In this series, we get to know the Artists behind the work with ten questions about their practice, their space, and their ideas. These are their Stories.
Daniel Maluka is a self-taught Toronto-based visual artist and writer. His work takes an Afrocentric approach while incorporating surrealist elements. In using his interest in the subconscious, Daniel brings what lurks in the deep recesses of the mind into the forefront of his work.
While observing your work, how does it make you feel?
When I look through my artwork, I feel an overwhelming sense of forward movement. I don’t like to draw similar subjects or similar themes too often simply because I get bored. This aspect of my practice means that even I don’t know what my work will look like in three months’ time. It is a journey of consistent discovery which keeps things exciting.
Describe why you chose your particular medium?
I work mainly with graphite, ink, watercolour, pastel, and digital tools for colouring. I choose graphite mostly because I am the most comfortable there. I enjoy lots of line work and fine detail, and graphite allows me to execute a great deal of control.
What was the first art piece you created?
Hard to say. It must have been a stick figure self-portrait done with crayon.
Your art style is unique; how did it become part of your artistry?
I am currently illustrating faces, using thin line work and overlapping images that are usually unrelated. This became part of my style due to my interest in the surreal, collages, and my avoidance of colour.
What is your process when starting a new piece?
My first step is usually nothing. I try my hardest to clear my head and not approach the piece with any preconceived notions. I like to allow my subconscious to take hold and let the ideas and flow regardless of how absurd they may seem. The moment I stopped self-censoring was when I feel I reached a new level.
What inspires you to create?
Usually it is memories, unfiltered thoughts, and weird things I hear, I often find myself drawing from sensations I don’t really have words for. I’m inspired by people, history, and specific aesthetics like retro-futurism.
Have you ever experienced a time when it was hard to create?
It has never been hard for me to create.
If art was never part of your life, where would you be?
If art wasn’t part of my life, I’m pretty sure I would be a writer. I currently bounce between both but if I didn’t have art writing of all kinds would be my focus.
How do you spend your time when you’re not creating artwork?
When I’m not making art I’m working, seeing some friends, going to art shows, meditating, and generally trying to get inspired.
When you are working, what do you listen to, if any?
Madlib, Miles Davis, or a soccer podcast.