My name is Danielle de Clerk, I was born in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1988 and I’m currently living in Pretoria East. I am self-taught and very dedicated to my work. I’ve had several solo and group exhibitions throughout Gauteng and also Paris and London. I’ve been painting professionally since 2008 but I don’t see my artworks as ‘work’. At the end of the day, the satisfaction I find in creating them prevails.
Phosphenes are the rings or spots of light that you see with your eyes closed. They occur because of pressure on the eyeball, looking into concentrated light or when you feel dizzy. Phosphenes, known as the ‘Prisoner’s Cinema’, are also experienced by meditators or people who are confined to darkness for long periods of time. In having no other visual stimulation, they have reported seeing vivid figures and shapes arise out of the spots of light. In ancient practices of meditation, called a ‘Dark Retreat’, practitioners have reported that Phosphenes are clues to the innermost workings of the Universe.
In my artworks, I draw a comparison between Phosphenes (the experience of seeing light without light actually entering the eye) and Imagination (the faculty of forming mental images or concepts of what is not actually present to the senses.)
My true reason for painting is not only to express myself to the fullest extent, but to broaden my audience’s imagination and have them form their own unique ideas about what they see in my work, as one could form ideas and images out of the spots of light seen behind closed eyes.
My style of paintings is characterized by the thick spattered texture and the absence of line and form. I feel that in giving the onlookers as little detail and subject as possible which complicate the painting, they can form larger and clearer opinions of their own. I’d like to compare this visual simplicity to the sensory deprivation that occurs during the ‘Dark Retreat.’
The term ‘Prisoner’s Cinema’ also intrigues me…
Aren’t artworks a kind of escape from our boxed-in routined lives?
I begin an artwork by preparing it with a thick basecoat, then I sit back and watch as the canvas tells me what it wants to become like a movie. I do this regularly while painting. Colours, lines and shapes in the paint guide each other to a final destination. My favourite part of the technique I use is the smaller, less obvious images that appear spontaneously in the spattered and dripped paint. If you look at a painting up close, you will see all kinds of strange faces, animals and objects that have ‘created themselves’ in the texture. As Pablo Picasso put it: “Everything you can imagine is real.”
Maybe, if Phosphenes give us clues to the innermost workings of the Universe, Art can teach us something about the innermost workings of ourselves.
Please visit my website for up-to-date prices and information on my available artworks as well as my full portfolio. You will find it by typing Danielle de Clerk into a Search Engine. Enjoy!