Making art, for me, has been a relentless search for meaning. My murals engage communities and address urgent contemporary themes: war and peace, the leveling of traditional cultures through globalization, and the links between biological and cultural diversity. My processes and choice of materials strive to complement the conceptual or narrative elements of my work, for example, in the use of natural mineral pigments with minimal binder to intervene subtly on existing surfaces.
My traditional training was rooted in a deep sensory connection to nature—a celebration of the beauty of the physical world, inspired by a sort of awe, and a feeling of affinity for the human and nonhuman. I have explored this path as a pre-scientific, pre-Cartesian tradition that fosters a more holistic and magical worldview. Art, then, becomes contemplation, overcoming dualisms and leaving traces that might become sites of healing.
Born into a family of artists, Daan Hoekstra began drawing on walls as a youngster. During the 1980s, he sought knowledge and skills in traditional atelier training and in universities, as well as by apprenticing with professional artists. Since then, he has worked as an independent artist, specializing in murals, public art and restoration of artwork.
Hoekstra’s mural work draws on the foundation of his traditional art training, but his subjects are contemporary. 15 years ago, he moved to Mexico, where the aesthetic attitudes towards art influenced him greatly. “I see that people want passion, heart and conviction more than finish and difficult moves. That knowledge has really set me free,” says the artist.
Daan’s work deals with the human condition, nature, and the plight of traditional peoples, as well as current events. He admires the street art of Sam3 and Banksy.
I am available to work with community groups and grassroots organizations in Calgary to develop and execute art projects that enhance neighbourhood development and community cohesion.
To engage with a community, I would first work with the sponsoring organization to determine the issues important to the community, its needs and desires. A broader process of research could involve consultation with other stakeholders, non-profits and community members to develop in-depth understanding. At this level, public art can be seen as an opportunity for creative placemaking, a way to define neighborhood identity and a means of expression for community members.
Once needs, concerns and desires have been identified, public meetings can be arranged so community members may offer direct input into the themes and imagery of the mural. The community may then opt for mural processes that allow direct community involvement in painting the mural.
See the full artist roster
and read more about the Painted City initative.