Tag Archives: Sibiu & Romania

Farewell and the Big Sleep


Just took my 3rd morphine of the evening and I’m pretty high, I suppose. Never did that until today when, after eating a few tablespoons of magic bullet liquified “food” I was so sick that I thought I’ll die. Later on I thought I will have my second operation of hernia… Anyway, I was panicking for nothing: it was just my little, plain appendix cancer in its terminal phase…Hence, the 3rd morphine…

But not about my little bodily miseries I wanted to write. Those are not interesting. And I wonder if anything else is. When one’s approaching death, things tend to loose interest, even those you thought were your life, your bread and butter, your flesh and blood…

I remember my first close encounter with the desmise of someone close, that I loved a lot: my maternal grandfather, “Moshu”/ Romanian colloquial for an old, nice relative, as I called him. A very interesting, really, character: immigrating to Germany and then to USA (since in Germany he got in a brawl and had to take off as far as possible) at 17 years old, unemployed and champion of billiard for money, then worker in Philadelphia and Chicago steel factories, then, after saving some $$$, coming back to Transylvania to buy some good land and become a farmer and the father of a large (13 children) family. My mother was the 11 th and one of his personal favorites. Become a “jandarm” (country policeman) and then a “cantor” (professional church singer) at the Sibiu Mitropoly. HAd to give that up at the regretful order of the Mitropolit (who liked him and his superb bass voice) because he was mixing business  with holy singing, being one of the first to import a Ford T model truck and other contraptions to make money for his large family. Become a modest entrepreneur before the WW2. A Russian prisoner at 52, communists confiscated his trucks and business after he returned from Siberia. And so I knew him, also as a favorite grandson, a big man, wise and not embittered too much by the turns of his fate, liking to chat, to tell stories and to drink some. Died when I was 18, in the hot summer of 1975, from cirrhosis, at 84. And, my point, not seeming to care any more for me or anyone else he loved so much before…He had a detachment, an aloofness that was hurtful and confusing and oh, so intriguing when he approached death…I did not understood it then. I start to understand it now…

That’s why, one reason, I write this. What remains, finally, after us? And I’m referring especially at “us”, artists, painters, writers and so on? Do our paintings, drawings etc. carry a meaning? a real, important meaning? Something that was worth our work, our sufferings (even if, the joy of creation kind of compensate already the “sufferings”)?

I must think they do. I must believe a very wise and interesting writer, W. H. Auden (from the Aldoux Huxley exceptional generation), who said it the best:

“Art is our chief means of breaking bread with the dead.”

Soon enough, very probably, I’ll be dead. I certainly wish that my drawings, paintings and a few essays here and there, will find some living humans who will be willing to “break the bread” with me, through my art. My wish is for my children and grandchildren to be tempted by that first, but one never knows…

Danu, 21 June 2015

By the way, W.H. Auden is also the one that said : “A man is a form of life that dreams in order to act and acts in order to dream.” 

And, even more important and interesting and probably the best answer to my questioning:

“What answer to the meaning of existence should one require beyond the right to exercise one’s gifts?” (W.h. Auden)

I had the chance to do just that in the last 18 years or so. I can consider myself a pretty lucky bastard, can I?

The illustration is my last, yet unfinished, painting: it will be called, if I succed to finish it, “The Path” or something like that and I still have to paint a climbing silhouette of a man…

DSCN6691

Remebering the Snakes


I woke up this Sunday morning with most of this post already written. “Written” for me, before I wake up completely, with a complete layout and all. Weird, eh?

“I” was remembering (ah, “Remembering” by Avishai Cohen! What a tune! see at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E4kc0Aby2vA) myself that I am more than the public amuser, the caricaturist, drawing instant portraits for a living (which would be very good). But, unfortunately, there aren’t yet enough people willing to pay a symbolic price for their reflection in my artist’s eyes… Anyway, I am also – and I forgot that  for a while – a bizarre, original artist, capable of painting strange images, embedding symbols of deep (I suppose) psychological strata, that I do not completely, rationally, understand myself…

That I am also (or even mainly) this artist, the one who draws and paint minotaurs and snakes and black panthers running wild to mate, in the springtime night…

That, a part for trying (mostly unsuccessfully, which is not fair – but, Malcolm dixit, life isn’t fair, isn’t it?) to earn a good living, I am also trying to go deep(er) in myself, trying to tap into that evasive collective (or universal) conscience, the one mythical collective subconscious mind that Jung was so keen to unveil. The place where snakes and minotaurs and birds and black panthers mean something more … and not often, just from time to time, when I’m working & playing long enough to forget about car payments and maximized credit cards, I succeed. And then snakes & eggs, Angels of Death and black panthers and shining cemeteries with crows materialize on the canvas. And I feel that I am approaching my true self, Danu the artist, whom is more than a loser, and old geezer trying to get by… DAnu, the original artist, capable, at times, to tap into old worlds, worlds I do not even remember I know…or knew…

Walking up this morning (but maybe all this started yesterday night…) I had this small epiphany: whether or not I will earn good money& fame with my paintings, whether or not I will be appreciated & recognized or simply known as an original artist, it doesn’t matter. The only important thing is to keep my path, to continue to draw & paint, to continue to try to tap into the deeper strata, toward that evasive source which is me and isn’t me… That is my “mission”.

As a bonus, maybe, I will live enough to give Gabriel, my first grandson (and to the grandsons to come…) the taste of art, the taste of creativity. The taste of life. Ok now. That’s enough. It starts to be corny…

Copyright, Dan Iordache, 2011

Drawing again


So good to be back, so good to draw & paint again… Even if it’s for money… (in fact, even better…)

Here there are, some of my new drawing (or paintings? still confused about the distinction…):

One early morning, at my mother in law house, it was this swallow (?) singing her heart out to the moon… I tried to catch a least a faint impression of the beauty of that dawn singing…

And yesterday, still a bit rusty with my pens & brushes, some portraits for a marriage party… the happy bride & groom… a sad gentlemen…

Copyright, 2011, Dan Iordache

Crossroads, crossing people, crisscross…


I could never understand boredom. Of course, there are moments when I get antsy, when I am tired, nervous or anxious… There still are these kind of moments… but most of the time, I DO NOT get bored… There is always something interesting going on, there is always something interesting to see, to hear, to smell, to touch…

As a visual artist, especially, I cannot remember the last time I was bored. Everything around could be – IS – interesting. The more so if you are a portraitist, if people’s faces are your main interest… No lack of people, everywhere…No lack of faces & expressions…

I was browsing my old photos when I’ve felt on this one: a snapshot of a train window, a crossing of people I will never meet again, probably, at a crossroad, somewhere near Sighisoara, Romania, in the summer of 2009…

Just a quick, impulsive snapshop with my new (then) camera Fuji. Trying to catch the fleeting moment… a direct look of the teen-age girl, the amazed, wondering look of the small girl, a curious look of the boy and the tired, kind of sad expression of the father (I suppose…) You can tell a story or write a novel with this photo as a starting point…

I don’t know exactly why I associate this random photo with my epiphany, one winter late night, when I was looking from a window the twirling snow flakes outside. One moment, I was almost crazy with anguish (my then teenage daughter was at a party, and late…). Then, one moment later, looking ar the wind twirling snow flakes, I was at peace, accepting fate, accepting everything as it comes… Don’t know why, don’t know how… Just happened…

Maybe it’s this crisscross… Snowflakes, crossing each other in a randomly, apparently chaotic manner, sometimes touching each other, melting away when reaching earth… Just like us, people, crisscrossing each other in apparently chaotic, randomly lives… Touching, sometimes…

P.s. I know «crossing people» has also another meaning…but I don’t really care…I’m just an Amateurish English speaker…

The smell of summer


Yesterday, after work (drawing portraits at the Marche de la Gare… only I had no human to draw… I did a dog portrait insteed…) I was buying bananas and bluets. It was about 9 in the evening and the sun almost gone. And, for the first tine this year, I smelled the summer…

Big dog small lady

You know, that smell that gets you excited, that makes girls walk taller and sexier and make boys flexed their muscles and giggle. And old geezer like me, sniff the warm air and remember… Jasmin, all kind of vegetal scents, good cooking, youth…

And I was thinking: I have about 40-50000 debt (mostly to the government, study debt), the bank still owns my car for the next 5 years (and I am not sure I will be able to make the monthly payments), I am on welfare (or about to get on it…) and when I don’t shave  I look 70 and worn out, my kids still have problems, more or less serious, but oh, boy! am I happy! Happy for no particular reason, except, maybe, this summer smell and the remembrance of the first  days of the summer vacation, when I was 9-10 years old… When you got up at 5 or 6 o’clock AM, just like that, passing in a second from the slumber of the sleep to the awareness of a beautiful day, outside… And the smell of freshly cut grass, the smell of summer and freedom… Life… and you had also a hard on… and you are proud of it…

Oh, boy!

Even now, after all these years of errors and depression and fights and struggle, after the acceptance of things the way they are and the wisdom which came to you from nowhere in particular but got to you and changed everything, I still can remember the smell of summer.

Sure, I have now my own formula, distilled from all I’ve read and lived: NO REGRETS (FROM THE PAST), NO ILLUSIONS (FOR THE FUTURE) AND NO FEARS (IN THE PRESENT). TRY TO BE FREE!  It’s a good formula, a great program, and a wise contraption but sometimes, for an instance of bliss, the smell of summer is better… And, oh, boy! I am happy… for no particular reason…

Salam cu soia/ Soya Salami


This will be a weird post for an art/painting blog. You can sense it from the title, aren’t you?

But then, the artist I am today is also the result of all my past experiences… and the soya salami is one of them… I also have to warn those who have sensible, tender hearts, that I will publish a very troubling image, a photo of a dead child. For me this is an anniversary and an homage. I cannot do otherwise… so, if you have a too tender a heart, don’t look at this…

Today, 22 of december 2008, they are celebrating (in a way) 19 years since the 1989 “revolution”, the turning point in Romania’s recent history. And in my private, modest history, too…

A week, more or less, in my peacefull, provicial town of Sibiu, Transylvania, Kalashnikov’s and bazookas, 16 mm machine guns and Carpatzi pistols, armoured cars and even tanks, transformed the city in a war zone. The army was “fighting” terrorist (very few or none of those were really seen…but lots of civilians and some miliatia men and even some soldiers lost their lives and got wounded; the numbers I remember are: about 92 dead and about 300 wounded…)

One of the victims was this young boy (5-6 years old) called, as far as I know ( a lot of confusion and lies circulated those days…) Radu. He was killed in a cross fire when his parents, his 8 months pregnant mother and his father (supposed to have worked at the continental Hotel, the most modern in town) tried to force, with their car, a check point in order to get out of Sibiu. I don’t know why they did such a stupid, irresponsable thing. The army and the “revolutionaries” were very very trigger happy those days. And they had a licence to kill (nobody gave them that actually but they had the Kalashnikovs so they did not need permission…) Radu ended with a bullet in his head and one in his little belly. His mother was also wounded (but survived). The father got away, running for his life.

I took this photo at the city morgue, the 26 or 27 th of December, when most of the “fighting” (shooting would be a better term, maybe, since the army didn’t know very well whom they were “fighting” if you don’t consider a boogey-man like “the terrorists” a fighting back partner…)

For me, that was the all powerful proof of the stupidity and total evilness of all wars and “revolutions” and, no wonder, marked me for life. It also started my “journalistic” career since I wrote a short piece to be published with this photo in the local newspaper (“Tribuna”, totally communist a few days back, totally “revolutionnary” once Ceausescu and his wife executed…) They published it all right even if censored… It was a very pathetic and poetical text, in fact, mostly a list of all the things the little boy Radu would not do any more, because of the stupidness of adults, playing with guns…

Then, of course, I did not understood the events like I am now, with the 19 years decanting the facts and impressions…

Paradoxically, the soya salami was very much the symbol of the hated communist regime, the trade mark of dictatorship… Years after 1989, Romanians from abroad, runaways of the communist regime were told with reproach: “Yes, but you didn’t eat soja salami!”

Now I know that the soya salami was better for Romanians health than the all meat salami. And that probably Ceausescu, imposing that kind of salami to people, had very good intentions (misunderstood, of course)…

copilu2

Just like those soldiers and “revolutionnaries”, at the checkpoint, those who killed Radu and wounded his mother, had, they too, the best intentions in the world…
(Copyright for the text and photo,@Dan Iordache, 2008)

Statistics 2005: finis


I could show you some other paintings from 2005 but this blog is not supposed to be exhaustive… just a teaser…

Maybe, the same way Picasso had Teriade to compose (on his own expenses) the catalogue of his work, I’ll find my “Teriade”, ha,ha… If not (and my patience is kind of exhausting…) I’ll do it myself, if I have the time… If you want something well done, do it yourself, isn’t that what they say? (that’s also why I do praise myself….)

Anyway, in 2005 I’ve draw and paint 471 works. I do not count how many of each kind (and even this “kind” is difficult to classify for me: when a drawings becomes a painting?) but this is the final catalogue number: 471. Not so bad.

I did already told you I HAVE a catalogue, didn’t I? A written one, with no reproductions (even if I do reproduce sistematically my drawings and paintings; how else could I show this old ones?) but noting the essential information, just like Paul Klee (from whom I got the idea) . Starting the first of January (or about) closing at 31 december, or about…

To close the year, I will post here two significant paintings: one is my Dada-Danu self portrait, an interpretation/ replica/ parody? of a De Chirico painting entitled, I think, something like The child brain sleepsBreton did himself an interpretation of this painting. In the De Chirico painting, the man (which wasn’t exactly my portrait but not that far away; I did make him look like me in mine…) had both eyes closed. In the Breton’s “interpretation” it had both eyes opened. In mine, one eye si closed, one is opened, and, on the table, I’ve wrote all the significant facts – sometimes not so certain – about the fondation of the DADA movement and about the foundation of myself, as an artist…DA-NU.

The other one is a somehow cabalistical-phantasmagorical (?) landscape from my native and mythical town, Sibiu, in the SE of Transylvania.

Its atmosphere, sometimes, can suggest Francois Villon or, yes, of course, Draculya (that’s the exact ortography used to sign documents by Vlad the Impaler himself; and he was – really was – there, in Sibiu; he lived about 2 years, after he got liberated from Buda’s prison; he also ordered the outskirts of town burned and pillaged years before when the Saxon merchants whom led the town pissed him off…)

For me, essentially, is the town of my birth and chilhood, and adolescence and even adulthood… The most important place on earth if, or course, I would give any importance to places…