David Griessel Bio

David Griessel Bio


David was born (1990) and raised in Bloemfontein. He completed his BA in Fine Arts at the University of The Free State in 2012. He has since then been a full time artists and picture book illustrator. In 2015 he relocated to Cape Town, where he currently lives a free-lance lifestyle and regularly exhibits. He has exhibited at many galleries in South Africa and also in France during an art residency at Draw International in Caylus.


My drawings may simply appear to be whimsical fantasy scenes, but in actuality the themes I attempt to visualize are often very serious and extremely personal: My art walks the tightrope between playfulness and solemnity, whimsy and pensiveness. Occasionally I use picture book illustration as an idiom to express my ideas. Illustration in itself is not seen by many as forming part of the ‘Fine Arts’ family, but more as a bastard child spawned in a scandalous union between word and image. My pictures are my own restless bastard children: They are not completely at home in fine art galleries but also not comfortable to be safely encased between the covers of a book, like their creator they feel safest in the periphery, the threshold and the boundary.

Obviously there are themes, metaphors, symbols and concepts that recur throughout my work. An analogy can be made between this and the currents forming channels within the chaos of the sea: The travelling nomad, displacement, alienation, destruction and melancholia are examples of the currents tracing their way in the ocean of my mind. Interspersed among these works are whimsical and often quite arbitrary references to literature that include, Franz Kafka, Nietzsche, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and T.S Elliot. I find equal amounts of inspiration in literature as I do in art history and I often employ a prominent (but also ambiguous) sense of narrative in my drawings.

David Griessel Narrative

My artistic practise can be summarised as an act of building a parallel world, one drawing at a time. This imaginary world is called Duskland, and it functions as a space where I get to play around with ideas, characters and narratives. It is not a concrete world that is extensively mapped and coded like Tolkien’s Middle-Earth or Herbert’s Dune but is rather more nebulous and psychological in nature. It shares kinship with Alice’s adventures in Wonderland or Gulliver’s Travels and thus occupies a space in my head that evokes the feeling of a half remembered dream and occasionally even a nightmare.

I invite you to visit the crepuscular realm of my imagination and take to your own personal Odyssey through Duskland. This exhibition is a spontaneous act of playful creation: I have taken an intuitive approach in selecting which works and stories will form part of this body of work and I hope to create interesting new narrative constellations by juxtaposing my drawings, sculptures, animations and augmented reality artworks together, thus creating a kind of ‘play circle’ where my flights of fancy can cavort around in this dreamland of the imaginary and fantastical.