By BRUCE DENNILL
Daniel “Stompie” Selibe was born in Soweto in 1974. He trained in art therapy at The Art Therapy Centre in Johannesburg in 2001. His training has given him the tools to work with different people who have experienced many things ranging from abuse, rape and living with HIV. He also uses his skills to work with teenagers sharing his passion and talents for the arts. He is one of the featured artists in Open Studios Joburg 2023.
What sort of training have you received and how important do you think it is to seek training (in terms of learning first principles and refining technique)?
I had training in the musical and visual arts as well as in art therapy. These helped me to shape my development in my art-making as well as therapeutically. It has taken me on a journey of experimentation with different materials and techniques, My love of music and musical training has shaped how I create. I paint with colour as if I am making music with the paints – they inform and shape each other. To me, it is important to always be exploring, improvising and learning, in all kinds of areas. Studying art has broadened my ability to create language and to play with it in all kinds of mediums. Communication and connecting and increasing our capacity to do that with each other is important to me, so an audience is not so much an audience as it is a way to increase our capacity to communicate with each other in real time and in a shared space together.
What is your principal medium, and why did you choose it?
My principal medium is painting. It is a process that allows me to experience new things and to experiment. it is a medium that allows me to find new directions – unique images entwined with music. Using mixed media has also played a role in the development of my music. It frees me to discover new abilities and new ways to play music; so that that I can play something that comes from improvisation and the imagination. I choose this process because it stimulates my creativity and challenges me as an artist.
Describe the techniques you use most? How complicated are your methods, and why is each step necessary?
The technique I used most is mixing media, with paints and found materials. I’m an experimental person in art and music and it shaped how I perform in all my endeavours. I bring together critical thinking, improvisation and play in artistic and musical installations. These help form the abstract images and sounds.
Who is the single other artist whose style you most admire, and why?
Kay Hassan. He experiments with sounds, images and installations. His work inspires and motivates people, challenging them intellectually to develop and change their mindsets and their communities.
Galleries and other traditional means are only one way of marketing art. What do you believe are the most important other routes, and what is the most important insight you have gained in that area in your career?
The traditional way of doing the business of art in SA is why things are the way they are in SA. I believe things have to change with galleries so that there is more transparency about how business is conducted with artists. Most artists I know have been badly taken advantage of by galleries, many times with no recourse. This is the old way. We need to create empowerment industries so artists can create their legacy with their brand and have a sense of power and control of their art and creativity. We need innovative ways of doing things independently and collaboratively with galleries where the artist is empowered and in control of their work.
Why do you create? What are your stated goals in producing art?
I create because I want to communicate, in the way that I can, different visions of the world – and hopefully have an influence on people to change our communities, I am passionate about that: to heal and develop ourselves and our communities.