Daniel Sherekin, aka Dante, aka Borodante, is a self-taught digital artist, based in Ukraine, where he practices painting, sculpting, and 3D and 2D animation. After earning a degree in computer science, he worked as a concept artist and generalist in a movie post-production company for two years, mostly designing fantasy and sci-fi creatures. He has recently started a YouTube channel that focuses on his art process in a casual, funny context. Horror has always inspired him as a device for conveying larger-than-life ideas. He finds it shocking, entertaining, and often deep. In his opinion, it is the best medium for linking the spiritual mind and consuming culture.
What was your inspiration for Forbidden Art? And what is happening to the tormented figure?
Oh, this piece actually has an unusual reason for its existence: it was done for a small daily competition of speed-painting on a social network. The fact that I participated in a competition is very untypical of me.
The theme, forbidden art, inspired me to think about the concept of art being perceived as having a socially acceptable moral viewpoint. It made me realize that art is insane in this sense. The true artist is supposed to be blind to moral restrictions of society, for the artist is the one who pushes social morale forward. We create ideas for others to love or fear.
The character of the piece is an artist who sacrificed himself to provide society with an idea it wasn’t ready for. He chose to see nothing but his own light, creating a precious disturbance in culture.
A lot of your work is very surreal or has surrealist undertones. What is it about surrealism that appeals to you?
I find surrealism to be a perfect tool for projecting powerful ideas in apprehensible ways. It is elements of reality, actively distorted by human perception to meet a unique concept, contrary to artwork, inspired by reality itself.
Your portfolio also contains a lot of fan-art-with-a-twist (Sandworm Chasing Chicken is a personal favorite), often mixing the frightening with the somewhat absurd. What inspires these new takes?
Oh those are for pure fun! It’s a great way to spend an evening—trying to capture a favorite character in a new light, as a kind of tribute. It’s nerdy, it’s fun and it’s great for the community.
Tell us a little bit about your speed painting process and how it differs from your typical process.
What I love about speed painting is that it makes me respect the first brush stroke. I have to think through the whole composition, skipping the sketch part, and have only one shot to make it right. Not to mention that creating quick artwork regularly develops a better understanding of the people you are doing this for. It turns into a unique kind of dialog that everyone can benefit from.
You have a web series on YouTube wherein you document your work-in-progress (youtube.com/borodante-kun). Do you find this a fun and effective way to connect with your audience? Or are the benefits more personal?
The channel is a place where everything comes together! It brings me closer to everyone, in a way creating an amazing collective mind. Also, everything I do and everything I am has to make sense there.
What made you want to start the series?
I had one strong goal: to be a free artist. I needed art to be as hard as I can handle and as fun as I can imagine. Every artist has to work for people, and this intention has to be clear in every detail. Art created exclusively for the benefit of the creator is not art. The series turned out to be the best way to follow this philosophy.
Lastly, I’d like to ask you a question in the spirit of Nightmare: What scares you the most?
As any gamer will tell you, the scariest thing is when you have to run away. I think it applies to everything in life. There. Video games can be deep, too.
Spread the word!