Those who are familiar with Dáezim may know him more for his poetry. However, Dáezim considers himself a "Master of None," he explores all of his creative abilities. As a well known poet, we mutually decided to focus our interview on his artistic side and explore his artwork. "I just create, honestly. People have known me more for my writing but eventually I'd like them to just know me as an artist, in the fluid sense, I can be that and that." - Dáezim
Dáe D. Lee
Tell us about yourself
I'm based in Inglewood, CA. I'm a bit of a Master of None; I write, sketch, among other things. I'm mostly known for my writing. I feel that it's because I write on an emotional level and it allows others to see themselves, in some way, within each piece. I released a book of writing back in late 2016, called MariGold, that focused on my emotional response to occurrences in my life.
What kind of art do you do?
I work on digital sketch art mostly as my primary medium. My art varies with my mood but as of late I've become interested in portraiture art, capturing people's self-portrait in a re-imagined light, new colors; usually, colors that I feel match their energy/aura.
How did you get started?
I worked on sketch art as a kid, until I was about 11 and I started slowing down due to my failing grades. After I released my book of writing in 2016, I found my creativity having a home in my sketches once again. Once I became more familiar with graphic design, I dedicated time to understanding how I can express myself in newer ways.
What or who inspired you?
I was inspired by my love. She's an artist, herself and it was so amazing to see her dedicate herself to her work that I felt reinvigorated to come back into sketching.
How do you work?
I work at home. I use a tablet for most of my work and a sketchbook for the rest.
How has your practice changed over time?
I’ve been more focused on the fundamentals. I’ve been able to dive in without having to learn much of the basics, as my greatest ability might be that I can adapt quickly. However, after years off, I have to become acquainted with basics I wasn’t always aware of.
What’s integral to your work as an artist?
Honesty, whether in the form of desire and fantasy or in portrait form. Honesty always has to be present. It all has to come from a place I can resonate with.
What has been a seminal experience in your career?
Having my work featured in the movie Get Out's art book.
It was such an honor and I still can’t believe I was one of the fortunate artists chosen.
What’s your favorite piece from your collection?
The sketch of a black woman in a Kente cloth head wrap. The patterns were brought together by me and they all represent some of my feelings of the strength and heart of black women.
How do you know when an artwork is finished?
There’s usually a feeling I get when it’s done. It will feel like I gave it all it needs to tell its story. I’m into a more raw, unfinished look. I’m more into my interpretation being expressed with the colors, the energy vs. giving too much detail.
Where does your inspiration come from when you are working?
My inspiration comes from life. I usually sketch what comes to me, whether it's right in the moment or something that's been on my mind for some time.
Is there an element of art you enjoy working with the most?
I enjoy when the sketch is finally coming into form. In the beginning, I usually go in without form, shaping the lines as I go, so it's relieving when I see them come together and finally make sense.
Do you pursue themes?
Not particularly, but I do have a few ideas I'm aiming to display in the coming year that will be theme-based around vulnerability.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Keep working, and to not be hard on myself. This is all a process, and it's less about the finished product and more about enjoying the steps it takes getting there. In drawing or art in general, it can be overwhelming and intimidating if you feel you're not where you want to be with your work, but that's a point all artists have found themselves in. It will happen, as will the growth.
Professionally, what’s your goal?
To work with companies I’ve admired but also help display the energies of black creatives that have inspired me. To help share more images of the groups within our massive black community, exploring the depths of our identities, our sexuality, our impacts, and our peace.
What is your dream project?
My dream project is working with the city of Inglewood and making art for them. I have dreams of also incorporating more Inglewood-based artists, as it is my family’s hometown. I want to help immortalize their talents and efforts in portrait form.
Name three artists you’d like to be compared to and why.
There are none. I don’t want my work compared to anyone. I’m an artist for my own peace. Though I admire many, I admire them for their own style and approach.
What message would you like to convey through your art?
Honesty. The process, the growth, I want it all to show honestly and I hope it inspires others to pursue their arts with the same intentions.
What artwork do you most identify with?
I'm captivated by the art of many, it’s hard to say. I’m a fan of the community of artists, especially black art, seeing our unique interpretations warms my heart.
What obstacles have you had with getting more people to know about your work?
I don’t really think about stuff like that, the right people will find it in time. I just focus on improving and challenging myself to do more and remain open-minded to new techniques.
What obstacles have you faced as an artist?
Overcoming the doubt that dwells in my head. That, at times, can be debilitating but again, I've learned to find a way to keep going and to be patient with myself.
As Dáeizm mentioned, he is also a writer. We have featured some of his poetry on the Slam page, click here.