Dayfeels is the nom de plume of South African photographer and artist Amor Coetzee, whose work draws inspiration from the landscape, ocean and properties of water. It comes as no surprise that one would get a deep sense of calm when they encounter any of her work; whether it’s her colour palette or sketching technique.
The Cape Town based artist has a penchant for moody imagery – through illustration and photography and there is a significant softness that makes up her overall aesthetic.
We had to have a chat with her about some of the things that make Dayfeels.
1. How did your upbringing influence your work?
I would say that I come from quite a liberal and creative family. My father is a business man by profession but have always been a passionate and creative being by nature and lover of music. He taught me so much about appreciating the beauty of sound. One of my fondest memories while growing up is evenings spent sitting next to him listening to Cat Stevens or Pink Floyd. My beautiful mother has always been a lover of the arts and the walls in my childhood home were always filled with artworks. I also think that growing up in a small town and on a farm taught me a great deal about how to be introspective and focus on the simple things at a very young age. Drawing inspiration from nature and my surroundings and always having time to think and reflect. All of these have been invaluable and I am so grateful to have had the childhood I had.
2. What has been your creative journey?
My creative journey started at a really young age. When I was a child I used to draw a lot. I would make up stories and spend hours illustrating them. The day my father bought a video camera was when things started to stir in my soul and my passion and love for the arts grew stronger and stronger. I then went on to study Photography and fine art, moved to the big city to pursue a career as a portrait and fashion photographer and ended up building and working with Greg Dale to open an art installation gallery called Commune1. A few years later I found myself sitting behind a computer screen, unhappy and uninspired. This is how Dayfeels was born. Out of pure lust of creating again and as they say, the rest is history.
3. Who are your favourite artists (Local and international)?
This changes often. At the moment I’m keeping my eye on Alexandra Karakashian. A very talented local artist.
4. Your work feels deeply personal, even down to the names of the series: “Bodies” and “Shygirl” – what was the process of choosing the names and your subject matter?
I’ve always been an avid people watcher and observer. My work mostly deals with subtle gestures and body language that often go unnoticed. There are certain characters that are extremely personal and some are sort of a mix of my friends, family and strangers.
5. How much of it is about your own life and/ or personal story?
The ongoing narrative in my work is of a woman coming to terms with her own self worth, strength and vulnerability. I’d like to think that this female character is a reflection of my own personal growth and finding my strength again after having gone through sexual and emotional abuse in the past. I try not to make these characters too “heavy” or serious and often portray them in a more playful less obvious way. Giving them strength through vulnerability- if that makes sense?
What is most important to me is that other women see themselves in her and find comfort in her strength and vulnerability.
6. How would you define your aesthetic?
Clean, minimal, calm.
7. You work with ceramics, how long have you been working with this medium and how does it compare to your photography and illustration work?
Ceramics have always been part of my life in one way or the other but became more of a serious career path about 2 years ago. It actually happened by mistake after attending evening classes at TAB studio in Bo Kaap. This is where my love of the craft developed and I have been obsessed since then. In comparison to my illustration and photography, I would say that there is a definite connection between the two when it comes to aesthetics. I stick to a very muted palette and have started painting my illustrations on some of the pieces.
8. The words “calm” and “power” come to light when looking at your work, how do you explore these ideas in what you do?
I believe there is a lot of strength in calmness and vulnerability. If anything, I always want my work to come across as authentic and genuine and I personally find that communicating a more gentle narrative is more true to who I am.
9. And finally, what are you currently working on? Any exciting things coming up in the near future?
Currently, I am working on an exciting fashion collaboration with Hannah Lavery to create a bespoke range of women’s wear.