In December last year, I walked around at This Art Fair. A great initiative, as they also spotlight artists that are not yet represented by galleries. I came across the work of Dutch contemporary artist Sjaak Kooij (a really Dutch name, indeed). Impressed by his style and personality, I decided to follow his work, and dedicate a piece on it. Here we go, Sjaak!
I must admit, I sort of have a crush on Sjaak Kooij’s work at the moment. His work has a very clear signature, which I always love. He really has developed his own style and artistic language.
Sjaak Kooij (1982) was trained at the Amsterdam School of Arts, where he graduated in Fine Art & Education in 2005. He works as a professional artist as well as an art teacher.
His work was on show at several places in the Netherlands. But galleries in Antwerp, Detroit, Tampa and the Goldcoast of Australia have also already discovered this talented Dutchie.
Reflecting on society
Kooij uses elements of things that are happening in today’s society, like social, cultural or political issues. He takes images from everyday life and places them out of their original context. He then combines them with footage from events or of his personal archive, creating an interesting dialogue within the work. Kooij thus presents his audience with contemporary topics, but in a totally different manner.
Themes he works with are not the most cheerful ones, like anonymity or estrangement. Nevertheless, his art has a vibrant, colorful look about them. Kooij works with vivid, intense colors such as yellow, and lots of pinks and reds. The contrast between these colors and the subject matter creates a tension, drawing you into the works.
Kooij works with different layers of materials and paint, which he adds, removes, and reapplies. He not only explores societal themes but also the act of painting itself, which you can clearly experience as a viewer.
Exhibition in Amsterdam
Sjaak Kooij, Ramshackle day parade, 6 April – 6 May 2017. Ron Lang Art, Laurierstraat 82, Amsterdam.
Follow Sjaak on Instagram, too, he showcases his work on his account.