We asked Principal Designer, Mark Malta, a few questions about his creative process, staying inspired and how his passions tie every-day life.
What are you working on right now?
I often ask myself the same question. The answer is, “A lot,” but I will try to be a little more specific where I can. I’m currently building a React prototype for a west-coast company’s flagship product. The prototype will serve as the North Star for transitions and micro-interactions throughout the web application. I’m also actively engaged with our fantastic internal team in continued efforts to elevate the PRPL website and brand!
That about covers my agency life. I’m also busy working on a plethora of side projects, and I’m constantly refining and twisting my digital art process. I have some really cool things to share on the horizon before 2020, so give me a follow if you haven’t already! [shameless plug]
Where, from real-life, do you draw inspiration for your work?
I’m always looking for inspiration in unlikely places. I can only get so much from the internet; everything starts to look the same to me after a while. Art Basel Miami is one of my favorite things to do for a crash-course of inspiration — it can almost be overwhelming. I also try to visit museums with my family when I can. I really enjoy conversing with my twelve-year-old about art and how it makes her feel. It just brings it to another level for me. Overall though, the most powerful ideas for me come from raw emotion. Between my daily obsession with music and just everyday life of raising the girls (2 and 12) with my best friend, Kayla, there’s plenty of feelings and experiences for me to bottle up and express through art and motion design.
What have you been listening to on Spotify lately?
Pick two celebrities to be your parents.
Interesting question! My parents are awesome and wouldn’t be who I am without them. That said, Danny DeVito and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
How does your growing audience (24K Instagram followers and counting) drive what you choose to create and how you create it?
First of all, I feel insanely lucky to have gotten a following by goofing around with my process in Cinema 4D. This side project started in August of 2017 after searching for my medium throughout most of my teenage years and then additionally over my entire career so far.
To answer the question, I’m only driven by my audience size or engagement from an analytical standpoint about 10% of the time. My audience keeps me going just from the sheer support I receive in the comments and my direct messages. I’ve also come by some really exciting opportunities and have been able to meet and work with some extremely talented artists along the way. As a personal rule, I only create for Instagram what I feel like exploring at the moment. Sometimes that means I’m spit-balling wildly different ideas until I find a new style or process to refine, and my core audience is often along for the ride.
What’s coming up next on your three-dimensional journey?
Keep an eye out for my upcoming Behance project! I’m excited to share so I’ve added a few frames from the project here for your eyeballs.
You’re a designer, a developer, and a digital artist. That's a lot of variety. How did you get to this place in your career?
I also did film for a few years early on in my career; you can look me up on IMDB! The answer for me is probably my ADHD. Learning to live with it has not always been easy, but more importantly, I believe learning to harness it has enabled me to have no qualms about jumping into the unknown. I get excited when I face a difficult project where I don’t know how I’m going to accomplish it, but I know I will figure it out.
When I was thirteen, I played bass guitar in a garage band. My dad was a systems engineer at the time so he set me up with Microsoft FrontPage and Jasc PaintShop Pro and showed me how to make my first band website. It was complete with a table-based layout and iFramed navigation.
From that point forward, I’ve remained curious and have had the luxury of having the internet at my disposal. Wearing multiple hats in the tech industry is definitely a difficult balancing act for me, and I’m increasingly annoyed with the bottleneck of time. What is time? 🤔 To that end, I’ve come to terms with the fact that I must set priorities and put some things on the back-burner once in a while. It’s challenging to get the proverbial ball rolling, especially when I have to learn something new, but once I’m in the zone, good luck getting me out of it.
Any words of wisdom for those who may be interested in becoming a digital artist?
PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE!
This is my number one rule: You can learn the basics of pretty much any technical skill for free or at a low cost with tutorials or online subscription classes. I have used tutorials as a resource to learn the tools, but not necessarily for instructions on how to do something step by step. I personally find a majority of the tutorials on YouTube and Vimeo helpful. I’ve also seen some speed or timelapse tutorials on Instagram. Everyone learns differently so you do you.
If you have an idea, start exploring it for an hour or two in the morning or evening. I personally work best at night. In my experience, it’s all about knowing your tools. Knowing your tools begets creativity. Once I wrap my head around what a programming language or design tool is capable of, new ways of twisting it to my advantage may begin to trigger ideas and that’s when the fun really begins.