Congratulations to artist Junko Malley, our latest Instagram winner! Originally from Fukuoka, Japan and now based in Vancouver, Canada, Junko is a resin artist who creates jewelry, keychains, hair clips, bookmarks, coasters and other decorative items: "Resin has not only had a significant impact on my artwork, but on my life as well. Through working with resin, I was able to meet new friends from outside of Canada and Japan, and it freed me from a dull full-time job. Working with resin is also very enjoyable due to the medium's flexibility, which allows for the discovery of various styles."
Does where you're from or where you currently live influence your work?
Although I’m originally from Japan, I currently reside on the west coast of Canada. Both living in Canada, and my heritage absolutely influences the way I style my resin jewelry. I like using local plants, leafs, feathers, etc. I hope to use items from my home city when I visit my home country this year.
What's your art background? Are you self taught or did you study art?
My background is in culinary arts, but I taught myself how to work with resin through a lot of trial and error. It was quite challenging at first to get the style just right.
Are you a full time artist or do you create around work hours?
I am a full time artist. As someone who is passionate about my art, I devote all of my time and energy to it. However, I recently became a full-time mom as well, which has certainly presented its own set of challenges. Nevertheless, I am determined to continue creating and perfecting my craft, even as I balance the demands of motherhood.
What do you love about the mediums that you use?
I enjoy the flexibility of choosing what to include in my resin projects. In the springtime, I like to incorporate pressed wildflowers that I find during my walks. At other times, I use resin dyes to create unique swirls and blends. Additionally, I appreciate the ability to cast various shapes using molds or even creating custom molds.
When did you discover resin?
I discovered and took up resin artwork nearly two years ago.
Can you provide a rundown of your process?
I prefer to create my resin pieces in two layers. First, I pour the coloured artwork layer, then add a clear layer after the first layer has partly cured.
For swirls, I start with a clear layer and use a pre-dipped toothpick from another small coloured resin batch.
Sometimes, I create two coloured resin batches and pour them in different parts of the mold until they meet in the middle.
My most popular art pieces are the ocean-style keychains. I use actual sand in part of the mold, and for the white sea foam, I dip a toothpick in only white ink and then dip it into the blue resin mix. This technique produces an interesting spread effect.
Why do you want to make art? What motivates you to create?
A famous Japanese actor I frequently watch on YouTube and look up to, presented his resin art making hobby. When I first saw the incredible things he was creating using just resin, I was inspired to try working with resin. It was very difficult at first, but my husband motivated me to keep trying and hone my skills. I am grateful for the support from my husband when I first started working with resin. He played a crucial role in helping me get started and keeping me motivated throughout the learning process. I owe a great deal to his help, which allowed me to develop my skills and create unique pieces of artwork. Without his encouragement, I may not have pursued my passion for resin jewelry-making. His unwavering support has been invaluable, and I am forever thankful for it.
Does art help you in other areas of your life?
Art is a fantastic escape for me and a perfect way to decompress from a long day. I enjoy the freedom to choose a style that I'm comfortable and knowledgeable with or to try something new, just to see where it takes me. This freedom brings me solace and a sense of liberation.
What do you hope someone sees or feels when they look at your art?
Sometimes I want to try to suspend and capture the current season in time; resin can act like a time capsule. It's like preserving a moment, allowing you to revisit it in the future. This is what makes resin art so unique and special. I want those that have possession of my resin art to be able to look back into the past and reminisce about the memories and emotions they felt during that particular moment. With my art, I aim to create a tangible representation of memories and emotions, allowing them to be preserved and cherished for years to come.
How do you define success as an artist? What does success look and feel like for you?
Defining success can be difficult because it varies for each individual. However, when someone takes the time to reach out to me and express how much they love the resin jewelry they purchased from my store or at an event where I was a vendor, that feeling is what I consider success as an artist.
Where do you sell your work?
I primarily sell my work through Instagram, but I also participate in events as a vendor. I have sold my items at events such as Japan Market and Japan Sakura Festival. However, I am open to trying out completely different types of events. Additionally, I have display booths set up at North Vancouver Art Gallery, Yama Cafe, Glam Nail Studio, and The Storehouse on Main St.
To see more of Junko's work:
Follow her on Instagram: @opaque_vancouver
Congratulations on your win, Junko!
Every month, to celebrate our community of artists, ArtResin will send out a 32 oz kit to two lucky people who have tagged us on Instagram, showing the work they've created with ArtResin.
Don't forget to tag YOUR ArtResin work with @art_resin on Instagram, and YOU could be our next winner!
ArtResin: Made For Artists, By Artists.