Living in Bath, Dannie works full time as well as studying for a degree, in her spare time she enjoys drawing, writing poetry and other creative things. Dannie’s work is very labour intensive and focuses a lot on creating texture with lines at the moment, she wants her work to be about femininity, fertility and duality (light/dark, life/death, strong/soft).
Where do your ideas come from?
My creative writing module at uni taught me to pay attention to everything to harvest inspiration, so it can come from things like my own personal experiences with life, song lyrics, poetry, other artist’s work, and overheard conversation, a reflection.. at the moment I’ve been taking a lot of inspiration from the phases of the moon.
What is the most memorable response someone has given about your work?
Someone messaged me recently to tell me that my work inspires them to keep creating. That’s amazing. I love hearing any kind of feedback, it’s so lush that someone would take the time out of their day to say something, whatever that may be. All I’ve ever wanted is to create stuff that might help or inspire someone else, so that message blew me away.
Who are the three artists that you are loving at the moment?
I will always love Katsushika Hokusai. His designs are so clean, dynamic and way ahead of where western art was at the time.
Rachel Whiteread was and is an amazing sculpture/installation artist. The way she brings attention to and completely transforms negative space is amazing.
My favourite instagram artist right now is darktransmissions. I love how he plays with balance and his designs are totally creepy and haunting.
Any obstacles you have faced?
My main obstacle is myself. I was diagnosed with anxiety at 16 and depression at 18. In a way they’ve been both obstacles and inspiration. It’s truly rough sometimes, but I wouldn’t change anything.
Did you feel that your mental health affected your perspective towards art?
My mental health issues have been detrimental to my art. They have made me question my abilities and judge myself far too harshly or they’ve left me paralysed, numb, unable to see anything through the dark, unable to even think about creating anything. How are you supposed to create new things when every ounce of energy you have is focused on staying alive? But eventually, those feeling subside, even if only for a little while. In those moments of lucidity, I’m able to unpack the feelings, and the physical sensations that come with them, and find ways to communicate them through my work.
How has that experience inspired you?
At some point it became a choice between get out of bed and try or just stop trying altogether. I forced myself, piece by tiny piece, to start being myself again. My doctor did everything they could, they arranged therapy, self-help groups, mindfulness classes and medication. Drawing was a new coping mechanism. When I’m focused on line work, it’s like tunnel vision. Everything external becomes white noise and I can zone out and just exist for a while without any symptoms. It sounds cheesy, but that’s the time when I’m most ‘myself’.
What advice would you give to someone in a similar position?
Take it slow and be kind to yourself. You might not be able to do all the things you used to do but that’s fine. Take things piece by piece. Some times you might feel as though you fall right back to where you started, but it’s all part of it. Life has never been straight-forward. Every little action you take to look after yourself is a victory. You might feel overwhelmed and that you can’t get through the day, but you managed every other day up until now and you’ll be able to get through this one too.