Because we believe in unique craftsmanship, we decided to collaborate with artist Malou Kalay. When Malou discovered her creative talent, she decided to make her dream come true by starting her own company; something Jenest owners Annelotte and Melanie recognize themselves in. Malou creates watercolour artcards- and prints, often fascinated by animals and insects. Inspired by Jenest, Malou painted a beautiful little swallow, which symbolizes hope, freedom and the wish to always return home (the nest) safely. Because of our collaboration, we asked Malou a few personal questions about her inspiration and her own nest, which you can read below. Shop the swallow artcard here.
1) Introduce yourself, please!
My name is Malou Kalay, I am 35 years old. In search for the real Malou, I decided to go on an adventure and make my dreams come true. I made a career switch and left my job as a police officer to become an artist. I moved to Amsterdam where I currently live in a tiny but cute studio apartment in the middle of so called 'de Pijp’. Two years ago I started my business with a collection of artprints and artcards from my watercolor paintings. By now, I have my own webshop and my collections are sold in several concept stores in the Netherlands.
2) Describe yourself in 3 words
Creative, Sincere, Sentimentalist.
3) Can you tell us more about ‘your nest’?
I was born and raised together with my older sister in Arnhem. Until I was 15 years old I lived with both my mother and father. My father was from Turkey (hence my last name) and my mother is Dutch. We did not have a normal family, unfortunately my ‘Nest’ was not a stable and safe home. My father was hardly ever home so my mother basically took care of us by herself. My father was, even though hardly ever there, dominantly present in our home. My mother ended up doing most by herself and was always struggling to survive. At a later stage she went back to school to become a teacher. We struggled financially and because of that we had several problems and little opportunities. Luckily all of this made us very creative and we always made sure our home was cozy and fun. There was a lot of music, dancing, games and crafts. We cooked delicious food and everyone was welcome. I therefore remembermostly lots of cuddles, laughs and fun.
4) Did you already love painting when you were a child?
It wasn’t especially painting that I loved to do. Just being creative was always my niche: entertaining, performing arts, crafts, drawing and painting. I created everything and anything. As a child my family struggled financially so I had to be creative to keep myself entertained. Until 3 years ago, I never really realized that I had a talent for painting.
5) What is it that you like about insects and animals?
All animals are beautiful, I just love to observe and paint them. While drawing I realize even more how beautiful they are. The wings of insects fascinate me, they are so tender and delicate in colour. For this reason I wanted to paint a dragonfly with watercolor paint. The dragonfly was my first watercolor painting and after that I was hooked and continued with the other insects. For me, it just has to be a beautiful picture and not to predictive. What I mostly look for is beautiful colour and shade compositions. It doesn’t matter if it’s an animal or an object. My new collection ‘The power of the Signs’ includes several objects, for example vintage scales, a Virgin Mary ornament and a bow and arrow.
6) If you could make a wish, what would it be?
That all my dreams may come true.