Images: Courtesy of Danit Halevi
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.
Hi! my name is Danit Halevi and I’m an Israeli / British artist, wife and mum to 5 beautiful kids, living in Israel.
What inspired you to become an artist?
I inherited my love for art from my very talented parents, so naturally, creativity was stamped into me and my siblings DNA. We spent a big part of our childhood drawing, painting and creating – each one with their own style and speciality, through to high school where I did my GCSE’s. That’s when I was knee deep in art and discovered my skills in different styles and acknowledged that I really have a good eye for details.
Although art was always a strong point of my life and it was something I loved, I didn’t envision myself working as a full-time artist. I was very busy with my other passion – music, singing and performing. Painting was kept as a hobby.
There was a period of a few years after I started having my children where I felt very lost and unconnected to the artist in me. I was doing Jewish theatre and pursuing a music degree at the time and I didn’t have much time for painting. I didn’t believe in making a living as an artist, that it was really possible, and also couldn’t pinpoint my niche. I was interested in too many styles (so I was told) and struggled to pick one. This pressure I felt to give myself an artistic label and to commit left me rarely motivated to paint and when I was, inspiration would not always appear.
It was only once a teaching job came my way that I was drawn passionately back into it.
I spent most my days teaching children to draw and I’d come home thirsty for some serious work.
The thing about children is that they are pure creators, clean of any white noise, their minds are brilliantly original influenced only by their instinctive urges. Their whole truth. Witnessing their small and unique developments triggered a rebirth of connection to the child in me, the one whose days were spent in pure creation with no labels or conflicting thoughts, and quickly brought me to the realisation that I had something bigger to offer… my own art, which was getting very little attention. My own dreams, unfolding, a vision becoming clearer.
I made the decision to leave teaching and go full time artist from my home studio and that was the best decision I ever made. Since then, I have grown through an exhilarating roller-coaster of ideas, experiments and a lot of self-growth.
What is your speciality?
Portraiture and Judaica designs.
I always had an eye for… eyes! I loved the expression, the depth and meaning that eyes posed for me. In school when I would doodle in the lessons, I would draw eyes. Loads of eyes, my books were full of them. Slowly that advanced and expanded into portraiture where I really developed a flair for realism and that became my speciality. To this very day I can’t explain why but creating a face from scratch, the whole process, watching it come together gives me a huge dopamine rush. There are deep emotions that I feel when I create that human face, the expression, the energy and that look in their eyes that makes me connect to the image and simultaneously, to the deepest parts of myself in the process.
Whether it’s for myself or for a client, completing a portrait to perfection and witnessing people’s reactions is so satisfying and really fills me up with happiness.
In recent years, I discovered the very vast world of Judaica art, and today I create a variety of pieces, from portraits to Ketubah designs and other Hebrew texts.
Where do you take your inspiration from? Are you pursuing any themes?
I get inspired from mindfully connecting to myself. When I allow myself time and care, to breath, feel, to think deeply of my purpose and to be attentive to my emotions – I am most effective. If I feel uninspired, I know it means I’ve been neglecting myself. I can watch other artists creating and evolving, and that can be a big motivator for me in that moment but it doesn’t work as much as being alone with just myself and God, crawling into my undisrupted thoughts, sometimes in the beautiful nature, sometimes in my studio, just reconnecting.
I love looking at and discovering other artists masterpieces. There’s so much one can learn from them.
Regarding a current theme, I’m still very attracted to a vast range of styles, so I can’t say I have just one. I have a deep desire to create it all! I’ve learnt to accept that this is my current and beautiful relationship with art and that may not ever change. I can be an Artist of many styles and mediums and I feel blessed!
I can say that I’ve recently worked mostly on Judaica portraits, like the Yemenite Rabbi (The Blue Rabbi) and The Rabbi blowing the Shofar and in a different niche, decorating Hebrew texts, one of my main ones – “Veahavta Lere’acha Kamocha – Love your neighbour as yourself” is my favourite and I’m planning on extending this theme further into my artwork.
Do you currently take on commissions and create bespoke designs?
Yes, I do. I’m very dedicated to creating custom artwork to match my client’s vision as perfect as can be. I’d be happy to hear from you!
Which project have you enjoyed working on the most so far?
Designing a beautiful Megilat Esther (Esther scroll). The process was long but so meaningful for me and I enjoyed every minute, from planning it all out to the long painting sessions. When my artwork is connected to Judaica, I find immense inspiration from the spirituality. The message of the Megilat Esther is all about taking action, being bold and female bravery, which speaks volumes to me.
What do you want to achieve with your work and what are your wishes for the future?
I want my art to inspire people in their homes and make them feel good and empowered. That’s the bottom line. I hope my art proves meaningful and brings people together. The small print is that I have big plans to create and hope my future is filled with a range of achievements!
Where can we find your work?
I’m on Instagram @danithalevi_artist.
Message me directly for any enquiries.
Images: Courtesy of Danit Halevi