In conversation with: DANIEL MALAN
Cape Town based artist, Daniel Malan, headlines our latest collaboration for our fifth collection, FW21, 'Exploring'. We chat to Daniel about his love for black coffee, Tokyo and surveillance footage. Keep reading to find out more...
FIELDS: Do you recall what it was that first sparked your interest in art and more so, how you cultivated your skill?
DM: My mother went to art school and my father worked in advertising so I was born into a family of creatives. As a child there were endless reams of paper and mountains of Lego. In high-school I had two very influential teachers and the decision to pursue a creative career was made.
FIELDS: Many creatives have resorted to using instagram to look at the world and find inspiration. Where do you seek inspiration these days?
DM: I’ve always loved books. In the last two years I’ve started an online bookstore specialising in African art and design. I am constantly paging through books filled with inspiring imagery.
FIELDS: You’ve done some travelling, what project has been your career highlight?
DM: I worked in the Louis Vuitton menswear department after finishing my art degree. I worked on projects with James Jebbia in New York and Hiroshi Fujiwara in Tokyo.
FIELDS: What are you working on at the moment?
DM: I’ve just finished ten works for the Cape Town Art Fair and I am now preparing for a two man show with my brother opening in December.
FIELDS: What would you like to do more of in the future?
DM: I would love to do more collaborative work like what I’ve done now with FIELDS while completing my masters degree.
FIELDS: What do you look for when investing in a piece of clothing?
DM: Timeless cuts in interesting fabrics, young brands with a unique perspective. I love what Book Works are doing at the moment.
FIELDS: How did your collaboration with FIELDS come about?
DM: A friend and fellow artist Ben Eagle put us in touch. A couple emails and coffees later our collaboration had begun.
FIELDS: Tell us about your piece for FIELDS, how you visualised it versus the outcome?
DM: I’ve done a number of drawings of playgrounds over the years. Often from surveillance footage accessed online. These playgrounds have been located in places such as Japan and Russia. For this drawing I took a photo of a jungle gym on a drive towards Melkbos. When I sat down with Mikael I said let’s zoom in on the drawing so that the jungle gym becomes an abstracted field of lines. We decided on a colour palette and line weight and FIELDS went to work. When I finally interacted with the piece I was delighted. There’s a lot of play and movement in the piece.
FIELDS: How did you interpret the fundamental message of ‘Exploring’ for this collaboration?
DM: The source material for my drawing is a jungle gym found on a drive. I love getting out into the world and exploring. Side streets in Cape Town and surveillance cameras around the world. I think the idea of a flaneur is something everyone should embrace.
FIELDS: What message did you hope to communicate with your image?
DM: The image and its interpretation in the garment, for me, communicates a spirit or play and movement that we should approach life with.
Favourite city in the world
All-time favourite artist or photographer:
Looking at my shelf, the most books I have on any one artist is David Hockney but it’s so hard to pick. As for a photographer, I’ve always admired the humour in the work of Elliot Erwitt.
What would you never wear?
Your favourite piece from the FIELDS collection?
I picked up a Cotton Henley T-shirt at the start of the year and it’s been a staple in my wardrobe ever since. My collaboration has to be my favourite though. It brings a smile to my face every time I put it on.
Being an artist in South Africa is….
Being part of diverse and relevant movement
What are you listening to at the moment?
Drink of choice?