Cas van der Steen | Recipient RM Public Choice Award 2021

Q&A with Cas van der Steen – Recipient of the RM Public Choice Award 2021


Best of Graduates 2021 has officially come to an end and the Young Blood Foundation is pleased to share with you that this year’s edition has been a great success! We proud of all this year’s participating graduates – and of course, our winners. 

Before moving on to the next thing on our calendar, we would like to lay focus on our award winners one last time, and ask them some questions about their past, present, and of course, future: 

Today, we focus on the winner of the RM Public Choice Award: Cas van der Steen. By winning the RM Public Choice Award, van der Steen will be given the opportunity to work together with Dutch fashion brand The New Originals to design the official Best of Graduates 2022 T-shirt.⁠


RMYBF: Congratulations on winning the RM Public Choice Award 2021. What does winning this award mean to you?

CvdS: I am very honored and proud that my work has been chosen by the public. Mycelium is a work about society and has been made with the help of a lot of amazing people. For me this means so much since my artistic practice is about inclusivity, compassion and about bringing people together.


RMYBF: Who or what inspired you to become an artist?

CvdS:  I remember going to Barcelona when I was young and seeing the great architectural sites like the Sagrada Família or Park Güel. Visiting the Dalí museum was the first time I saw unimaginable sculptures and paintings. From that moment I knew I wanted to create art and my hands have never been quite the same again.


RMYBF: How is your identity reflected in the works of art that you create? 

CvdS:  My family has been very creative and loving throughout my life. They have always supported my creative choices and me as a person. I found myself becoming two different persons because I was scared to be myself. Coming out of that bubble was difficult at times since I noticed the world can be a harsh place. I wanted to change the world when I was younger, and I am still following that instinct through my art. To be loving, open and inclusive is very important to me so in that sense my work reflects who I am and what my values are.


RMYBF: What is it that you would like to achieve through your art?

CvdS:  Through my art I strive for a less violent, more peaceful understanding of society. The world has separated themselves through their phones and individual lifestyles, I would love a world that is not about separation but about participation, compassion and inclusivity. A world that is in balance with nature and where the people are connecting through sharing knowledge and love.


RMYBF: If you could travel back in time, what would you tell your younger self, the one in the first grade of art school?

CvdS:  If I could travel back in time, I would tell myself to take a deep breath and enjoy this new chapter of your life. Because it is true, time flies when u are having fun! The art academy is an amazing place to experiment and to try new techniques. But mostly the people and the aura make it a great working environment, let conversations flow but stand your ground. Because your voice is important, you cannot have a collective if you are not sharing your opinion. But it is safe to let your guard down and finally discover who you are!


RMYBF: Dream BIG, where do you want to be within the next 5 years?

CvdS:  Within the next five years I hope to have traveled to some places in the east to learn more about Buddhism and Hinduism. I want to learn so much more about art, science and life in general because I feel that there is so much still unknown. It is the artist that can receive bigger potentials, so I will be studying and receiving everything that comes my way. I truly would love to create a bigger project with lots of people with different backgrounds and create one giant art piece.


RMYBF: Finish this sentence: what recently graduated artists need in order to survive and become successful is…

CvdS:  What recently graduated artists need in order to survive and become successful is to go on! Don’t stop making art and believe in yourself, even if you are not seen enough. You should always let your creativity flow and have some trust in your own potential.