Daan Koens

An autodidact on the move

Self-taught artist Daan Koens (@daanjkoens) has been on a creative journey since 2015, defying conventions and following his artistic instincts. While his formal education led him to the Willem de Kooning Academy, a prestigious art institution, his artistic soul yearned for a different path. In less than six months at the academy, Koens took a bold step and decided to chart his own course in the world of art.

Koens’ artistic journey began long before his formal art education. From a young age, he found himself drawn to the world of art, fascinated by the act of formation and the infinite possibilities it offered. This early fascination with art would become the foundation for his future imaginative endeavors.

One step into Daan Koens’ workspace is like entering a realm of boundless creativity. The walls are adorned with an array of vibrant, enchanted artworks that tell stories of urbanism and the unique charm of the city of Rotterdam. Koens’ current work delves into the essence of Rotterdam’s nightlife, creating intricate paintings that capture the heart and soul of the city after dark. In these vivid depictions of pubs and social gatherings, he offers a unique perspective on Rotterdam’s nocturnal scene. Through his work, he explores the essence of community, friendship, and the experiences that make moments like these significant. 

Photography: Max Thijssen

The first thing that strikes you throughout Koens’ is the abundance of color. Koens’ work is an embodiment of inspiration drawn from diverse sources. He looks to art history for guidance, with a particular fascination for Spanish artists like Pablo Picasso and Francisco Goya. Their influence is evident in his creations, adding depth and meaning to his work. These artistic giants have imparted wisdom which Koens uses to shape his unique approach to art. 

His creations are drenched in vibrant hues, breathing life into the canvas. This use of color is a reflection of the vivacity and energy he finds in the world around him – a celebration of life’s diversity and complexity.

Koens’ exploration of women via his art is particularly noteworthy. His portraits of women go beyond mere representation; they study the multifaceted nature of femininity. On the canvas, the women become symbols of strength, beauty, and resilience, reflecting the rich tapestry of human emotions. Koens invites us to look deeper, to contemplate the stories these women hold, and to appreciate the power and vulnerability they represent.

Daan Koens, the autodidact, cultivates a style that is uniquely his own, where the boundaries of artistic expression are pushed to their limits. Through his art, he reminds us that creativity knows no limits and that the world is a canvas waiting to be explored.