“Why I quit paint­ing ballerinas”

A change of di­rec­tion pro­duced one of Dan’s favourite paint­ings and put his ca­reer on the right path

ImagineFX - - Dan Dos Santos -

Af­ter grad­u­at­ing from the School of Vis­ual Arts, Dan dos San­tos was de­ter­mined to make a liv­ing from art. “I did ad­ver­tis­ing work, por­traits, pri­vate com­mis­sions, gallery work,” he says. “What­ever would pay the bills.” He wanted to be an il­lus­tra­tor, but th­ese jobs cov­ered the rent while he pur­sued the “right kind of clien­tele”.

A year later he had found a niche and was sell­ing paint­ings at a very good price. “They were mostly things like ballerinas. They were en­joy­able, but not what I had set out to pur­sue. It would have been very easy to just keep paint­ing ballerinas and cashing those cheques. But I re­alised the hole I was dig­ging for my­self and made a de­lib­er­ate ef­fort to turn in a dif­fer­ent di­rec­tion.”

His next paint­ing, Shiva’s Crown, was, “The com­plete an­tithe­sis of the ballerinas”. The ballerinas were “large, loose and done quite quickly”. Shiva’s Crown was much smaller, more de­tailed and took months. It’s still a favourite. But more im­por­tantly, it helped Dan win his first il­lus­tra­tion job.

shiva’s crown This im­age was a ca­reer-chang­ing mo­ment for the artist and a piece of work very dif­fer­ent to every­thing he was paint­ing at the time.

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