MEET THE ARTIST: Iris Van Dongen

The Dutch artist creates portraits that remind a lot of fashion photography

Text: Yiota Dendrinou


Inspired by life, death and passion, Iris Van Dongen illustrates -mainly- young women in her art works in a way that they look almost like fashion photographs. Her pastel drawings are dark, romantic and mysterious, leading Vice saying that “it makes us depressed to look at real fashion shoots”.

Iris says that many of her works derive from shoots, which she takes herself, and collages, but others come right from her imagination, or just things she sees everyday. Moreover, when she takes the photo, she styles them alone and then turns them into a drawing. She also gives a tip for creating art stating that “You make a piece of art really live by not giving everything the same focus”.

As for the objects she uses in her portraits, Iris is searching for “signs from our society, that are part of a collective memory”, and continues saying that “I think about what they mean to people these days. I like to show the contradiction between the magical and rational”.

Describing her photographic style, the artist surprise everyone when she says that her primary goal is not expressions. “In my work, it’s about the dialogue between the person and his or her surroundings, not about their expressions. I want the viewer to almost look past the person, as if she was an abstract object”.