Paintings by Darrell Black that highlight social injustice and boldly advocate for change
Darrell Black uses acrylic paint, found objects and non-toxic hot glue to create 3D artworks on paper or canvas wood that give a sense of realism, often centred around themes of social injustice and racism.
An American visual artist, who now lives and works in Frankfurt, Germany, Darrell refers to his work as Definism, an "optical artistic illusion that portrays various differences in human nature," as he explains it, "from life's everyday dramas to humankind's quest to understanding self".
Born in Brooklyn, New York, Darrell grew up in Far Rockaway where during high school, he excelled in science and had an affinity for outer space. "In June 1969, as America fulfilled J. F. Kennedy's dream to put the American Stars and Stripes onto the dusty surface of the moon, my fascination with spaceships grew. As a child, I made spaceship models eventually placing my artistic visions on paper resulting in some 500 drawings. Phantasmal spaceships eventually carried me to a unique wonderland of strange forms and colours."
In 1982, Darrell joined the National Guard. During this time his previous drawings were lost, but not his creative passion. In 1988, he joined the army and served another four years. Then he earned his degree in Science of Criminal Justice Administration at the University of Phoenix. It wasn't until then that he picked up his art again.
"I'm a son of immigrants. My mother Carmen Dowman, is a native of Panama from the city of Colon and my father Steven Black, is a native of Trinidad from the city of Port of Spain," he says. "I feel the job of the visual artist is to tell as many stories rooted in fact. It's a message warning of things to come in society or events happening now and placing the images in a context that every viewer can see their own reflection in the artwork.
"Definism creates the universal image of a person or place that's not represented by race, creed or socioeconomic background: everyone can relate to the image and hopefully take away something positive in return."