Zen Pop Art  – – –  Awareness Art  – – –  Conscious Art

I think the job of art in general is to serve humanity (or a greater good).


In my practical/mundane life I am a strong believer of positive acts rather than of just pointing out what is not ok in my view.


So I stopped the fighting against the set norm of hidden misogyny
in which women are made to believe we are not good enough the way we are.
I am not sure if this is because of a hidden political agenda
(according to many female authors like Naomi Wolf it has),
or if it’s just plainly a way of capturing consumers.


Anyhow, the case is: the more energy one puts into something,
the more important/powerful this something becomes.

So  I decided that from then on my Beauties would carry solely positive energy.

I had already put my own feelings/experiences in certain Beauties,
and I felt it was time to open up more of that what I had come to believe in over the past few years.


Since 2010 I’ve been (reluctantly… especially in the beginning) working on my inner personal emotional independency.
By the time I started, I definitely didn’t know rationally what I was working on, but something inside of me urged me to go and attend to those sessions every week.


In 2016, a year of change, for many of us,
I finally felt confident enough to open my inner world up to the outer public.


On one hand I had this enormous urge to do so,

yet on the other hand I felt terrified to publicly open up on my “silly” believes.


I’ve always thought of myself as quite a hippie,

but being afraid of being mocked, or made ridicule about that, I had it always covered under my urban-boyish behavior.


So in short:
This series of paintings relate to emotional moments that I’ve been through and
of which I feel it’s important to share them with the world.
Many of them are just the beautiful “top of the iceberg” and have deeper story behind them.
Feel free to ask about it if I didn’t specify.


I call this style Zen Pop Art for the urban, comic style is ever so present,
but the deeper peace / wisdom that is expressed on a more subtle level is as well.


7 SINS  – – the newer series – –

So, one might say, if your work is about peace, awareness and love…
how come you have recently started this other series called the 7 sins?

Whilst I was investigating about the emotions for the Zen Pop Art, I found that I also really enjoy diving deep into the deep sea of my “darker” energies.

Also it’s said that when there is more light, then there will be more shadows.
I find that the only way of finding peace is when I can accept myself in all of my own aspects.


In art the 7 sins have been a recurring theme throughout the past centuries and actually provide me with a playground full of artistic toys and references.

pre - painting sketches on my working table in the studio

Statement up until 2016:
about the
driving force behind my beauties.


(this text is written to be used by bloggers)

Today it’s time to show you the work of Monique van Steen, a Dutch painter living in Barcelona, Spain, who is fascinated by the exploration on the boundaries of what is
 established socially as female beauty.

The faces she depicts are outrageously disfigured yet they seem to be of a soaring sensuality with their big eyes and dazzling colors.


Inspired by her urban contemporary surroundings (Barcelona), she describes her Beauties (adopting deliberately the term from the fashion world) to be within the Popart style for the bright and surreal colours she uses,

and Manga or Comic for the edgy compositions.


As a former model, today’s painter knows like nobody else how much photoshop is being used in order to seduce the public to buy or need products and services.


Monique works manifest her feelings from within; ego and reason,
 Apollo and Dionysus, two intertwined, yet seemingly opposite forces.

For her Beauties represent this duality between wanting to warn, alert about the distorted world, this unreachable beauty goal (even for models themselves)

and the want to be not the loser in the game, 

therefor working hard to be the best at satisfying these unspoken rules of appearances on how to be attractive and sexy.

Deeply aware of this controversial inner world she seeks the boundaries of beauty in her depicted female features. 

Bordering, and sometimes even stretching the limits of what is admitted as pretty, 
she uses an equally dual personal language to create her Beauties.

The Superflat surfaces of her paintings might remind us of the works of the artist Takashi Murakami, with colourfields that are very controlled and rational, giving a steady playground for the drippings that swing expressively over the surface seemingly totally fluid and intuitive.

Yet somehow, as Apollo and Dionysus, they stem from the same source and together they lift the painted to a higher level.