Malaak Atkins

Bio-Artist Statement

Malaak, aka Melvin, a native of rural Louisiana, began his art career while driving thru the streets of Oakland in 1985 where he witnessed a beauty literally “walking on air as she glided ever so gracefully down the avenues!” 

So captivating was her walk that he parked just to watch her come like a gentle breeze.. He realized later that her walk was bringing to him a most valuable gift! He then went  home and tried seriously for the first time to sketch-recreate what he’d seen!  

He said that he did not try and introduce himself as it would’ve interrupted the “spirit and beauty” of  what was taking place. Having delivered the gift of art she, like a feather was gone as mysteriously she came. He never met nor can remember her face, but her stroll down the avenues became his inspiration all the art created since then (though she’ll never know it)!

Maalak’s family moved to Richmond, Ca in the early 1960’s where he attended high school and junior college before transferring to San Francisco State University on a track scholarship! He was a State Meet Competitor in the 440 yd. dash at both Harry Ells High and Contra Costa JC and moved to Marin City in 1970 live for just a few years while finishing college. 

After years of running competition and being a child of the 60’s (war protests – student strikes – sly stone – jimi hendrix – joplin) his interests turned to community activism, a daughter (Z) was born and his community involvement increased. 

Art during this period was making leather purses – belts –jewelry – peace pipes from deer antlers …which were sold at the local flea market. Friends and customers often expressed surprise and appreciation that he could produce such works. He did not really take their compliments to heart because he felt these things were something “anyone” could do! He still considers his art just something to be done when “time allows!”

Maalak holds a degree in Psychology from SFSU – Has served 3 terms as Chair of Marin City’s Local Government – And was presented with the MLK Humanitarian Award in 2003