An interview about my work by Michael Corbin

Couple of weeks ago I was contacted by Michael Corbin from The ArtBook Guy for an interview and because I appreciate Michael’s work and effort to support artists, I gladly accepted. Before some excerpts from the interview I invite you to read few words about his concept:

“Art For All People” is an ArtBookGuy registered trademark that means: Art is created by all kinds of people for all kinds of people.  Art is always open for everyone and encourages us to observe, create, discuss and take action to move society forward.  We talk, we demystify contemporary art and make it more friendly for you! “


Dan St. Andrei is a well-traveled artist who specializes in photography and painting.  His work is truly stunning and I love it.  I wanted to find out what inspires this guy who lives in Bucharest, Miami and who knows where else?

“I want to enrich the image and bring it to my personal view of reality. I think that art is the reality filtered by the artist’s mind, and for me, art is a way to express myself, to record the reactions of my personality, my thoughts, dreams and desire…”

MICHAEL: Hey Dan, Your work looks very cinematic to me. I mean, I see lots of deep imagery and exquisite detail akin to film noir. What inspires you to create?

DAN: Hi Michael, thanks a lot for your interest in my work. Well, I like to see the world as being beautifully imperfect and the imperfection is revealed in the human emotions and anxieties they reflect, holding a mirror to both what we reveal and what we hide within. So I try, through the art of photography, to search for the meanings and hidden motivations that put our world into motion. Perhaps the world motion is the source for the cinematic feeling of my work.

My inspiration comes mostly from my readings, starting from Dante to Boccacio, from Marcel Proust to Emil Cioran, but it also comes from the daily routine and street happenings.  Sometimes I could say that my photographs are a report about a world that exists only in my mind, because I strongly believe that there are moments when we allow our imaginations to roam free – in which we allow ourselves to dream. Another source of inspiration is my visual cultural experience; I deeply believe that the history of art is essential for an artist to develop his skills, to start building his artistic personality. An artist must be an art history connoisseur, connected to the present and looking into the future. And last but not least, I am a big fan of movies and my favorite film directors are: Tarkovski, Fellini, Bergman, Polanski, Almodovar, Bertolucci and many others.


MICHAEL: I see a lot of image layering and use of faint coloring in your work. Hints and subtleties. It must take forever to create those images, no?

DAN: For me, each photo is a story. It’s the result of a happening. It’s a matter of imagination. A photographer must see the extraordinary parts of common places, persons and stories and invent the way of showing to others. It’s true that I work a lot on a photo, on the original image. I mix the immediate reaction, the photo, with meditation/my dream, through digital alteration and intervention, until the result is exactly what I see as a unique witness of an untold story. When you look at my work there are always two plans: the general view and the hidden details. It is not the kind of photography that you could look at it just for a second, you need time to go deeply and understand.


MICHAEL: So what I’m hearing you say is you really paint with photography. Your photographs are not reality, but your personal expression. What does this kind of work do for you? What do you get out of this?

DAN: I use my paintings in my photos. I scan them and use them as textures or I even paint on the photography. And that’s just because I want to enrich the image and bring it to my personal view of reality. I think that art is the reality filtered by the artist’s mind, and for me, art is a way to express myself, to record the reactions of my personality, my thoughts, dreams and desire. The viewer can find in my works the original subjects, but also colors and textures of my imagination and s/he can see a continuous effort because my photos are never finished. All of my projects remain open projects. Until the end, my photos are a permanent dialogue, I’ve always had a desire to share things that I have in mind with others.

MICHAEL: What’s the difference between being a great photographer and artist who uses photography? What do you consider yourself?

You could read the rest of the interview, here!


Art and Sexuality


In my pictures I present sexuality in a physical sense but not explicitly, because in the end, the desire is cerebral and out of touch. The main sexual organ is our brain. How big is the capacity of the human body for pleasure? Ask your brain to find a personal answer.


Group Therapy / Photo Editorial for Papercut Magazine


A new Photo Editorial made at the end of last year was published in Papercut Magazine. I would like to thank to the Team, a group of beautiful and smart people: photo and art direction: Dan St. Andrei, Fashion Design: Mihaela Cretescu, Textile painting: Elena Copuzeanu, Accessories: wowandy, Make up & Hair: Andrei Jilavu, Photo assistant: Luca Vladimir Andrei, Models: Alina Petrica, Ana Costea, Raluca Rosu, Andrei Jilavu, Marian Cristea, Location: Stirbey Palace / Bucharest


This is the presentation text: There are distances between us. I’m near, you’re there, he’s there, she’s far away, we’re close, they’re somewhere. We create distances between us, larger or smaller, and we measure distances in hours, days and nights. We run in parallel circles, our paths rarely have a chance to meet. We rely the chance of meeting only on the crowd around and come to believe that the world is small. Since there is the internet and the flight by plane has become common distances are not the same. Physical distances and made increasingly smaller. Emotional distances increased. We are far away of each other. Sometimes neighbors are so far away that we get lonely into the crowd and become unable to cross the distance between two souls, so close otherwise.


We create unnecessary distances, where there is no need, we wanted to remove happiness and we wonder why sadness has filled our souls. I know, a smart man in modern society can not be but slightly depressed, removing distances does not guarantee happiness, but it can not be bad to try to approach each other, leaving behind fears. Being together is beautiful, let’s try a therapy group.


And the Romanian version:

Sunt distante intre noi. Eu sunt aproape, tu esti aici, el e acolo, ea e departe, noi suntem apropiati, ei sunt undeva. Cream distante intre noi, mai mari sau mai mici si masuram departarile in ore, zile si nopti. Alergam in cercuri paralele, rareori exista sansa ca traiectoriile noastre sa se intalneasca. Ne bazam sansa intalnirii doar pe aglomeratia din jur si ajungem sa credem ca lumea e mica. De cand exista internetul si zborul cu avionul a devenit ceva comun, distantele nu mai sunt acelasi lucru. Distantele fizice sau facut din ce in ce mai mici. Distantele emotionale au crescut. Suntem indepartati.


Uneori aproapele e atat de departe incat ne insinguram in multime, suntem incapabili sa strabatem distanta dintre doua suflete care altminteri sunt alaturate. Cream distante inutile, acolo unde nu e nevoie, ne indepartam voit de fericire si ne miram de tristetea care ne umple sufletele. Stiu, in societatea actuala un om inteligent nu poate sa fie decat usor depresiv si indepartarea distantelor nu garanteaza fericirea, dar poate nu ar fi rau sa incercam sa ne apropiem unii de altii, lasand in urma spaimele si fricile. Apropierea e frumoasa, sa incercam o terapie de grup.

About Fine Art Photography, again


Sometimes, my photography  is just a reaction to something that’s just happened and all the issues I address are within myself, setting scenes and stories and concluding into a sort of narrative imagery. It is like a reportage from a world that exist only in my mind. Photography is an art of observation but also a result of personal imagination. I deeply agree with Ansel Adams: “You don’t take a photograph, you make it.”


But more then that, I use to work on photos, using the computer but also sketching and painting onto, to transform and modify the original image parameters till the image loose the photographic qualities and become more closely to painting. If Susan Sontag said that “the painter constructs, the photographer discloses”, I prefer to disclose the construction of my images.


The camera and the computer are just the instruments that help me to reveal the unknown. When people look at my pictures I want them to feel them like reading a novel in a peaceful place, far away from the crowded and noisy city. Even if they look at it for a second I hope the viewers will find enough reasons to think about and remembering.


Photographic Phrase 2

woman nude

I believe that photography can reach a level where we’re no longer seeing the image but actually feeling it, that is the connection between photographer and viewer. Of course, this process often means that my work evolves in the mind of the viewer completely different than what I initially envisioned. Well, what you see is what you are…

Photographic Phrase 1


I don’t think of myself as a very good technical photographer. But any visual art is a matter of visual experience. If there’s any secret in terms of the art in my photography, I think I just did what I feel and wanted to do.

Now you can buy original photographs, printed in limited edition

Now you can buy original photographs, printed in limited edition. Whether you are buying for yourself, as a gift, for your home or for your office, I am always happy to offer help in your buying decisions should you need it. All the prints are personally hand-pulled by me under exacting scrutiny using the same equipment, archival papers, canvas and inks used by the Museums of Fine Arts and have an archival life up to 200 years.  All the prints are signed, embossed with the seal of authenticity (see below) , numbered, dated and come together with an Authenticity Certificate also signed. Note: Some small open stock prints do not bear the seal, due to the seal’s size in relation to the print or the period of the print.

All photographs are part of a limited edition. When the edition is exhausted, there will be no additional prints.

More details on my online portfolio.


dan portfolio

I do not work with symbols, I work with metaphors

I’ll beat about the bush a little, but it’s so nice! The metaphor seems creative and proof of  intelligence, while the symbol, which is being eroded by time, seems trivial and obsolete. The cross, for example, is as a whole a symbol for thousands of years, be it Christian, Maltese, Egyptian, St Andrew’s, Greek, Latin or swastika, when you use it is because you do not have anything to say. When your imagination has been completed. When you want to say something simple in a complicated and sophisticated way. In art, symbolism is trying to say in a sign that it might be said plainly. Here comes the problem. How to say in a nice manner what you think. So, if you do not know, you put a symbol hoping that people are happy to discover the great mystery of the artist, a mystery that actually is trivial and easy to understand.

But look how small impostors can become interesting and special people for the ignorant. Put an Egyptian goddess or of any other origin, accompanied by a double cross thrown in a corner, the snake that coils on a belt Doric (or Ionic, depending on how you draw it), an olive branch carried by a white bird mask, a masked Bacchante from Middle Age Venice, put a scales, because you need balance and divine blind judgment in all this hieratic shit….and it’s ready! Have you understand something? No! … You see, art is not for everybody.

Well, I do not create to be understood. Understanding entails, sometimes a lot of bad stuff: compassion, tolerance, comments and analogies, paraphrases and anachronisms, hasty judgments and everything culminates in the end with a lack of understanding.  I’d rather remain misunderstood from the beginning … what I had and what I lost!
But at least I try to express myself, to recognize myself in my work. I don’t need shadows around me, I need myself. My thoughts, my ideas with what I feel and think. Unique, as is every human being on this Earth.

Maybe that’s part of us that we forget most often: uniqueness. That’s a shame to get lost in the herd, that we have a mind and we have it to use it. That we don’t have to walk only beaten paths, that we don’t have to hide in the shadows, that we must have the courage to discover new roads, within us. Why? Because an artist it’s wave and wind, because a woman is a constant scattered thought, because a child is a sweet lemon bud, because the sun is a hanging bulb in an infinite ceiling, because the ocean is a tear from one huge eye, because love is a Brownian agitation of undiscovered particles, because your body is a liana curled around mine, an old tree, because happiness is a unknown fruit that we taste time to time without knowing it, because life is a journey of which we only know the end. That’s why I prefer metaphors and I’m bored by symbols.

About Beauty and Divinity

divine beauty

divine beauty

“He who is free may be fool, stupid, repulsive, wretched, just because he is free, but is never ridiculous. The free man has dimension as a human being” Phillip Roth

Beauty and Divinity…. pretty hard to talk about, although clearly they have much in common, at least in the mind of those who believe in both. During the times we tried to relate Beauty to Divinity, for the simple reason that we found it difficult to explain the feeling we have in front of beauty or maybe we are ashamed to admit that beauty has stirred not really immaculate feelings. Nerve centres of admiration and of sexuality are very close to each other between the crowded synapses of our brain, that’s why it’s more simple to explain the excitation we feel when we meet beauty, through divine light which cleans the sensation of hidden guilty desire.

Hmmm, guilty? Perhaps, in a world dominated by dogmas and false meanings imperceptibly inherited, a world that we are tired to understand and we accept it as it is.Our world became a sort of already too long chewed gum, which doesn’t have much flavour and taste, so we feel sometimes the jaws clenched toghether, without understanding why.

Beauty… It is everywhere around us, everything is painfully beautiful from the moment you succede to spit the tasteless chewing gum that you are absently masticating… and you miraculously realize how beautiful everyting is….

light smile

It remains one danger… Not to get crazy because too much beauty tires our dull mud-filled brains, you can fight against it only to the extent that you believe that, right in that moment you are in heaven. It might not be exactly like imagined, but believe me, what you know is nothing but a feeling induced by the very moment of death of million of people before you….there’s nothing there…

Beauty is the only here perceived by our bizarre senses… I think sometimes about the days when the spirit was free, before being restricted by the false shame and conformity, before the christianism and the pagan man alteration (seen as a free man) into a weak and helpless being, so easily dominated by the senses. Why? Because free people are powerful and therefore they must be mastered… And how else can you accomplish that if not by impregnated them with fear and reluctance in front of undetermined powers and of a implacable course of life.


I’m bored to believe doubtfully explained abstract notions, I obey the real divine beauty of believing in myself…Me, my personal God… as everyone is, consciously or not, his own god…

“ Something, someone, a spirit followed us all through the desert of life and had to catch us before we touch paradise. Of course, if I think about that know, it’s certainly Death: Death will catch up us before our arrival. The only thing we crave during our life, that make us sigh, groan and bear disgusts of all kinds is the remembrance of a lost supreme happiness, probably felt only inside mother’s womb and never again through our life journey (although we hate the thought) until the moment we die ” Kerouac…  words about the primordial happiness… Words related to the happiness we don’t know if we have ever experienced, but we feel it somewhere hidden in us, but unfortunately impossibly to reach inside.

Kerouac was a sad human being, behind the turmoil and the love of never ending roads… Maybe there’s sadness hidden in me too… why?… I don’t know… I have no reason…

De vulgari eloquentia / english version

I think it’s a good idea to tell you about my works. I’m not trying to explain, I’m trying to reveal what it’s hidden behind them. Today I will tell you about “De vulgari eloquentia”, which is included in the MYTOPIA series and was used as poster for my exhibition in Lisbon, on the 30th of July 2011.

De vulgari eloquentia

As the title says, “about eloquence in vulgarity”, the artwork was inspired from the homonymous writing by Dante Alighieri. In the beginning Dante had conceived it as an essay and finally wanted it as writing in four volumes, but he has stopped at the half of the second. In principle it was written in Latin and it’s about the transition from the use of Latin in Italian by blending it with the vernacular, the vulgar language used by simple people. In Dante’s opinion, language is a living body, constantly changing and developing, hence the image created by me.

In my artwork, Latin is represented by the statue of marble, while the new language is born and alive and is trying to leave the arms of the old language, yet relying on it.

I actually used this metaphor to illustrate the changes that we pass in various stages of life and the way we struggle to break away from the past. And the past is cold and still while the newborn is dynamic and expressive, hence the movement, the dance, the rustle…

“De vulgari eloquentia” is realized in the photo alteration method starting from six different photos, processed in various digital and manual techniques.

There are limited editions (Lamba Prints) of 25 prints, 50×70 cm, and of 10 prints, 70×100 cm, signed, dated and numbered, accompanied by the Certificate of Authenticity.

“De vulgari eloquentia” was realized in November 2010. Details regarding purchase are offered HERE.

De vulgari eloquentia

dan portfolio