Talented, creative professionals are in demand. Just ask illustration alumnus Dan Armand (’95), who successfully juggles operating two businesses in the local art/design industry. Listed among Crain’s Detroit Business “20 in their 20s” lineup, Armand is partner/creative director for Inner State Gallery in Eastern Market and one of the minds behind 1xRUN.com, an art retail site that sells limited-edition art prints for limited time periods.
"One of the greatest accomplishments of my career so far is being able to work with some of my favorite artists from all over the world, and moving back to Detroit and being part of this exciting new community here has just taken everything we're doing to a whole new level," said Armand.
Together with business partners Ryan Brogan, Jesse Cory, Armand started Inner State Gallery after demand forced them to close the doors of their Royal Oak 323East Gallery and move to a larger, multilevel space on the first floor of 1410 Gratiot Avenue on the edge of historic Eastern Market in Detroit.
“Through 323East, we’ve established relationships with some of the best working artists in Detroit: Camilo Pardo, Glenn Barr and Ron Zakrin among others,” Armand said. “We’re happy to provide an even larger space for them now to show their work.”
In addition to overseeing the gallery, Armand is also one of the driving forces behind art retail site 1xRUN.com, which sells a limited run of work created by unique, independent fine artists. Inspired by the time sensitivity element of sites like Groupon.com, each sale lasts for only seven days. Since it launched in 2010, the site has attracted an audience of 15,000 international collectors and offered over 20,000 prints from more than 250 artists. They site is on target to hit the $1 million mark in art sales this year.
“We wanted to create an international platform for artists to sell their work,” said Armand. “Through 1xrun, Detroit artists have been able to sell their work around the world. And it has brought some of the best artists from other places here to Detroit.”
In addition to his current projects, Armand was a featured artist in House of Art's Cycle 3 and his work was included in the International Art Exhibition by Lucian Benetton (2013). Previously, the artist/entrepreneur worked as an art director on the Lincoln account at Team Detroit as well as Detroit Media Partnership.
With so much artistic ability, it’s hard to believe that Armand was originally undecided between art and music.
“I chose art because it was more real to me and I was more comfortable with it,” said Armand. “While I was in high school, I took a few continuing education courses at CCS and knew it was the best college for me.”
Over the course of his undergraduate education, Armand learned about the business-side of the art world and how to pursue a career in illustration after graduation. He found the rigorous critiques of his peers to be a liberating experience that pushed his ideas farther.
“I discovered that I had to rely on myself for how far I wanted to go after graduation,” said Armand. “Gil Ashby (chair of the illustration department) taught me not to be confined by illustration, but to expand my horizons in the field and follow my niche.”
- Inner State Gallery/1xRUN.com