Oleg S. (known as Dan Caravan)
From: Moscow, Russia 🇷🇺
Who: pop artist
Quote of the interview: I don’t need anyone’s permission to do something. I am the ultimate decision-maker in my life and it’s really my thing, no one should be ever able to block my way.
I am a full-time pop artist, I make art – be that paintings, collages, sweatshots, or anything else. I found that it’s the best way to express myself – artistically, in a visual way.
I did bachelors in HSE Moscow and MS in Global Management @ Regents Business school in London. I was born and raised in Moscow, but traveled a lot – I’ve been to 30+ countries to date including my recent road trip in the US.
I like video making and street trial cycling. I love music, it’s a big deal in my life now – I love going to concerts (did over 200 to date), I listen to loads of different bands. My faves are Motorhead, Faith No More, Action Bronson, Jimi Hendrix, Motorhead, and Post Malone. I really enjoy watching video blogs – how different people do cool things and vlogs/interviews around the topics we are discussing here.
Have you found your way in life?
Haha, I am actually trying to get together with myself in this universe.
Seriously, I am still figuring it out. However, I now approached a certain point on my way where I feel happy and proud. When you try to find your way it’s full of struggling in different ways and then a moment comes, something clicks in your head and you feel that you found it. You start changing things, you feel differently, you inner feeling changes and everything feels clearer.
When I was struggling I was asking many questions to myself. I then realized that the right questions help you come to clarity a lot faster. At some point, you gotta realize you’ve just got yourself to blame and rely on. As you realize it, you start working on shit yourself instead of blaming the world for not giving you something.
What’s your story?
In short, it feels like I lived ‘in the matrix’ for a long time and then at some point I realized that inside the matrix one can’t be happy.
I studied in a private school in Moscow, didn’t really like it. I mean, I had a lot of fun there, but the teachers didn’t appreciate it – I was a trouble-maker haha. Studying itself was alright, but I didn’t enjoy it as much, I was kinda class clown, actually just an average kid. Even in those years I was thinking – “I have no idea what to do in life”. I was raised and taught to think more about what I must/should do, what is the right thing to do. Basically, the message was “ Find a way to make a living and live a good life with a good amount of money”.
I didn’t ask myself what I wanna do in life, it just wasn’t a question back then. I never did what I hated, but I didn’t really know what I liked. I tried what was offered to me – for example, playing the piano. Back then I loved rap, but I could never imagine myself telling my dad I’d be an artist. I was on the “should” track to become a manager, a business guy or something like this.
Despite the fact I was always a creative person, back then I wasn’t brave enough to commit to a career with a less predictable path, such as art or music. When I had to choose a university, I chose something that I thought would bring me money – businessy/financial stuff. My dad and many people in my social circle would tell me that this was the only way to make a living in Russia – “Is there any artist who makes a good living?” I didn’t yet have a strong faith that art is my thing, so it was easy for me to get distracted and false-convinced. So I thought – I will study, earn some money, jump on that social level and then do whatever I want to do. But I never really made it because I wasn’t dedicated to it.
The uni flew by. The closer I was to graduation, the more I found myself in a black hole – I had no idea what to do next. (I then realized I couldn’t find an answer because I wasn’t asking the right questions. I would be fuc*** around and hide away from unpleasant thoughts.)
As I graduated, I realized clearly what I didn’t want to do – stay in that boring environment. So I started thinking what kind of things do I need for the kind of life I imagined for myself back then. I sensed I wanted to be a global citizen, be fluent in languages and just live in a bigger world. I’ve always dreamed of experiencing living abroad, so when the time came to decide on the next steps, I applied and got admitted to Regent’s Business School in London.
In London I realized how wonderful it is to live alone and have that freedom to make your own choices, be responsible for them. It felt awesome to live in London and not just be a tourist. I attended lots of concerts, lived a very social life, went out tons, traveled a lot, skateboarded all around the city, played music at home, and generally had a lot of fun…
There was a moment when I ‘over-partied’ and got a bad food poisoning. I felt kinda bored, demotivated, quite lost. I clearly felt I needed to pause this lifestyle for a while. So I committed to living super healthily for 1 month with no drinking or partying, but with healthy food and regular sports.
I went to a local stationery store to get some markers and paper to put the new healthy lifestyle checklist on the wall. At the store (Rayman London @ 146 Edgware Rd) after I got my stuff I noticed nice canvas, super cool package and all, so I decided to take them instead of paper. I also saw some paint next to it, it looked so nice, so neat, it looked like it’s for everyone and not just professional painters that I just grabbed it along.
The same evening I opened this stuff and thought I just wanted to experiment with the paint and canvas on my table. So I started throwing stuff at these canvas, spilling paint randomly all around. I knew nothing about art back then, I was just doing random stuff.
That one day changed everything.
I started painting every day, I felt like it was healing me. I was reading about it, learned more about it, got all the right supplies. I just started doing it for myself and then as I was getting lots of good feedback, I just kept rolling. I was giving lots of presents to people who gave positive feedback. Painting became my hobby, it was super fun, it was as cool as playing drums or the guitar. I started following different artists trying to figure out my genre.
I wanted to stay in London, but it didn’t work out, so I got to Moscow and then spent a year in depression. My dad was pushing me to go into a government job. I was doing some interviews and looking for a job that my dad wanted me to take, at the same unconsciously hoping to not get it. I thought that my failures would prove myself and my dad that it’s just not my thing. Not that I wasn’t doing well on purpose, but I really didn’t know how to tell them why
I didn’t want to work in such places. I realized that it was already the point when my life track needed to be determined and I was really afraid it would be something that I wouldn’t really like and enjoy. So I was kinda in between the things, not really here not really there, just ‘stretching’ the time.
It was a really hard time, feeling desperate, drinking & smoking a lot, having sleeping issues and all that shit. I spent most of the time alone and my social circle really changed. I was fighting with my dad a lot. This pressure to do the right thing kept me away from doing what I felt like doing, I was afraid people would say I am doing bullshit if I went with the art.
One day I thought to myself…if I don’t make a move, nothing will change. So I decided to go get a job which I’d really want. The same evening I unexpectedly received a text message from a friend looking for an SMM marketing guy and a week later I was already working. It was my first job – super fun and it paid well. Life started changing to the better, but a couple month later it started going down again, the office job just felt super repetitive – doing the same shit, staring at the same monitor, sitting all the time.
I started joining my friend to his DJ rehearsals and we started a music improvisation project – drums & DJ. I loved that stuff – we’d rent a studio 2-3 times/week after work and we’d play for hours. It was never enough time to play, I was really upset about it and drinking to not feel the pain. At the same time, the new legislation essentially killed my job and so I had to leave the company. As I took the break I started realizing clearly that I am just not after a traditional job.
At that moment I had the leverage to tell myself and my family – “Hey, let me try something else”. So I started doing art full time, painting and just doing custom things for people. After several months I met some folks who had more experience in the field and they saw something in my art… They offered me to do an exhibition. I agreed and teaming up with a couple of other artists we did an exhibition in one of the best Moscow galleries. This was BIG.
Now I keep creating, experimenting with different formats and adding new styles to my art. I aspire to create art that will cross the borders promoting freedom of thought and expression.
At the end, if your dreams don’t scare you, they are not big enough for you. I started making a plan to achieve my dream.
3 key realizations
Be sincere with yourself and always seek to find the truth about yourself that only you can find.
If you are dreaming about something, stop waiting to go after it, just do it now and believe in success.
I don’t need anyone’s permission to do something. I am the ultimate decision-maker in my life and it’s really my thing, no one should be ever able to block my way.
Who helped you most along the way?
Most of all – my mom with her unconditional support at all times. Friends. Experienced guys that I was in touch with and inspiring artists who I follow on social media.
What are the top books/videos/movies that inspired you?
- Paulo Koel’o – “Alhimik”
- Stephen Covey – “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”
- Movie “Exit Through the Gift Shop”
- Documentaries on YouTube – life stories of Trouble Andrew, Action Bronson, and Post Malone
- Tony Robbins on YouTube
- Eckhart Tolle – lectures & articles
What does ‘to be found’ mean to you?
You enjoy yourself, your life, you are satisfied with who you are and things happening around. You feel life is going the way it is meant to be going, you feel that “this is it”. You just feel you are on your unique track.
What does it mean ‘to be lost’?
Emptiness, loneliness, falling into some black hole. When lost you don’t know what you are gonna face, you feel out of place, dissatisfied with yourself. You don’t know where to go, what to do. You just feel unhappy and dissatisfied with almost everything. You can’t enjoy yourself and life. You constantly feel some ‘buzz’ from the inside bugging you.
Do you think you’ll be doing what you do now for the whole life?
The road of life challenges us to grow. You just gotta go with the flow, all the time. There is just no final point. I can change what I do many times.
What’s your purpose?
Live my life being connected with myself and the universe. Bring the positivity and beauty into my and others’ lives.
Get it touch
Feel free to reach out to Oleg on Facebook.