color fields in his painting and the artist’s intention of pushing at the boundaries of a defined shape.

“Loosely Bound” by Richard Malinsky. Copyright © Richard Malinsky

So Richard Malinsky considered expanding his Free Form paintings to clothing. “My first thought was to buy some silk and make this beautiful ”Monet-like’ watercolor and have a fabric designer cut it into a slinky cocktail dress,” says the artist. “But I couldn’t find the silk and the only dress designer I knew was already ‘way too busy. So the idea of a scarf came to mind.”

He found a source for high-quality silk that was pre-cut and finished to standard sizes and bought three to try out his new idea.

Malinsky Signature Scarf #19 by Richard Malinsky. Copyright © Richard Malinsky
Malinsky Signature Scarf #19 by Richard Malinsky. Copyright © Richard Malinsky

“Since I already work with liquid acrylic, the only thing to determine was how much paint I could apply to the fabric without losing that silky feeling,” says Malinsky. “I made three one-of-a-kind hand-painted and signed silk scarfs, showed them to some friends, and a collector who owns my paintings immediately wanted to buy one.”

He began creating more of these one-of-a-kind, hand-painted and signed paintings to wear, and the Malinsky Signature Scarf™ series was born.

The scarves are popular with people who know Malinksy as a painter, and with many of those who collect his work.

“Because I am a collector of Malinsky’s art, I have always wanted one within reach more consistently. This scarf fits the bill perfectly. An original work of art, and a fabulous accessory rolled into one!” says one of the artist’s clients.

“I have a Malinsky on my living room wall that I adore. Now I have one I can take with me anywhere I go,” says another client.

Malinsky Signature Scarf #19 (detail) by Richard Malinsky. Copyright © Richard Malinsky
Malinsky Signature Scarf #19 (detail) by Richard Malinsky. Copyright © Richard Malinsky

In the past, artists have been concerned about mixing their fine art creations with what had traditionally been considered as “craft”. Richard Malinsky feels that those lines are much less defined these days. “Years ago, I was part of an art world that made a clear distinction between ‘High Art’ and craft,” he says. “Fortunately, we have evolved beyond that. I do believe there are many forms of art and that fine art painting is more philosophical than functional while ‘handcraft’ is functional first and sometimes also philosophical. I do not believe this is good or bad, higher or lower – just conceptually different. In my mind, I bridge this gap by describing my scarves as “Paintings to Wear”. Other than the difference in surface, I approach them in the same way I approach my painting – my thinking, style and color palette are the same. I am communicating joy, beauty and celebrating uniqueness.”

And offering his clients a painting they can wear.

– SerenaK

“Winter’s Desire” by Richard Malinsky. Copyright © Richard Malinsky


This post is part of  the 365 Days Project – a year-long series of daily posts that began as a tribute to artists and the creative mind and ended up as a collection of interviews with artists around the world.

Artist Credits for the images included in this post:

Images featured:

Seven Seas Suite
Richard Malinsky,

Loosely Bound
Richard Malinsky,
Acrylic on unstretched free-form canvas

Malinsky Signature Scarf #19
Richard Malinsky,
Hand-painted silk scarf

Malinsky Signature Scarf  #19 (detail)
Richard Malinsky,
Hand-painted silk scarf

Winter’s Desire
Richard Malinsky,
Acrylic on canvas

Richard Malinsky’s artwork can be viewed at: Richard Malinsky

SerenaK image logo
Serena Kovalosky is the owner-producer at Artful Vagabond Productions LLC, specializing in cultural projects, exhibitions and films on visual arts. Kovalosky is also a professional sculptural artist and curator.

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