We had the good fortune of connecting with Dan Cohen and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Dan, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
I think it’s important to define what success is in this context. To me, success is based around freedom. The freedom to engage in enjoyable, meaningful, work. The freedom that comes from an income that facilitates a healthy, enjoyable lifestyle. The freedom to only take jobs where I like the people I work with and the clients I serve.
I think that my success stems in part from hard work certainly, maintaining a positive attitude, and a little luck as well. But most importantly, I think it’s the relationships that I have built over time, both personal and professional, that has led me to where I am today. Nothing happens in a vacuum, and the myth of the “Self-Made Man” is just that, a myth. We all need each other. Nearly every opportunity in my life was provided by somebody. Even when I needed to create my own opportunities, they were all facilitated in some way by another person. Of course, I had to act on all those opportunities, approaching them with professionalism, integrity and fellowship.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
One of the major turning points in my career was in college. I knew I wanted to be an artist since I was five years old. I drew nearly everyday, and ended up going to an art magnate high-school. When I got to college, there was some pressure on me to “take something to fall back on”. In my guts I knew, if I take something to fall back on, I was going to need it. Therefore, I decided to focus all my energy on my creative path and not look back. While it still wasn’t easy, at least I can say that I did not waste my time.
I am not sure what “sets me apart” from other artists. What I do know is that I have always followed my heart, and feel that when get into the zone, something is working through me. That is enough for me. That said, my stylistic emphasis is on symbolic realism – combining realistic imagery with bold, vibrant elements that convey deeper, esoteric, meanings. My designs emphasize imagery that is beautiful, thought provoking and enchanting. The emotion I try to elicit in a viewer is Wonder, motivating them to go about the rest of their day inspired and thoughtful. I aim to give the viewer an experience of peering into an unknown yet familiar world, and have the feeling that something is peering back
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
A shoutout to my parents David and Paulina Cohen, for their love, support and instilling me with the grit to succeed.
Profile Photo by Aaron Rogosin All other Photos by Dan Cohen