My Art Story: Inspiring Artist, Dan Arcus

“The first thing that comes to my mind when I think of my career is a sentence I use to repeat myself a lot when I understood what my dreams and hopes meant and involved…” Dream big, have great expectations of yourself and it will become reality at least half of it!”. And until now I must say that for me it worked. Here is My Art Story…..

As a child, I was always busy with something more or less artistic. Growing up in a Romanian industrial town suburb gave me a fair taste of the countryside but a constant urban connection as well so while nature always filled up my imagination with wonderful fantasies and my mother encouraged that, my father was a bit more pragmatic and was often saying when my grades in school were not from the top “Don’t worry, the country needs it’s wretches too!”. I soon understood that the wretched people were the great proletarian majority that had to obey a system that only wanted them to produce, consume, reproduce, and die, sooner better than later. And in his brutal way, my father wanted much more for me.

Maybe that is why I had the chance to follow the artistic studies I chose to and nourish those “special” dreams from gymnasium till the end of university.

After studying painting, sculpture, and drawing, as well as art history in high school I decided to focus on fashion at the university and by the end of my master, I was already one of the promising figures of the Romanian fashion scene, one of the founders of a fashion brand, a television stylist and part-time fashion editor for Men’s Health magazine.

But after a few years in a kind of ignorant and arrogant bubble that the VIP world is, reality stroke and a difficult health problem put me face to face with a rotten and corrupt system where I realized that if I was going to survive, I had to leave the country and go somewhere you don’t have to pay every health worker a “little envelope” if you want to be treated, and I soon realized that I was too idealist and my moral standards did not fit any of the surrounding fauna.

So, 25 years old, in full ascension in my fashion career I decided to leave everything behind and burst the bubble, step way out of my comfort zone, and with the help of some friends, I moved to Belgium. My friends owned a gay night club so after a few failed attempts to find a job in a country that was still banning Romanian people from getting hired as the other European citizens, they offered me the opportunity to work in their night club as…a cleaning person. It was not easy; toilets, dark rooms, etc., but despite all that I was confident that I made a good choice and I was now living in a country where If I work and learn enough, I can get anywhere I want.

For seven years I changed different jobs and learned the languages (Belgium has two official languages), created a social network, overcome my immigrant inferiority complex and remembered who I was, what my dreams and purposes were. But I had no idea where to start from again. How to be an artist when you work as a salesman, standing eight hours a day and smiling as a broken robot to all kind of strangers, some polite, some rude and most of them “no thank you’s”.

So, when I got lucky and the shop I was working in closed, I took advantage of the unemployed allowance and installed an “art corner” in my small rented apartment. I couldn’t paint because It would have stained the walls or the floor so I started with pastels and charcoals that were easier to clean (vacuum).

I kept working each day and started posting my work on the online galleries like Artfinder and Saatchi art. I remember that I started in December and in March I sold my first drawing. So, I kept going. I was spending many hours on observing other artists work, looking at what was selling and why, understanding techniques or remembering what I learned in high school and in the university.

In almost one year I was constantly selling each month one or two works and I found an entrepreneurial initiation program for the unemployed that seemed like a great opportunity to learn more how to manage my own artistic business. And so I did with all the programs or courses, relevant to my career that the Belgian system has to offer.

And, with very small steps, advanced on my journey to a full-time artist.

And even though I kind of abruptly cut my connection to the fashion world, for a few months now I started a collaboration with a fashion brand in Romania that even if it is more of a benevolent involvement, I get a lot of satisfaction to see people buying and wearing my designs.

Today, I sold more than 200 artworks all around the world, exhibited in Belgium and in other countries, I have my own studio and from time to time I get invited to collaborate in different artistic projects but most of all I get to choose what I do with my time and how I do my art.

I think that what I learned from all my experiences is that even though life might bring you to paths that you weren’t planning to walk, it is very important to step back for a moment and remember who you are and what your goal is. Today, everything the human race has ever created, thought, wrote or experienced is accessible in the palm of your hand and so are all the ingredients you need to create yourself the life and career you want. And if, at some point you discover that what you thought you wanted is not satisfying, try to remember the big dreams or ideas you had along your journey, the ones that truly fill your heart with joy and step on the road that will get you there no matter how long or complicated it seems, because that’s when you truly live! “

Dan Arcus lives and works in Brussels, Belgium. Studied decorative arts at the University of Art and Design of Cluj-Napoca, Romania ​

Artistic activity: 

December 2019 – solo show at the European Court of Auditors, Luxembourg 

June 2019 – group exhibition at the National Art Museum in Cluj-Napoca, Romania 

March – May 2019 – solo show @Galerie Laval in Liege, Belgium 

Selected in the collection “Darkness and light” on Artfinder.com 

Selected in the collection “Inspired by Francis Bacon” on Artfinder.com 

Selected in the collection “Powerful portraits” on Artfinder.com 

February 2018 – Participation in the group exhibition ArtOpenKunst at the Vanderborght space in Brussels. 

November 2017 – Solo Show at the Dansaert Center, Brussels 

June 2017 – selected by SaatchiArt in the collection “Meet 6 Saatchi Art Artists from Belgium” March 2017 – selected by Jessica Mcqueen in the “New Surrealist Works” collection of Saatchi Art.com 2015 – Finalist in the competition “The 4th Bangkok Triennale International Print and Drawing Exhibition”

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