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David Sandu speaking at TEDxBucuresti

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Good evening, my name is David Sandu, I'm 35 years old. And this is the beginning learnt by heart. Somehow I envy a lot mister Tomescu, the previous speaker, because he knows to behave on stage. You learn it since you were a little kid. I can feel my heart beating, but I will slowly slowly get into shape and I'll try to tell you about the things I've done. Also about my profession because the artistic part, the word "creator" always made my lose my mind. Since I was a little kid, there was only one Creator and since a lot of people have become designers after the 89 Revolution [sounds from the jewelry workshop] and the world is full of "specialists" I never liked the title of "designer" You can learn to do "author jewelry" in schools that have a long tradition in Europe, usually in the Universitites that have design branches. But in Germany the design school is integrated in the Engineering section. It's not an art school. To get into a design school you need to have a previous background in the field. It's good to have been through some college for crafts, for miller or turners for instance. I'm not joking, it's a very serious thing. Or even better, to have studied jewelry crafting and to have a diploma as master jeweler. In Romania we don't have this path. The idea of craftsmanship at the Faculty of Arts is regarded with dispise. The craftsman is a craftsman, the artist is an artist. This is a contradiction that I foresaw long ago, and that didn't help me at all in what I wanted to do. because I started early. On the background you can hear some sounds from the jewelry workshop. I heard them also now those are sounds made by techologies use by hand of more advanced technologies that I use when I have to craft things This tells something about the fact that jewelry doesn't come out spontaneously and it doesn't have that inspiration side that is seldom connected to the artists status It circulates in the following form "the artist's hand leaks a work of art". I have tried to run away from this stereotypes. I think that in art you have to sit on concept and design a lot and it's very important. Making things is the most important for me. I like the theme of the conference, Do It Yourself, because it meant to me since I was little boy that I have to do something with my own hands. I couldn't conceive just abstract things. My father was a writer After two years of work, he had a 4 centimeters thick manuscript. I couldn't understand. My parents also tried to direct me towards music. It wasn't it either. It was too abstract. It didn't even have words, it was a disaster. But I've met an out of the box character in the Romanian scenery his name is Vlad Gherghiceanu and he became my master. I become his apprentice, to say it more correctly. What was really interesting in the apprentice-master relationship was that he didn't try to convince me of some stuff at the age of 13 the things in which he believed in. The relationship evolved very coherently from the beginning. I understood that there are three things that you have to harmonise. There is the idea or the concept, this is important, I'm not telling you know how to begin to make jewelry. The idea is related to the materials you want to use and the concept and the materials are together seeking for the perfect technique that can unite things. I have always had the idea that there isn't a recipe or a formula, but an explanation to the question "why"? "Why did something turn out right?" I did because I followed a rule a rule that existed, or a rule made up, an innovation a gloryfying moment in the history of art. It may be a new rule. I might seem a paradox. But I really do believe that before WW2, there were teachers who could teach Music and Maths or Logics and Music in the same time. There was a corelation between Rational and Esthetic that people found in Antiquity and passed it on. This is the story that attracted me the most. Why something looks good when it's looked at and perceived. Why some things in which you put out a lot are extremely sad and poorly perceived and why others for which you work less gather a better feed-back? Looking post-event at that thing you realize that the well-perceived object generates a rule. Making things by hand and what makes them become an object is connected to another "childhood story", when I heard about the matter of the three definitive verbs for three human typologies that are important and let's say definitive. I don't believe that there are only three verbs or only three typologies, but the structure is very interesting: to be, to do and to have. I always felt that I have "to do". This "to do" is like with the beavers: they can't stand the sound of the stream. The beavers know how to build barrages, to build ecosystems. It's an imperative which you have to follow, and in this business of mine I have always managed to combine two by two this verbs, never all three of them together. "To do" with "to have", yes, it was possible. To be with to have, never. This one was never a match. I have to drink some water, I'm sorry. I don't know if anyone drank from here, I didn't follow this one The way I started searching for the appropriate functioning "rule", which didn't exist in this Romanian scenery of ours, by not having a jewlery school, neither a technical one, or one within the Romanian Academy of Art, and the way I have tried to start from scratch, it's in a way the story of starting your life from zero, of the world, every generation does this in it's way, every generation takes for granted all kinds of things, and either integrates or rejects them. Our generation relates to that moment in time in which we took the world from zero, more precisely our society, after the 89 Revolution. If before we had for certain an opponent - the system, after the revolution that became diluted, so to speak. It became more difficult to formulate things in an assertive manner, to say "I want to do it like this", rather than say "They are to blame, I will never do things their way, I want to fight..." We got out of this type of conflict, of competition and, what's interesting is that before I got out of the Romanian artistic world, from this "guild", first I tried to integrate; this meant to try becoming the "neighbourhood star". The "neighbourhood star" is a guy that goes to the pub, gets totally wasted, he gets into fights, He continuously thinks about how to be a character, and one recognized by others in his branch, meaning that we aknowledge eachother, identify ourselves, we are part of the same "gang", we exist, we have some importance around here. That specific sort of "importance" and the petty stake because where what is so grand in being part of this "guild"? To build, let's say the monument from the Place of the Revolution. If you pull this off, indeed, you cash in a big fee, but meanwhile you'll have to become friends with almost everyone, and this is something cannot agree anymore, So you begin to "build" parallels, And it was a very difficult period, a kind of pseudo-autism, in which I've done things as if I were part of a totally different space and everything would normal. I didn't complain that I do not "have", that I miss... An old Jewish goldsmith who passed away once told me an amazing thing: "The best tools are the ones you posess." Nobody cares if you are lacking anything, the generic "Romanian" expression would be: "The History of Art" has a pain in the basketball shoes because of you. It does not care if you do have or don't have gas in your bottle, it just doesn't care about that. Not for the History of Art I did what I did, this is just a pun, but realizing that like when creating a composition or a drawing, is balanced and correctly perceived, if it respects a rule, I understood that there must be a rule, and I've tried to understand what happens in other places, and the understanding of this phenomenon, from Germany for example, because, I don't know why, instinctively, I've related to the German cultural area and the German jewelry artistic school, and its artistic exponents. Trying to understand that, I've crossed from freelancer to entrepreneur. When I succeeded to gather all technical info that allowed me to do what I wanted, not to be esthetically restricted let's say, For example, if I was missing that electric saw which I used for cutting that ebony earlier, And if I would have to cut it by hand, and it's taking too long, and I would have lost my patience, Well, not having that, I had to make both a quantitative and a qualitative step, To be able to to what I want by learnig how to do it. So, I do what I do because I cannot do something else, I do not have an argument for that, For me it's like this: when I get up in the morning, I go to the workshop, there is no other way for me. My desire is to take all my creations all the way, and more importantly, after you create them, is to correlate them. To correlate them with other people, with other things, with other institutions, not to remain by yourself, alone in your "courtyard", the most happy, self-satisfied and content. Because the next step is to despise others, and that is very sad. it is actually a way down, it can happen. And trying to correlate my work with others from an area which has a coherent structure and tradition, I had to get out from this space, from Bucharest, and I went to see, to see what goes on at the biggest trade shows in this world. The surprise was that it affected me so strongly, I had such a lack of instruments of perception and understanding, that a year after the first show I was still under that impression: I simply couldn't understand what I saw over there, and I had to do a rational synthesis of what I saw, because I was suffering almost on a physical basis. The next year I went with a notebook, and a big suitcase for the flyers, and for 4 days I visited the expo. The next year I was able to participate at the show. The surprise was that the artistic space was open to my proposals. It was the kind of expo where you do not enter to pay for square meters, to put up a stand, like Romexpo for example, you have to be admitted in. You have to pass a very rigorous test, there are over 1000 participants in the independent designers hall alone. Because things are very well separated, from machineries, designs and wrappers to the big brands, there is an important space only for the independent designers. This German space that we believe to very cold and hostile, it is of course perceived subjectively by the "outsiders", different from the ones from the "inside". Of course, a Russian, a Polish or a Romanian, will never be evaluated the way a German is. By the way, there is a large number of Polish exhibitors , I was the first Romanian exhibitor there. I still am the only participant from our "famous" country. In a way, that was the big surprise, because in cultural areas with tradition, and wealth, there is still availability for what we can call a "foreign body". I mean, this organism is so strong that it can allow the acceptance of such a foreign character. The passing from a freelancer level to business is now almost 5 years old, and it helped me to be more relaxed on a quantitative level regarding the things I've done. I have managed to do what I have tried to avoid on the other side, meaning that I have tried to avoid integrating in the Romanian artistic tradition, but having a workshop, tools, and the "craved" Romanian retirement fund which all the Romanian artists are hanging onto, exhibiting in the private system of art promotion, having my own gallery or several years now, a consequence of an association with an investor, a Romanian one, who instead of buying a known franchise,this was the best that could happen, because it was also my best client. My first client database had her on top, Ioana Andrei, who had the most remarkable qualities. She was very determined, she always knew what to choose and she didn't interfere with the creative process. [Laughter] [Applause] The assimilation of these key-points that everyone needs in fact in a craft, made me function as if I were the Union of Artists itself. When I realized that, I thought something was wrong, and that by fighting fire, you become a fireman, a propos of the painted image in front of the house. (from a TED video) Happily, things don't have an ending or an immediate horizon, because, one's "rank" is not confirmed only by the press, or by the chance to exhibit near alongside great artists, but in the end it comes down to sales. It seems incredible but it is very true, and personally I've gone passed that and understood that art means product, merchandise. If you do not think in these tough term and very minimalizing and frustrating for that matter, you cannot succeed in taking that next step. What I am trying to do now, it's a similar thing, and I cannot stop myself in comparing things: It's interesting that people in the same generation feel the same way. Mr. Tomescu mentioned before the addressabillity of the artistic act. To whom are you addressing in the next 50 years if you do not care for the young generation? I realized that coming from a very classical tradition, on a technical level, and that now in this particular area there are very special things happening, one must assimilate technique and language intelligible for the young generation, let's say the ones who now are only 5 years old. What I do, what I practice on a technical level, in design is related to the classical, the traditional technique. It was very important for me to work in that manner, so that later I could express myself. It was a language without which I would have not succeeded to move forward, to say: "Ok. From now moment on I have to learn tri-dimensional design, to learn computer assisted machines, which make prototypes on a full scale, which transpose the prototypes in materials with high fidelity". All of this things are about to happen, and what's very important to say is that the way that I understood to learn a craft, a thing that sound terribly cliche-like, had an extraordinary impact on me as a human, because the language of crafting had become a very symbolic thing if you like, for everything that means having success in doing something. The way this table is drawn, and the way it was conceived for the machines to be able to create it, to be produced on an industrial scale, has a very precise explanation, and it leads to both its success as a design product, and its integration within the general script. And what I'm trying to do know is to keep correlating what I'm doing now with what happens in generally in the world. It's a challenge regarding stepping up from the world in which I was born and learned from, until I was 15 years old the world of totalitarianism, to the world of free expression, of which seems I'm not so capable of. Thank you! [Applause]

Video Details

Duration: 22 minutes and 53 seconds
Country: Romania
Language: English
Genre: None
Producer: TEDxBucuresti, Hydra Society
Director: Hydra Society
Views: 1,049
Posted by: tedxvideo on Jul 17, 2009

David Sandu – a jewelry author – spoke at TEDxBucuresti about his arts and crafts and how this grew into a business in a country where the approach on arts was always very romantic and away from everyday reality

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