The art of ‘definism’ with Darrell Urban Black

The art of ‘definism’ with Darrell Urban Black Candid Orange

‘Definism’ portrays various differences in human nature, from life’s everyday dramas to humankind’s quest to the under-standing self.

“My artworks transport viewers from the doldrums of their daily reality to a visual interpretation of another reality.”

Darrell Urban Black is an American visual artist currently living in Frankfurt, Germany. He works in a variety of formats that include pen and ink drawings, acrylic paintings on canvas, wood, and mixed media objects.

His creative process involves nontoxic hot glue which creates a three-dimensional effect on any surface, giving a sense of realism and presence in his artwork. Darrell refers to this optical artistic illusion as “Definism”.

The art of ‘definism’ with Darrell Urban Black Candid Orange
Darrell Urban Black

Where it began

Darrell Urban Black’s artistic journey began as a child with three neighbourhood friends. 

On a rainy afternoon in Brentwood Long Island, sitting at a friend’s home with nothing to do, he and his friends decided to do some freestyle drawing. This would be Darrell’s first time creating without relying on a particular subject. Stacks of paper and pens were placed in the middle of the dining room table. The drawings ranged from stick figures to obscenities. As each friend left Darrell remained, still working on his second drawing.

The art of ‘definism’ with Darrell Urban Black Candid Orange
Darrell Urban Black

When Darrell had finished, a friend quickly picked up the two drawings to show the adults. As a 10-year-old, comparisons were made to artists like Picasso and Van Gogh. Darrell was vaguely familiar with the artists and decided to keep creating.

The influence of outer space

Born in Brooklyn, New York, Darrell grew up in Far Rockaway and Brentwood Long Island, New York. In high school, he excelled in science and felt an affinity for outer space. In June 1969, as America fulfilled John F. Kennedy’s dream to put the American Stars and Stripes onto the dusty surface of the moon, Darrell’s fascination with spaceships grew.

The art of ‘definism’ with Darrell Urban Black Candid Orange
Darrell Urban Black

As a child, he made spaceship models and eventually placed his artistic visions on paper, resulting in some 500 drawings. These phantasmal spaceships eventually carried Darrell to a unique wonderland of strange forms and colors.

The art of ‘definism’ with Darrell Urban Black Candid Orange
Darrell Urban Black

Darrell joined the National Guard, leaving for several months. Upon returning home, he searched frantically for his drawings, but his artwork was lost. In the spring of 1991, while going through a box of personal items, Darrell stumbled across photographs of these early artistic attempts. Remembering how much pleasure it was to create, he attempted to regain that experience. After many failed attempts, images started to emerge and Darrell decided to pursue his artistic dream.