The more we work with our independent studios, the more we love getting to know them. And from all the feedback we have gotten from our “Meet” posts, we know you do too!
This time we are bring you a backstage pass into the Jill Malek brand. I am thrilled to share our interview with the lovely Jill Malek herself!
Jill Malek in action
When talking with Jill, it’s apparent that her patterns are designed with great love and an impeccable eye for detail. Her whimsical motifs are sophisticatedly elevated through her approach of scale and color.
Jill’s New York Studio
We love Jill Malek’s designs because of their incredible movement. Installed on a wall, the patterns read like poems. In fact, in talking with Jill, I learned that part of her design process includes writing prose to flesh out her conceptual direction.
Here is Jill’s writing for her current wallpaper collection called Frequency:
“The world is a composition of parallel frequencies and cyclical events; the sounds of waves crashing, the phases of the moon, the seasonal migration of birds, precipitation and the water cycle, the stages of animal life, the beat of the human heart. The result of recurring events in nature generates a stunning energy, perpetually informing our senses. Through subtle shifts of movement and scale, these designs are inspired by the fluctuating patterns of frequency found in nature.”
The Fequency Collection
(Each pattern is available in multiple colors)
Amazing, right?! Here is my interview with Jill:
Urban Source: What do you find most rewarding about running your own line?
Jill Malek: First and foremost I am an artist. To be able to successfully sell my work on a commercial level and run a business is one of my most profound accomplishments.
US: Where do you find inspiration for your patterns?
Jill Malek: I am interested in capturing the patterns of movement that are found all around us. I look to nature and the animal world often for inspiration but recently, I started paying attention to recurring activities in my native New York! My patterns, LUCI DELLA CITTÀ, VOYAGEUR, and DINNER PARTY were all inspired by this dynamic city and the consistently amazing activities that take place here.
US: You seem to play a lot with scale in your patterns. Can you tell use more about this design decision?
Jill Malek: My goal is to always illustrate a story of movement and elapsed time and I believe that subtle shifts in scale across a surface help to achieve this. Additionally, I love the depth that differently scaled forms create when placed next to one another.
Baby Elephant wallpaper
US: What is your community of creative people like and how does that influence your brand?
Jill Malek: I am very blessed to be surrounded by all types of artists and designers living in Brooklyn. It’s a hotbed of creative energy and we all influence each other daily. My largest influence comes from my husband, Vram. He has (in a sense) been my silent business partner. He is involved in every pattern that I create and is intimately connected to the concept and image of my brand. Vram’s training as an architect compliments my work. His sense of logic and practicality is a nice balance to my more impulsive moves as an artist.
US: What is a typical work day like for you?
Jill Malek: On average, I divide my time between gathering samples for clients, answering emails related to pricing or wallpaper installation, generating invoicing, and reworking a pattern obsessively until I feel it’s complete. We have a 3 year old son and attending to him after school needs to be factored in as well.
Jill in her studio designing a display for her wallpapers
The end result
US: How do you come up with the names for your patterns?
Jill Malek: I’m a bit of a Francophile so many of the names of my patterns (or colorways) are French-influenced…mainly because I feel they sound more romantic! I also like to reference different music artists in my work…Madonna will be making an appearance in one of my upcoming patterns.
One of Jill’s mood boards
US: Your wallpapers are hand silkscreened, can you talk about the importance of keeping this technique current in the industry?
Jill Malek: In my opinion, there is nothing more beautiful than a hand print. A side from the rich texture that a hand silkscreen renders, the ability to showcase a variety of finishes on one surface is key for me. As my patterns are all about movement, I use a lot of gloss and metallic inks because they transform as the light hits them in different angles. With a digital print, you don’t get that complexity and the pattern itself does not come to life nor does it have the tactile quality that a traditional silkscreen has. Also, we live in a mass-marketed world, and I think people in general are craving a personalized unique piece of art to enrich their spaces. A hand-made product will always feel more special than a machine-made one.
US: What would you like people to know who are just finding out about your brand?
Jill Malek: I want clients and designers to know that I want to go on an exploration with them. I want us to dress their space together. Also, very often people want to customize my patterns for their projects…either by color, by scale, by converted commercial material, etc. I am in a unique position to provide flexibility to my audience and I love helping clients find solutions to their specific project challenges.
Jill was kind enough to give us a glimpse into her design process. Here is the mood board Jill made to help her design the pattern Dinner Party:
The end result as a wallpaper:
Here is the pattern in action, installed in a retail space:
When it comes to thoughtful design, Jill Malek definitely has a unique and powerful voice. Here at Urban Source, we are so thrilled to be able to offer the full line of Jill Malek wallpapers. Come check them out!