Hall of fame | Daandrey Steyn | Sasol New Signatures

Hall of fame | Daandrey Steyn

Tell us a bit about your winning work, conceptual concerns and processes.

The artwork I entered for the 2010 Sasol New Signatures competition was entitled “Skeumorph”. It was, what I call, a “Morph-Motion” video artwork. The process involves taking two still photos and forcing them to morph into one another.

Skeumorph is archaeological term for an object made in a form similar to that which it would have had if it had been made in another material - the close copying of form and function in a substitute material. In other words taking an original object like a cast iron bucket and casting it in plastic.

In the work Skeumorph I sourced images of Julius Malema and Eugene Terreblanche and slowly morphed these two iconic political figures with each other. In my opinion they were both political extremists on opposing sides, so to speak, and serve as the iconographical embodiments of their respective ideologies. They are opposite sides of the same coin and form a mutually symbiotic environment in which the one "feeds" off of the controversy created by the other. In a manner of speaking the one can't exist without the other and in essence they are exactly the same just on different sides. Both are radical extremists clutching to dated ideological beliefs. They embody the same form and function, yet only made with substituted materials, as the title Skeumorph suggests.

Did winning the competition assist in launching your career as an artist?

Achieving the runner-up in 2010 was a tremendous boost for my career. The most obvious of this was the publicity it generated (both good and bad). This positioned me in a way that generated more exhibition opportunities. The monetary winnings from the competition also funded further art creation that further generated exhibitions and exposure. Yet palpably the most valuable gain from the experience was the boost to my confidence as an artist. Gaining the confidence to create the art I want and need to create and being recognized for it provided the strength to keep on producing.

A side effect that I didn’t really expect (in my naivety) from receiving this accolade was the negative backlash of the work. The political nature of the artwork struck a nerve in certain political circles and receiving the publicity it did placed it in the public eye beyond the exhibition for a while. During this time there were very vocal and public comments made about the work, not all of them flattering.

How has your art making changed over the years?

The “new” technique (Morph-Motion)  that I utilized in 2010 to create Skeumorph has become the staple of my artistic career. Over the last 10 years I have refined and explored the concept of morphing and utilized it in many different ways and created much more ambitious projects, but it is still based on the core technique I explored in 2010.

How important a platform is Sasol New Signatures?

The Sasol New Signatures competition is vital for the growth of artistic talent in South Africa. It provides not only a great launching pad for fledgling careers, but it also provides imputes for up and coming artists. The competition provides a reason to make art and gives un-exhibited artists an opportunity to exhibit and be seen.

How many times did you enter the competition?

I entered the Sasol New Signatures competition 4 times unsuccessfully. My work never got picked for the final exhibition, and it was only on my 5th attempt in 2010 that my work made it onto the show.

What have you achieved since the 2010 competition? 

I have had a consistent exhibition record since 2010 that included an exhibition at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, University College of Artesis in Antwerp, Belgium, and achieving a top 10 position in the international L’Atelier Art Award. I have also attained my Master's degree in Fine Arts since.

Are you involved in any mentorships, community projects or other developmental opportunities?

Not in a private capacity at the moment. Being a lecturer in the creative field I feel that I do take part in the mentorship and development of young creatives.

What advice do you have for other artists young or old wanting to make their career as an artist?

Persevere! If you believe in your work then never give up. Always try again.