Each week I speak to a Norwich local making an impact on the visual arts. This week, artist Malca Schotten.

1. How would you best describe your role within the arts community?

Up until my last project in 2017, I was focused on creating large scale drawings projects for public venues. Subjects I felt needed exposure outside of a typical, gallery space.

I think its important to see and experience art as a part of everyday life, to enrich our surroundings and to encourage people think.

Now, age 60, I feel that I belong to part of a group of individual artists, several are female artists/writers and mothers in Norwich, still ploughing the long field still with curiosity and dedication. Individually we are just getting on with the business of making work, as the clock keeps ticking.

2. What do you love so much about the Norwich art scene?

I have been in Norwich for 30 years, and have thankfully seen a huge improvement in the arts scene over the last 10.

I’m also delighted to be a part of the City of Stories Mural Trail, I think the BID does a great job, and hope to see more genuine and cutting edge murals particularly from real ‘mural artists’ making work in the wider and more deprived areas of Norwich.

3. How did you get where you are in your career?

I grew up with the creative influences of my European parents. Surrounded by art and artists, with a non-stop supply of blank dummy drawing books, brought home by our father from arts publishing house where he worked.

Being pretty rubbish at school, all I could do/wanted to do was sports and and go to art school.

There was never a question of not being an artist, and I just thought somehow I would survive.

I was lucky enough to get a job with my father when I left art school, where my desire to be an artist was supported.

Being driven and persistent also accounts for some of the reasons why I am still drawing and painting today.

4. What advice would you give to aspiring creatives?

I would say that no matter what discipline you are interested in, follow your own agenda, but be open to whats going on around you without letting current fashions dictate.

Learn from those who have gone before you, especially the masters.

Look up and around you everyday, without your phone.

Keep thinking with you brain not your phone.

Draw, draw, look around you and draw some more.

And of course think about surviving; money is unfortunately a necessity!

5. What does an average weekday look like for you?

If I am not working my PAYE jobs, I will be up early morning for a walk with headphones, taking in the small details of my local surrounding, and fuelling my thoughts for drawings, and the day in hand, before returning home to my studio for the day.

6. Where is your favourite spot in Norwich?

Apart from my studio, it has to be The Sainsbury Centre for the Visual Arts, and its surroundings.

In October 2021, I became a part time gallery invigilator there too. Someone asked me if I ever get bored; absolutely never; to be surrounded by the collection, current exhibitions, reading and sketching in the quiet moments, and meeting the public - heaven to me!

7. Can you name one East Anglian creative whose work you admire?

It goes without saying that in the visual arts: Bruer Tidman. An extraordinary draughtsman, painter and colourist.

But also I must mention the three extraordinary musicians that are the musical phenomenon the Neutrinos/Klanghaus. I have no words to express how proud I feel that we have them and their extraordinary talent and generosity of performance and passion for the arts in our city.

8. What’s the best exhibition you have been to in East Anglia recently?

Recently, I would have to predictably say Rhythm and Geometry, Leiko Ikemura, including the sculpture trail with the stunning new Leiko Ikemura and the Grayson Perry: The Pre-Therapy Years.

For more, follow...
@malcaschotten on Instagram

You can see Malca's work as part of a group show Abstract Meets Landscape, at Gallery East, in Woodbridge, opening March 5.