Daniel Kestenbaum, affectionately known in the art circles as Dak, embraces a holistic approach to his craft that sets him apart. He’s not just an artist; he’s a creative polymath, mastering the realms of illustration, photography, editing, and animation, all culminating in his current role as a creative director. Dak’s journey has seen him collaborate with music giants, weaving his artistic touch into album covers and guiding the creative direction of music videos.
Art has always been Dak’s heartbeat, ignited by the unwavering support of his high school art teacher, a guiding force that shaped his career path. Raised in Honduras, Dak’s dreams of an art-centric career initially faced skepticism from his family, a concern that he laid to rest after moving to the United States at twelve. In this new chapter, Dak’s resilience in carving his name in the art world was unshakeable.
The transition to the U.S. came with its share of culture shocks, prompting Dak to navigate the complexities of identity. Balancing fitting in with honoring his heritage, he temporarily silenced his multilingual abilities. Yet, art became his refuge, a realm where words weren’t necessary, and expression spoke volumes, dissolving barriers.
Today, Dak stands tall as a creative director with an enviable portfolio. His touch graced the viral TikTok sensation “If We Ever Broke Up” by Mae Stephens as the creative director and illustrator of the cover art—a song that has amassed over 250 million streams and achieved platinum status. His creative direction extended to Grace Weber’s “Lonely” music video, a collaboration with Akeel Henry of John Legend and Jazmine Sullivan fame, subsequently broadcast on BET TV—a true dream realized, with a songwriting credit to boot.
Dak’s talents shone bright in IV4’s “Stroke ft. Jeremih,” where his roles as photographer, editor, and creative director converged for both the cover art and the music video’s direction, culminating in over a million streams. Yet, his canvas expands beyond music; Dak’s visionary prowess extends to the fashion realm, epitomized by the DAK Bag, a fashion accessory featured prominently in French Montana’s “Bag Season” music video, adorning the likes of Tyler, the Creator, Winnie Harlow, and Grace Weber—a testament to his influence straddling culture and style.
Glimpsing ahead, Dak’s vision takes shape in a beautifully harmonized fusion of his fervor for music and his burgeoning exploration of photography. He’s currently deeply engaged in orchestrating compelling marketing campaigns for revered fashion brands, all while setting his sights on the exhilarating prospect of gracing the captivating canvas of magazine covers and commanding billboards. The near future is painted with the hues of thrilling collaborations, as Dak’s distinctive touch aligns seamlessly with cherished brands that await on the horizon, promising an exciting tapestry of creativity and innovation.
Dak’s stature as a creative luminary resonates throughout the industry—a name revered and recognized. His journey boasts luminous partnerships with industry heavyweights like Empire Records, Ab-Soul, EMI, Chris Brown, Timbaland, and Doechii. A symphony of skills underscores his role as a creative director, an orchestra of creative abilities that seamlessly interweave, encapsulating the true essence of the craft.
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