Dan Chen was born in China, in the province of Canton. Dan’s love affair with art began when, at age three, he peered above the table top in breathless fascination at the magic which seemed to flow from his father’s paint brush and then tried to imitate him. When Dan was 15, a more formal instruction in a structured setting was needed. Dan was introduced to master artists who familiarized with him varied painting techniques and helped hone his artistic observation skills. For over five years Dan worked under the critical eyes of his mentors before he was finally allowed to display his art at a state show. There, he won the first of many awards, this one for outstanding technical ability in Chinese watercolor painting on silk.
Dan immigrated with his parents to the United States in 1984. Once there, Dan enrolled at San Francisco City College and studied graphic design and illustration at Academy of Art University. After three years of schooling, Dan started his own business, creating unusual ceramic art which quickly became distributed through such outlets as Gump’s, Macys, Bloomingdale’s, and other prestigious stores. Even though his thriving business distributed as many as 500 various ceramic creations all over the U.S., Dan found that the demands of running such a large enterprise not only took too much time from his family, but did not allow him to explore the entire spectrum of his skills. Determined to start over, he simply walked away from his business and began anew life in Eugene, Oregon.
Since that time, Dan’s professional career has begun focusing full-time on nature and wildlife art in both paintings and sculptures. A solid foundation in many art forms has allowed him to perfect his own particular methods. Dan’s experience with the eastern and western disciplines of art has provided the inspiration for the extremely pleasing and dramatic style he has developed. Whether the media is oil, pastel, watercolor, or sculpture, each piece Dan creates is an exquisite and masterful expression of line, color, light, and energy which is truly his own. The art of Dan Chen is a marriage of the finest qualities of eastern and western art style and technique.
Dan is a Signature member of SAA (The Society of Animal Artists) and received two Award of Excellence medals in both two dimensional and three dimensional works in the Society Annual Exhibition which is presently on tour with various museums in the United States.
In 2003, Fern Ridge Press published a book about Dan and his artwork titled, Dan Chen: Work in Progress.
My deep love of nature inspired me to become an artist.
Being an artist is a blessing. It is a gift from God. It is a bitter and sweet journey–a mission of being.
I believe in God, the ultimate Creator of all things. I know that my existence was not an accident. There is a reason for us to be alive in this world. We were all created differently. We all have different gifts and talents. Not that there is one better than the other, but we all have a responsibility for the talent which we have been given. These gifts or talents are not meant for keeping, but for sharing or serving others in this world to enrich our being. As an artist, I believe that technique can be learned and refined, but we are not in control of our creative thoughts because that is a gift. We are the instrument used to accomplish the mission and purpose of our life. We will be held accountable for what we have been given and how well we have used our talent to function as created. This may seem like a religion, but to me it is not only that, but an acceptance and acknowledgement as well.
Nature and wildlife are a major theme in my work. I cannot fathom the mystery yet perfect balance of the natural world. Its color, shape, design, function, even its emotion excites me. Nature teaches me how to paint and teaches me how to sculpt.
I don’t like to limit myself to just one or two mediums because different subjects seem to require different mediums to do them honor. Whether the medium is drawing, painting, or sculpture, it allows me to express my art in a new way. The mediums and techniques are merely vehicles to achieve my goal which is to express personal feelings toward the essence of the subject and to convey its energy and message. I use my own personal experiences, knowledge, and technical ability combined with descriptive forms, lines, and surfaces to engage and communicate with the viewer.
This is my goal and my mission. I am in this personal journey.