Worlds shapers in focus: Daniel Dociu

We’ve joined forces with Amber to bring inspiring people in front of our teams. It was only natural to invite Daniel Dociu, Art Director at Amazon Game Studios, as the first speaker of this internal masterclass series. 

Radu Vasile, Concept Artist in AMC Games, described this experience that he has long awaited for. A concept artist’s tale and learnings, below.

Daniel Dociu is making high performance art in Seattle, at Amazon Games Studios, where he is a Director of Art. With more than 25 years of graphic creation experience and so many achievements, I think he’s one of the most influential artists today.
The great thing is that his story is our story … with a few extra ingredients. Or I just like to believe it is. 

It all started with brutalism, and/or social realism. A suited name for a visual culture, or better yet, a lack of visual culture, that defined half a century of Romanian communism. This „brutalism” is the prison of imagination that Dociu escapes in 1989, only months before its epic fall and the start of a never-ending revolution.

Since then, Romania has started a strenuous journey to once again discover the power of art, image and imagination. Much faster and more efficiently, outside our world, Dociu has come to master it with great skill.
This means we can cut corners and get real shortcuts letting his experience and his knowledge empower us in our mission.
To be true, I must admit you need all the help you can get in this endeavour, just to maintain one’s optimism and bravery, to look around yourself and see, to remain curious and hungry for knowledge … to stay true to yourself.

Daniel Dociu’s Masterclass is a breath of fresh air and so much more.
I listened to a man who started his career in the gaming industry at a time when I didn’t know a gaming industry even existed.
Listening to him, this guy that I respect and whose work means so much to me, I had the most wonderful epiphany. It seemed like he was taking his words out of my very own dreams, aspirations and frustrations.
This was more than a lesson, it was a validation of my own life journey. 

While his works where slideshow-ing peacefully, I understood once again why I needed to become an artist, for those images that have the power to take you to an incredible journey of unknown events and lives.
Maybe real life magic truly resides in art, because a beautiful image, like a good story, takes you in as part of it and transforms you.
Art builds you up as more than the sum of your experiences and knowledge.


I escaped Romania in the summer of ’89 because no one knew a revolution was coming.” This is how you learn to be an artist, with hope.
Nelson Mandela said „May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.” Without hope, Daniel Dociu wouldn’t have left his home country, wouldn’t have been able to withstand his years as a refugee in Greece, or his first years in the States. Without hope, you cannot create art. Hope is the light that keeps you glued to the page, that gives you confidence, that helps you effect your dream and vision.


Expose yourself.”

If you’ve read Hemingway, you might know that a brave man allows himself to feel fear because he can overcome it. Dociu, you or I… our bravery is in putting ourselves out there, showing the world what lies in our minds and imagination, embracing the critics, indifference, malice and accepting the joy, enthusiasm and inspiration.

People say that artists feel life more profoundly and that this brings with it a larger suffering… but it also brings infinitely larger joy.


Take your eyes off your phone and look around.

Summer is starting and the world is getting brighter. Daniel Dociu encourages you to be beautiful by teaching you to see the beauty around you. First you will see, then you will learn to create. And if you fight long and hard enough, you’ll reach the top of the mountain, whence you can bring to life something new, unseen, wonderful.


I discovered my style when I stopped caring. Then content, substance and instinct took over.

His work is the artist’s cathedral. Sit down with one, have a beer with an artist and let him speak freely about his work. Night will come, you’ll get drunk and, when the sun rises, it will break your heart to leave him, as it seems he’s just getting started. An artist’s work is his deepest self and it holds a myriad of worlds that all make sense in logic and beauty.


Style without content is like cheese with a supermarket crust, a sad fake.

Since you have something to say to the world, strive to find the most beautiful, consistent and powerful way to do it. This will help you find the style and identity you’re looking for. And when you’ll sit down with a fellow artist and the sun will rise with your stories, you’ll both be sad to part ways because it feels like you’re both only starting to share your worlds.

Radu Vasile, Senior Artist for AMC Games

All images from