Unraveling The DAK Enigma: Creative Mastery Across Artistic Realms

Moving from his native country of Honduras to the United States at the age of 12, creative director DAK(Daniel Kestenbaum) went from an overwhelmed child to a man who now boasts an eclectic portfolio and an unconquerable spirit that genuinely stands out in the art world. Being able to create art in the realms of illustration, photography, editing, animation, and more directly reflects his distinctive path from childhood artist with a dream to established multi-faceted creative director who has now worked with artists such as Mae Stephens, Chris Brown, and Empire Records.

Born the youngest of four siblings in Honduras, DAK was not exactly encouraged to chase his dreams of being an artist and had to push through the doubt with nothing more than his abilities and intuition. After moving to the U.S., he found himself in a new world of unfamiliar faces and culture shock. DAK leaned heavily on the inspiration of his middle school/high school art teacher, who fostered his confidence and allowed him the room to explore his passions untethered.

As a child in the States, he innately felt that he had to work twice as hard for the opportunity to prove himself—an emotion that he refused to let squelch his determination but used as motivation instead. At first, DAK felt the need to hide his native tongue (Spanish) to avoid feeling like an outsider among his peers. But as he grew, he realized the invaluable quality of being bilingual and the unique and fresh perspective his roots offered his creative direction.

Today, DAK is flooding the mediascape with his vision and numerous collaborations with other notable artists worldwide. His creative direction and illustration for the cover art for viral Mae Stephens TikTok hit “If We Ever Broke Up” has now gone platinum with over 250 million streams and has been in the U.K. charts for weeks. DAK Creative directed and edited the music video “Lonely” by Grace Weber, which was picked up by BET and is currently part of their programmed rotation.

DAK’s career is filled with other notable highlights such as creative directing, shooting, and editing the cover art for the song “Stroke ft. Jeremih” by IV4 (1M+ streams) and the creative direction behind “First Thing Smokin’” by Loony. The latter led to DAK’s first Billboard art placed in the center of Toronto with support from Amazon Music. However, his creative direction reaches well past video shoots alone, as the custom handbag line (The Dak Bag), fully creative directed by DAK, was featured as a centerpiece for French Montana and Lil Tjay’s music video for “Bag Season.” The Dak Bag has since been worn on the Red Carpet and can be seen in the hands of such A-list celebrities as Kaash Paige, Tyler, the Creator, Winnie Harlow, Grace Weber, Valentina Voight, and others.

Along his journey, DAK has learned that if you move with kindness through a world of negativity, the possibilities that will find you are endless. He looks forward to furthering his career with even more major shoots, billboards, and campaigns and working with other art brands he adores. If you want to learn from DAK’s success, be inspired by his advice to move forward through the unexpected twists and turns of life with kindness.

Written in partnership with S99