I feel I need to use this creative power
to positively influence our world.
So, my name is Dom de Villiers. I am currently 22 years of age and living in Kommetjie. I am a third-year art student at The Creative Academy and a surfboard shaper. I love to make things with my hands as much as possible and think deeply about whatever I am making. Be it a surfboard or an artwork. Through my time in university, surfboard shaping came into my life, and if it wasn’t for all the creative freedom I have developed through my studies, I don’t think I would be here now.
Since I can remember, my biggest inspiration for work and for life has been nature. It might sound cliche, but I frikken love nature and all that it teaches me every day. So when making work or going for a walk, nature brings ideas and thoughts and feelings for myself and my creativity. A lot of the work that I make is based around sustainability as well as spirituality; I am trying to draw the parallel between the two, on a physical and conceptual level. Hence, some work is more conceptually based. The surfboards came out of a love of functional art, kind of like nature; so beautiful and so functional. I am, too, on a sustainable journey through my shaping career, using materials and processes that are less harmful than the traditional ways of surfboard building.
In the last year, I have actually been drawing quite a bit and felt quite pulled towards drawing. I am busy experimenting with different ways to draw and different materials to draw with. Alongside this, I guess sculpture is also one of my favourite mediums.
When making an artwork, my process is often very instant and I try to make the final artwork shortly after thinking about it. For example, if a drawing idea comes up, I may do a small sketch to test out what I want, but often, I tend to go with intuition and let the creative process guide me through the work. This leaves me with an unclear idea of the final artwork which excites me as I feel out of control of the final work, kind of giving the work its own life. I feel like a channel for creativity to flow through, more than me being the creative. For surfboards, depending on the level of freedom I have with a board, I kind of work the same. For my own boards, I will let the process take me and have a vague idea of what I want out of the board, and basically see what comes out. For customers, it’s different obviously, but the more freedom I get for boards, the more fun.
To be an artist, one accepts that change is the only constant. There is no ‘given’ security through being an artist. This security speaks to financial security as well as the security of being successful. Each day is different and each day is a lesson. This has been the most interesting and eye-opening experience through this artist journey. It is a whole lot of fun as well. To accept and encourage change grows one to be stronger and more resilient through interesting patches in one’s career and life. Through this change comes this amazing feeling of freedom as one does not need to stick to any given rules or agendas. One is able to make your own rules up as you go along.
When attending opening night gallery shows, when the artist showing is present and open to conversation, it makes me feel very included in the work, and it becomes more communal. I really love the notion of community, so attending a group show is always a treat, as the curation of the show involves a sense of community. This sense of togetherness and working as a group often leaves me with an excitement to be a part of something like that. Often, exhibitions and markets and shows are collectively created and involve many hands.
My journey through art has been an organic process and has taken me places that I never thought I’d be, so to think about where I would like it to take me is quite daunting. I do, however, ponder upon this future of my art career, and if anything, I’d like art to take me to paths of sustainability and community. Working alongside people, creating interesting things and spaces for people to learn about the harmony between ourselves and the Earth, the symbiosis of all things living. Be it through exhibitions or workshops or giant installations, I would like to let art take me places in the world to share my knowledge and love for unity, as well as learn more from other artists and innovators. Collaboration is key! This ties in with surfboards as I feel that the sustainability movement within surfing is starting to pick up, therefore I would love for my surfboards to expand and influence other surfers and creatives to progress in a sustainable manner.
I feel that my purpose is to show that we are all one. There is such a strong sense of unity I feel between ourselves and not only the earth, but the entire universe. This is always the basis of my work, and I feel that it is my job to delicately share this feeling with the world, and welcome people into the community once more. We have been blessed with the ability to create things that were once unimaginable, thus I feel I need to use this creative power to positively influence our world.
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