D³ Collaboration: Silvan Safari
Recently, I had the opportunity to do some more work for Gregg Brill, who is the creative director, artist herder, and all round aesthetics magician for Rhino Africa Safaris.
The requirement: Seven large pieces, to be installed in RAS’ brand new development, Silvan Safari – a private bush lodge in the Sabi Sand region of the Kruger National Park.
During our initial conversation, Gregg mentioned that he would like for this work to be a collaboration between myself and two other artists, Danielle Clough and Daniël Hugo. I was instantly intrigued, because I just love a good collab, and these were two fantastically talented local artists. It was a resounding yes from my side.
You might be wondering if it’s a coincidence that three very similarly-named people ended up working on this project together. Gregg explained his reasoning to me:
Gregg had the job of selecting and commissioning local artists to create bespoke pieces for RAS’ new venture. As he was poring over his personal list of local artists, trying to figure out who to commission, his eye fell on our three names all grouped together and had a burst of inspiration. He knew immediately that he wanted us to collaborate. He contacted the three of us and suggested the group project. We all responded with great enthusiasm. No regrets!
We had a meeting to brainstorm the project and the final brief was decided: The client wanted seven large works, each representing a specific tree from the Sabi Sand area, plus some wildlife. The pieces had to have three components: A painted washy background by myself, grungy ink linework by Daniël, and embroidered elements by Danielle. The end result had to look dynamic and interesting, with strong focal points, and had to allude to the role of the tree in its natural habitat.
Daniël did rough lines in ballpoint pen, and delivered the paper to me in batches. I proceeded to paint washes over the lines. The brief said that it had to look like the colours had all run out from below the lines, so I tried to keep patches of colour relatively pure and localised so as to be representative, but not so tidy that it looked like I was just colouring in Daniël’s lines. I also left some selective areas paint-free, such as the faces of the monkeys, and parts of the oryx.
I handed off the completed works to Daniël in batches, and he worked his magic on them. It was very exciting to see it all come alive!
Meanwhile, Daniël and Danielle decided on which elements from his drawings would be turned into embroidery. She created loose embroidered pieces that would be fixed to the work after the ink lines were completed.
Once the pieces were all inked and delivered to Danielle, she proceeded to fix her embroidered elements to the paper’s surface. Some additional stitching detail was added to help fully integrate the media.
Finally, the day came for us to meet up at MannaBay to do the official signing. Daniël made a custom stamp to go on all the pieces. It was like our own special triple threat logo! We signed our names next to the stamp, and said our goodbyes to our work.
This is one of the most fun projects I have ever worked on, and I am very proud of how it turned out. Danielle and Daniël are absolute champs and I would work with them again any time.
For more information check out Danelle Malan blog site https://www.patreon.com/posts/d3-collaboration-14376513