Chloe Malay's Art on Black Culture

Chloe Malay is a DMV-based visual artist who is soon to be working out of Atlanta. Malay’s work focuses specifically on the themes of  black culture and black intimacy. She recently had the opportunity to create the cover art for rapper Smino’s latest single “Tempo.” Read our interview with Chloe below in which we discuss this opportunity, her artistic roots, and her future career.

How long have you been pursuing art? Has your style evolved over time?

I’ve been drawing and creating practically since i came out of the womb [laughs]. I didn’t take it seriously until 2016, in my freshman year of high school. My style has definitely evolved. I wouldn’t even call it concrete yet because there are so many different types of styles I like to dabble in depending on what I’m creating, the subject of my work, and what mediums I’m working in. I always naturally flourish towards realism though.

Who and what are the greatest inspirations behind your work?

I’m really inspired by the black community and people around me. Other black artists like Kehinde Wiley, one of my close friends Gabby Clark (@ratbazoid/@eyratboi) and my beliefs. [Also] musical artists and embodying their sound into visual art.

Do you have a certain piece that you’re most proud of? Or just a personal favorite?

Probably between my piece for Smino’s “Tempo” and my piece “Hair Day.”

What was it like having the opportunity to create the cover art for Smino’s “Tempo”?

It was kind of crazy [laughs.] I didn’t even believe it until i saw the cover on Apple Music and I was so excited because Smino’s one of, if not my favorite artist. All I’ve ever wanted to do was create art that grabs people’s attention towards social issues, or stuff that just makes others happy. The process was also a little nerve-wrecking because it was my first time working in a professional environment so i had to make an invoice, change the pixels of the piece digitally to fit as an album cover, etc. But ultimately, I figured it out!

Yeah I bet that was a huge accomplishment! What else do you hope to achieve over time in your art career?

I really hope to work with other artists/rappers on covers that may be a little different than digital ones, bringing attention to paintings & mixed media art as covers. I also want to keep emphasizing my use of black culture and black intimacy in my work. I’m currently working on a series of paintings focusing on growing up as a black man in America and the different perspectives of that [experience]. I should be done with it in May and hopefully have a showcase for it.

Malay's cover for "Tempo"


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