I am Sebastian Sandu,
Romanian born, creating in the Saugatuck-Douglas area, Michigan, USA
I have been always creative and attracted by visual experiences... My parents told me that I was drawing their portraits at an early age and my first public piece was probably a subliminal message to them that I needed to exceed my boundaries, to get out of my comfort zone: “a mountain goat jumping over evergreens.”
They decided I should enrich my education by sending me to an art primary school. Later on, four years in an art high school were followed by six years of college, and I graduated at the National Art and Design University, in Bucharest.
On the second year of university, I got hired by a US Advertising Company, where I worked for the next 15 years, building brands or creating communication platforms for already established products. The job was also creative, but the computer work was keeping me away from exercising my true passion, which is painting and drawing.
At some point I was offered the opportunity to move to the US and become a full time artist. It was not an easy step, giving-up my career and everything I’ve built in Romania, especially moving so far away from my family and friends, and for something that I didn’t know if was going to work for me. But I decided it’s time for a new challenge in my life.
Here, like everybody else, I worked many jobs: as a carpenter, as a professional interior painter, as a personal trainer at the gym. Then I moved to interior design and restoration of historical buildings. I have designed and sold small pieces of furniture and other objects for home decoration. All this time, while I was looking for ways to pay the bills, I kept drawing and painting, discovering a side of me that I never knew existed. I learned the great feeling of making an effort to help others through the power of art, without expecting something in return. No matter how hard, at the end of the day I’ve really felt accomplished. Coming from a country where mistreatment based on skin color or appearance didn’t exist, I couldn’t understand why, in my new, free country, something like this was happening. So I guess my artwork is shifting somehow to social and identity issues, as I’m often thinking: “as artists we have a powerful voice and I can use mine for something meaningful to our society”.
I paint because that's the way I communicate with people and I paint what I feel. We don't usually have the same mood every day, all the time... Sometimes people are happy, sometimes they are dreaming, maybe confused or even insecure.
I experience the same emotions artistically, and my intention is to make them visible, using different visual forms. Sometimes I think lateral and I want to get down to a minimal, basic understanding... then the goal is to transmit the very essence of that thought, through abstract painting. But I am also analytical and I need figures to observe first, to better express what I'm feeling. Who I am as an artist, is not an answer to a "what would you like to be, when you grow-up" kind of question. I have a "lexicon" available and just cannot use the same “ten words” all the time. A famous Dutch painter said: “As an artist, you have to fight and survive the wilderness to find your creative freedom. Creativity is very fragile” - Karel Appel
In one sentence: my art is the essence of multiple experiences, mirrored by my own-terms.
Being a full-time artist now, re-designing my own path after many years in visual communication and marketing, I fell in love with the idea of helping people in need through the power of art. That is why I am often involved in benefits and artistic events, designed to help people in general.
2014 - "RED FUSION" - Group Show - American Red Cross, Niles, Michigan
2015 - "UNDERGLOW" - Solo Show - Douglas, Michigan
2016 - "PROSPECTIVE RETROSPECTIVE" - Solo Show - Douglas, Michigan
2017 - "COLORSCAPE" – Solo Show - Fennville, Michigan
2018 - "THE DIRTY SHOW" – Group Show - Detroit, Michigan
2018 - "SPRING REVIVAL" AFLC – Group Show - Chicago, Illinois
2018 - ART FOR LIFE CHICAGO – Group Show - Chicago, Illinois
2020 – THE RAZOR’S EDGE – Group Show @33Contemporary Gallery - Chicago, Illinois
2020 – SHELTER – Group Show @ 33Contemporary Gallery - Chicago, Illinois
2020 – West Michigan Group Show - Kalamazoo Institute of Arts - Kalamazoo, Michigan
2020 – AMBIVALENCE – Group Show @ 33Contemporary Gallery - Chicago, Illinois
2020 – THE HUMAN CONDITION – Group Show @ Anarte Gallery – San Antonio, Texas
2020 – UNMASKED – Group Show @ ARC Gallery - Chicago, Illinois
2021 – BE MY VALENTINE – Group Show @ 33Contemporary Gallery - Chicago, Illinois
2021 - RealART Spring Show – Group Show @ RealArt Gallery - Agoura Hills, CA
2021 – TOGETHER – Group Show @ Old Courthouse Arts Center - Woodstock, Illinois
2021 – ICONIC – Show @ Wausau Museum of Contemporary Art - Wasau, Wisconsin
2021 – THE LUNAR CODEX – Artists on the moon (AOTM) – Nova Collection, Moon
2021 – PORTRAYED – Group Show @ D’Art Center - Norfolk, Virginia
2021 – 10x10x10 – Group Show @ Tieton Arts and Humanities – Tieton, Washington
2021 – DIVERSIA: People – Group Show @ Exhibizone/Biafarin – Toronto, Canada
2021 – THE SKIN I’M IN – Group Show @ Center for the Arts – South Haven, Michigan
2021 – ARTPRIZE – Group Show @ ArtPrize – Grand Rapids, Michigan
2021 – QUEST FOR THE MODERN FIGURE – @ 33 Contemporary Gallery – Chicago, Illinois
2022 – BLVCK X – Group Show @ NYCH Gallery – Chicago, Illinois
2022 – THE LUNAR CODEX – Artists on the moon (AOTM) – Nova Collection, Moon
2022 – West Michigan Group Show - Kalamazoo Institute of Arts - Kalamazoo, Michigan
2023 – BEAUTY MARKS – SOLO Show @ NYCH Gallery – Chicago, Illinois