We’ve become intrigued by the the sculpture of Cape Town-based artist Daniella Mooney since we saw her witty desk lamp carved out of wood – called ‘Romance of Many Dimensions’ (that’s it, below) – in the Bo-Kaap home featured in our latest issue. She is definitely a young artist to watch. Her recent show of sculpture, ‘Maybe Your Magic Is Working’, at Whatiftheworld included these ‘Fireworks’ (above), made out of different wood, a fountain spouting water dyed black and pieces made out of moss, quartz crystal and found coins. We were thrilled to get a chance to ask her a little about herself and her work…
How did you get started?
‘I was born in 1986 in Nelspruit and lived on a farm just outside of town. After school and a gap year, I came to Cape Town to study art at Michaelis. I didn’t realise the impact growing up on a farm would have on my work, but the memories continue to be a big source of inspiration for me. Cape Town is beautiful and I’m happy to call it home for now.’
What are you currently working on?
‘At the moment I am working on two new pieces for this year’s Joburg Art Fair. One involves intricate carving, which I’m finding a nice challenge, and the other is a further exploration of a piece I did for a previous show, [which is] all about mossy stone stacking, with a small new addition – lichen.’
Tell us a little bit about your light sculpture.
‘This piece was a simple study on rendering light as a tangible substance, taking an everyday object like a desk lamp and capturing the ‘invisible’ light it emits. I enjoy working with wood and thought that as a natural material, the different qualities and grains would work well with the idea of artificial light.’
Your work often draws attention to the role that nature plays in our lives. Do you consider yourself a ‘green’ artist?
‘It’s true that my work deals with natural phenomena and our interaction with it, but I think the term “green” is one that constantly needs to be defined as it can become easy to hide behind. “Green” is a way of living that informs my decision-making process, rather than just an end result. Being environmentally conscious in practice is hard and something I continually try to improve upon.”
What is your dream space in which to exhibit?
‘I enjoy the challenge of having to create an environment in spaces that are not normally considered natural spaces, and the tension it creates between indoor and outdoor. It would be great to do some public sculptures and interventions in and around Cape Town – crystals and moss everywhere!’
What are your dreams for the future?
‘To constantly improve my skill and craftsmanship – and to keep all ten fingers firmly attached!’