Awarded Southwest Art Magazine’s ’21 Under 31: Young Artists to Watch in 2019,’ Malena Marie is a contemporary realism painter specializing in large-scale portraits of people and animals. Born in small-town Iowa, she began drawing on anything she could get her hands on as a small child and quickly realized that figurative and anatomical painting came easily. Coupled with her curiosity for capturing people’s stories, the self-taught artist subsequently began selling work at a young age after developing her signature black and white style using acrylics. Each piece strips away color cues, enabling viewers to delineate their own colorful narrative of the subject, and are riddled detailed foregrounds opposite blended backgrounds. What resembles a photograph from afar exceeds capabilities of photography up close.
Malena’s work has recently evolved into colored oil paintings. Her upcoming series, titled “Masked,” explores feminine strength and beauty while playing with notions of perception and color richness. Each piece features intimate, yet captivating, portraits of women juxtaposed by powerful, bold masks.
She currently lives and works in her Southern California studio.