Arjen is a Dutch contemporary artist who creates Surrealist portraits and figures in vibrant colours. With different elements inspired by the human body and geometric shapes, he constructs completely new entities which can evoke all kinds of emotions.

At the age of 10, Arjen began to copy the paintings of the European great masters. He studied the techniques of Rembrandt, Jacob van Ruysdael and Jan van Goyen, and was fascinated by the works of Picasso, Dalí and Magritte. He was also greatly intrigued by ethnographic art. He studied at the Conservatory of Utrecht and, after his master’s degree, they asked him if he wanted to teach at the same institution. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the artist decided to transform his sketches into paintings.

The distortion in Picasso’s work was a great inspiration for Arjen’s creative process. In pursuit of his own style, he began to do sketches in the style of Picasso and endeavoured to simplify and reduce the shapes in a process inspired by what Mondrian did in his abstract compositions. At the same time, he tried to increase the power of the distortion and of the absurd through total freedom when reconnecting all kinds of elements.

Arjen paints figures and portraits that have volumes and are perceived as “real” beings. The artist always tries to work at the intersection of simplicity and the absurd. On creating the illusion of parts of the body which are not there, or the possibility that a part of the body can be interpreted as two different parts, the artist plays with the viewer’s perception.

Artworks by this artist

  • Pas de deux
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Pas de deux

Pas de deux

150 x 130 cm (59 x 51 1/8 in.)
Oil on canvas