Name Danielle Clough
Birth date 23 April
Where are you originally from? South Africa
Where do you currently live? South Africa
Preferred art medium Embroidery
Hobby or interest aside from art? Photography has become my hobby again after it was a neglected ‘career’.
Guilty pleasures? Bad TV, Sleeping on and under a blanket at the same time. Like a blanket sandwich, playing word games on my phone, badly painted porcelain animals, red wine and sherbert.
Who are some of your favorite artists? Ello X-ray Eyes, Tyler B Murphy, Lynnie Zulu
Favorite movie? This is also a guilt pleasure; Pain and Gain
Favorite book? I struggle to finish books but at the moment I love reading ‘The book of Human emotions’
Favorite song/album/band/musician? I will always love Max Normal; Good old fashioned loving
What are 3 things you want to achieve? Short term: Doing drawing, ceramic, printing and any other learning or course. Mid term: Getting on top of admin and doing an artist residence. Long term: Owning a home
What is something you deeply love about yourself? I really like my freckles. I think I’d be envious of people with freckles if I didn’t have any.
“It’s a slow rhythmic indulgence in colour.”
How has Instragram worked for you as an artist?
Instagram is really the base of my work. I now treat it as my portfolio and my main communication tool. I was put on as a feature user December 2015, which opened up a massive amount of exposure and work for me. It put my hobby/ craft on an international platform and I started getting jobs based on work I wanted to do.
Briefly describe the circumstances under which you grew up
My mother and I have always been very close. I grew up feeling like we were a team. All of my parents work hard.
How do you think these circumstances influenced your art?
My mother has been relentlessly supportive and honest. Even when she didn’t get something she would say that she didn’t get it, but she can ‘see the appeal’, or my favorite ‘Its very YOU’. I think this gave me a confidence and understanding that not everyone is going to get you, but they will probably be nice about it. I learnt later the world is not so kind, but by that time I wasn’t so affected by it. I also witnessed my mothers incredible work ethic and joy she feels for her work. I can acknowledge what it is now, but I think it translated differently when I was young. I never needed anything, but if there was anything I wanted I would work for it. That was just the system, and it wasn’t a chore, it was like an activity. My first job was handing out balloons when I was 11 at a restaurant and then when I was 14 I worked at an Ice-cream parlor with friends. Work has just been this outlet for my energy and being able to do or have the things that I desired.
What would you say are your artwork’s main themes?
Flora, Fauna, Faces. Anything organic with a lot of colour and a pinch of humour.
“I felt so guilty for my sadness [...] He said that it was ok to be emotional, that I was an artist and these emotions are what will make me great.”
What are you trying to communicate with your art?
If I can be honest Im not trying to tell anyone anything with my craft. Maybe Im selfish, but I am doing the things that I enjoy and that excite me in one way or another. I get involved in work or projects that I feel are positive and align with my values, and I guess if that seeps through and a few people find it relatable or get a little sunshine for a moment then that’s perfect.
(Certain) Artists tend to have a stereotype attached to them of being dramatic with addictive personalities. What do you feel about this assumption?
My dad and I had a really beautiful moment when I was young and going through a difficult break up. I felt so guilty for my sadness and also thought that it was my massive amount of ‘feelings’ that drove my then boyfriend away. He said that it was ok to be emotional, that I was an artist and those emotions are what will make me great. It was a big break through, realizing that this tangled ball of feelings was an asset. I think that this ‘sensitivity’ to the world around an artistic person is perhaps what gives them the stereotype of dramatic or having addictive personalities.
“We are visually flooded and so much disposable art is consumed, and great art is made disposable.”
As an artist, do you find yourself drawn to any addictive disorder?
I can be quite compulsive about my work, and always want to be producing something.
Have you had any struggle with mental illness and if so, would you like to share your experience with us?
I have mild adult ADD, which I have only really realized recently. It was such a relief and explained so much. I think its often missed in women easily and swept under the rug as ‘those ditsy creative ladies’. Its probably the reason why I cant sit still for too long, finish a book or have a 9-5, but in a massive way its my gift. In hindsight, its probably the reason I have made certain decisions (like quitting jobs) that has led me to my craft.
On a side note, I have schizophrenia in my family, as do many people, and have grown up with very honest candid conversations around mental disorders. I feel very strongly about that fact that we lack empathy for imbalance, disorders and diseases we cannot see. If we see someone who is blind, or missing legs we can put ourselves in that position and instantly sympathize but with mental issues we obviously cant. We can't channel one another's emotions or thoughts without being limited to our own experience, and guarded. I think its important to be mindful of this, so that we and the people around us can live with kindness.
“I have mild adult ADD, which I have only really realized recently. It was such a relief and explained so much. I think its often missed in women easily and swept under the rug as ‘those ditsy creative ladies’.”
Artists paths are normally non-linear. Can you recall for us what your path has been like?
I always wanted to do fashion design and did an alternative minor so that I had an advantage when I started studying fashion. I lasted 2 weeks but it wasn’t for me. I knew what it was to love what I was doing, and I didn’t love fashion. I was going to ‘stick it out’ but realized that as soon as you decide to ‘stick something out’ that’s probably the moment you should stop doing it. This was the first time I had the courage to listen to my instincts and make a drastic decision. I dropped out.
I’ve done a ton of different things and when something hasn’t worked, its just been a part of my process of elimination. There have been a lot of significant moments, but all of them come from a fluidity that I have found. The fluidity that comes with listening to yourself and following your intuition.
What kind of patterns, routines or rituals do you have to keep the creative juices flowing?
I think I feel the most fluid and ‘inspired’ – for lack of a better word – with freedom. No pressure of deadlines or places to be, but just enough space to have an idea and maybe ‘show up’ for it.
“I was going to ‘stick it out’ but realized that as soon as you decide to ‘stick something out’ that’s probably the moment you should stop doing it.”
If you could change one thing in how the world works, what would it be?
I would give everyone an abundance of empathy and confidence in their own identity. If everyone were comfortable with their own identity, sexuality and culture they would then have the capacity to be empathetic to others needs and differences. The things that make us different would be assets and people would have the ability to listen. We would be flooded with kindness.
What is your opinion of the art world as it is right now? is there anything you'd like to change?
Im not to clued up on the art world to be honest.
How do you think the internet aids/complements the art world? and how do you think it deteriorates it?
At the moment what the internet gains in exposure points, it loses in mediocrity. We are visually flooded and so much disposable art is consumed, and great art is made disposable.
I’ve noticed a trend in hand-crafted work and artisanal products (such as craft beers) that come with a story that I think is a kick-back from this flippant digital world. People seem to be longing for something tangible. I don’t have a set opinion on this, because I see the ‘cyber realm’ as an organic beast. Growing, changing, opening, closing.
“I feel very strongly about that fact that we lack empathy for diseases we cannot see. If we see someone who is blind, or missing legs we can put ourselves in that position and instantly sympathize, but with mental issues we obviously cant.”
What draws you towards your particular art medium?
My mother used to sow clothes so I've been around fabric and thread my entire life. It’s the medium I’m most comfortable with. It’s a slow rhythmic indulgence in colour. It makes sense to me.
How have you developed your own unique style?
I sort of stumbled onto my medium and developed it slowly over time. I’m self-taught so I have never known the rules. I think this has given me more room to play. All the best discoveries and inspirations have come with this playing.
What is the main obstacle you have had to overcome as an artist?
“I’m self-taught so I have never known the rules. I think this has given me more room to play.”
Find her Work Here: