Chad Machaya is Connection Arts Space’s latest exhibiting artist. His exhibit, ‘Blue Blood’ (May 25th- June 8th) explores the intrinsic connection between the figurative and the abstract. It delves into the elements of death, love and religion as well as the beauty in life’s mundanity.
We sat down with Chad to discuss his background, his work and his artistic influences.
Chad Nicholas Machaya.
A 28-year-old artist who was born in the south Indian town of Hyderabad, grew up in Melbourne, inspired by a tattooed doctor, looks up to a legendary Melbourne artist, and is fulfilling his late grandfather’s legacy.
The life story of our featured artist is as fascinating as his art. His art embodies his struggles, his experiences, his love. The art is bold, and it will make you experience the different layers of thought and emotion that have gone into creating it.
Why do you paint?
I find myself painting because it’s something that I do to feed my soul, it’s my therapy. When I’ve completed a session of painting, I feel like I’ve contributed something to the world. It gives me belief and confidence in myself, and an outlet to express emotions. It feels very much like the endorphins that fill your body after you finish working out or like being on a drug. The more I paint, the more worthwhile I feel about myself. Like the American writer Charles Bukowski once said, “I would do it for free even if no one paid me. In fact, I’d pay to do it.”
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I was born Hyderabad, India, and I came to Australia when I was 4. Growing up, I always liked art, but I never took it seriously. I had a short attention span, so I didn’t find myself drawing much. Up until maybe a year or so ago, not many people knew I was an artist or that I could even draw.
I believe I was passed down this gift from God and my great grandfather, Stacey, who passed away shortly after receiving an acceptance for his first solo exhibition. I feel like by doing this, I fulfil his legacy and my own. Right now I am 28, and have had a wide range of jobs so far in my life. However, over the past few years, I have felt a calling to social work and community services. I feel very blessed in my life and only feel right to help those in less fortunate situations.
Sustaining an artistic practice has always been my goal, and wherever I go from this point, I am happy to take that with me.
Tell us about one of your paintings.
Well, I think it would only be right to talk about the Graeme Ills painting because the proposal I put forward to the gallery was to do this painting. In 2011, I was playing with the idea of becoming a tattoo artist. At the time, I loved art, but I couldn’t comprehend how the artists were creating such simplistic designs that looked so flawless and fit the skin so well. One afternoon, I was in a newsagency and found a magazine filled with the Graeme Illes’ designs and I was instantly hooked. Sometime later, due to many years of heavy marijuana use and other recreational drugs, I developed schizophrenia and a mild bipolar condition. I had to spend the better half of a month in a psychiatric facility under observation and medication. I found myself with nothing to do but draw and copy images from Graeme’s Flash Book. It was at this time I was inspired and decided to develop my skills as an artist to become a professional tattoo artist. During my treatment, a doctor from the hospital (who had a full body of Japanese tattoos and created comic books as a hobby) commented that studying a visual art or graphic design course would benefit me and my aspirations. It’s from this point that I first played with the idea of going to art school, but I didn’t go through with it until about three years later. You can say that buying that magazine was what first put everything into motion. Since then, I have met with Graeme and heard many stories of his and from other sources about how he pioneered the art form of tattooing in Melbourne. Although I don’t have aspirations to work in the tattoo industry at this point, those crucial points in my life have brought me here now.
What is the most interesting thing about you?
Well, to date I don’t know if I have very many interesting things to state about myself, although I have lived a very colourful life until this point. One thing I think is worth mentioning is that the first painting I have completed since primary school was in 2014. I wanted to impress a girl who noticed my drawing skills and complimented me on them. I went to the nearest discount store and bought cheap watercolours and painted her with her favourite flowers. At the time, I had no money and thought that if I can’t buy her flowers, I could at least paint them for her. It seemed to work because we have now been together for the last four years.
Find Chad on social media (Instagram- @cmtheartist).