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Behind the Brushstroke: Dan Colcer

In celebration of Dallas Arts Month and Deep Ellum’s myriad artists, we are thrilled to illuminate Deep Ellum’s most prolific form of art, murals! With over 125 murals scattered throughout the district, Deep Ellum is far and away the epicenter of public art in Dallas. The hundreds of artists who have created in the neighborhood are certainly worthy of recognition and we believe the whole month of April should be focused on their stories and accomplishments.

One artist whose brushstrokes have covered every corner of the neighborhood is Dan Colcer. Originally from the Transylvanian region of Romania, Dan came to Dallas ready to leave his mark on the city. You will certainly recognize Dan’s distinct style on pieces like ‘Betattude’ at Deep Ellum Art Co., ‘Deep Ellum Janus’ at Armoury DE, and his Deep Ellum Urban Gardens mural. We were fortunate to chat with Dan to hear more about his Deep Ellum story and some of his more memorable projects.

Q: What led to you ending up in Deep Ellum? 

Dan Colcer: A lucky windblow of destiny!

Q: Were you a practicing artist before moving to the states?

DC: I always liked to draw, something you see in every child. I just kept doing it until it got me into a high school for arts and later got me a B.A. degree in fine arts back in Romania and a degree in archaeology in Egypt. All this time I showed my art in art galleries, participated in arts shows and festivals or biennale for arts and in all type if mediums, painting, photography, ceramics, graphic-arts, etc…so I would say I was a classically trained 30 year-old artist when I moved to the US.

Q: What attracted you to Deep Ellum as a neighborhood to paint murals in? 

DC: The Deep Ellum Foundation was looking for artists to work on a beautification project under the Interstate right after I moved to Dallas and I was one of the artists invited to participate. The piece is a circle of trapezoidal concrete shapes that still stands in the Deep Ellum Art Park.

Q: What do you appreciate the most about the Deep Ellum creative community?

DC:The Transylvanian in me sees Deep Ellum and its creative community as a beautiful meadow in a middle of a forest, where any plant can be offered a protected place to root and grow, unlike other areas where art is filtered and dictated by the art galleries, like a yard that’s continuously mowed. I think culturally speaking the original Freedman Town spirit of Deep Ellum is still visible in many ways.

Q: What are some of your favorite Deep Ellum projects you’ve done?

DC: I’ve enjoyed being involved in all types of events in the last 13 years so it’s hard to make a top list but here are some that stick out:

  • The Tunnel Vision mural contest 
  • The Pillars of Creation and The Art Park mural project
  • 42 Murals art project and contest, 
  • Deep Ellum Urban Gardens Project, 
  • Deep Ellum Janus on the side of the Armoury DE

On top of these artistic projects, there are also some other projects that I enjoyed being involved in with my wife Cathryn like the Deep Ellum Outdoor Market, Foundation 45’s Water Balloon Wars, and the Deep Ellum History project/100 years of Ford Plant (Adam Hats).

Visit Dan’s website to view a full gallery of his work as well as to purchase a print of gorgeous Deep Ellum-inspired artwork!


Instagram: @dcolcerart

Deep Ellum Team
Author: Deep Ellum Team