Iris' story

'My inspiration comes from things I am working through myself, or injustices I can't stay silent about. It always starts with a feeling that compels me to create. Often instigated by fear or anger, I create paintings that give hope and inspire. In the (often female) portraits I paint, you can see both strength and vulnerability in the subject. The duality between these two states is what inspires me endlessly, and so I amplify this dual state with high contrast and vivid colour.'

Iris Veenendaal is a contemporary mixed-media artist from The Netherlands. Her work is bold and colorful, lined with graphic and abstract elements. Iris is known for having a special sense of color. She has won international art contests and has recently been published in the book '100 Emerging Artworks of 2023' by the Arts to Hearts Project.

She empowers the viewer by reminding them how bright their light is. Her work is socially involved and inspired by her own experiences. This varies from societal themes to working through her trauma by painting. But her emphasis is always on the other side of hardship.

For a long time, Iris has dealt with low self-worth, addiction, depression, and burnout. But after years of healing and learning, she is emerging on the other side; finally revealing the colors in her that were once covered by darkness.  

That is why Iris paints, to reconnect the viewer to who they are at their core. Especially reminding them that they don't have to change who they are to be accepted by society, work, or even loved ones. Many of us let our authenticity go when we grow up or hide our emotions because we don't want to be seen as weird or too much. Iris believes that our power lies within that part of ourselves. 

But embracing yourself fully is no easy task. It's a battle Iris still faces daily. That is the emotional connection Iris wants to make through her art. While empowering others, she empowers herself. And that makes her art a genuine shared experience.  

Iris mostly portrays women in her expressive style and her love for fashion is often reflected in her work. Creating rainbow-colored skin tones is her specialty. She uses a broad spectrum of mediums, building her work in many different layers. She usually starts with spraypaint and inks followed by acrylics and oil paint. Combining all these materials is what gives Iris the ultimate sense of freedom.  

Dare to be colourful