|Daniel Dociu was raised in Cluj, the capital of Transylvania in Romania. After studying art and architecture, he got his Masters in Industrial Design from the Academy of Fine Arts in Cluj. He moved to the USA in 1990 after spending two years in Athens, and he has lived in the Seattle area since 1991.|
After working as a toy designer for two years, Dociu wisely jumped ship to interactive entertainment. “I’ve been working as an Art Director in the games industry ever since,” says Dociu, “for companies like Squaresoft, Electronic Arts (twice!), Zipper Interactive. I have done consulting for Microsoft and freelance work for Wizards of the Coast, Digital Anvil as well as a fair share of small developers who have come and gone.” For the past three years, Daniel Dociu has been with ArenaNet, a fully owned subsidiary of NCSoft, in an art director and lead concept artist role, currently working on the fourth chapter of the Guild Wars series.
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What Daniel Dociu has been trying to do in his work is convey an emotion or a high-level, sometimes abstract, idea, rather than a technique-driven process. As an industrial designer over many years, honed his ability to design complex systems entirely in his head, he finds himself losing interest in the subject because he’s figured it all out before starting to draw. “So lately,” he explains, “I allow myself a bit of searching for shapes and connections in the drawing phase to keep myself entertained with the occasional surprise.”
Daniel has solid ideas about where style belongs in the design process. He says it should “happen” naturally over a long period of growth, as an evolution towards finding the means of expression that best resonate with one’s sensibility. He remembers struggling as a young art student to find a style of his own, only to fall into one trap or another. He was lucky enough to find a mentor who prompted him to dig deeper.
“You have to get yourself genuinely charged emotionally and/or intellectually, depending on how you are wired, regarding your subject,” explains Dociu. “You need to take a stance and have the urge to share. Manifesting that position through direct, raw forms of expression you will find yourself ‘stylistically’”.“In my opinion, technique should be an extension of your thought processes and sensibility,” explains Daniel. “What I mean is that it should be a natural fit that best serves your own communication needs. Mechanically learning and adopting someone else’s technique usually leads to a partial match at best. It’s the reason I find tutorials and how-to books and workshops of limited relevance. They are an insight into another mind’s thinking patterns, where connections, choices and creative decisions happen differently. Exposure to as many other ideas as possible is important, but it is just as important to filter what resonates and works for the way you are wired.”
As well as some of the work shown here, Daniel Dociu is featured in Ballistic Publishing’s “EXPOSE 4,” for which he won two Master Awards, one for his ‘Crab Fort’ in the Environment category; and also for ‘Urban Canal’ in the Cityscape category. Both winning images were given the full double page spread treatment. His work is also featured in “d’artiste: Concept Art,” and “EXOTIQUE 2”. His style was an instant winner for depth, color work and the concept styles he adopted.
d’artiste: Concept Art
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