Erik den Breejen describes his work, which is rooted in painting and language, this way:
I’m attracted to using text in my paintings not only for its poetic and narrative possibilities, but more importantly its potential for abstraction -- to use words as a means of exploring the language of painting itself. To me the letters function as shapes with which to build a picture as opposed to, say, some writing on top of a painting. I like to push the bounds of legibility and conventional typesetting to challenge and engage the viewer, drawing them into a world of color. Reading an image and reading words are two very different processes and I enjoy playing with both in one space, exploring the boundary of where one is subsumed by the other.
Erik den Breejen was born in Berkeley, California. He is a graduate of Cornell University, where he received his MFA in 2006, and the California College of the Arts, where he received his BFA in 1999. Recent exhibitions include Sound & Color at Miles McEnery Gallery, New York, Weekend at Mindy Solomon, Miami, and Song of the Earth at Freight + Volume, NY. Den Breejen’s large-scale public works include murals commissioned by Atlantic Records, Public Art for Public Schools, Rag and Bone, and others. Erik is a 2018 MacDowell Fellow, a 2015 New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow in Painting, and a three-time recipient of the DNA Artists Residency in Provincetown, MA. His work is collected internationally and has been featured in The New York Times, Artnews, Hyperallergic, Artnet, Bloomberg, Art Maze, Maake, Whitehot, and more. Den Breejen lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.