A B O U T
Zee van Gils is a 31-year-old Dutch artist who unearthed her devotion for resin when she worked alongside the first surfboard shapers of a small fishing village in Lombok, Indonesia.
After studying, travelling and working, Zee left her home in The Netherlands at 23 years old to reconnect with her creative side, which led her from Australia to Indonesia, where everything slotted into place. She fell in love with surfing and found her soulmate. What started as a trip resulted in her calling Lombok 'home' for the three following years, living in a tiny jungle shack surrounded by nature, stripped back from the western world's luxuries such as clean running water and internet.
Working as a surf photographer and creating surfboard art at the local shaping bay, Zee was given free rein to experiment and explore her creativity. She developed an undeniable urge to create abstract interpretations of nature's textures and colours with resin. She discovered her obsession with the medium during the board glassing process when she instantly recognised the organic similarities.
Her work is an ode to nature's balance and contrast, and an appreciation of the way it has helped her heal and grow as a person. Solidifying fluid movements, she invites the observer to stay curious; to come closer, to see the layers and details in from different angles and in changing light - literally and figuratively speaking. Her art is a daily reminder that nature is always there for us to enjoy in all its moods and seasons. It's there when we need solace, peace, grounding and stillness. A place to come back to ourselves.
Zee's endless inspiration is stored in her mind; memories of abstract visuals of nature from her travels; her colour palettes are drawn from the sea, sky and earth. The textures and patterns are her interpretations of those seen in her surroundings.
Being the first person on the island to use resin as an art medium and having a lack of resources, turned the beginning of her artistic journey into one big challenge, constantly testing her passion in every step of the process. She has since refined her own techniques to create deep layered glass-like layered paintings with light-reflecting details that change with each movement of the observer. Merging aerial perspectives with a vision of the ocean surface from below, she aims to capture the light as it moves beneath the waves, providing you with an alternative perspective of mother nature's textures.
In 2018, Zee held her first exhibition in Perth, Australia. Six months into their stay, visa issues arose - Zee was held in detention and eventually deported and sent back to The Netherlands. A full 180 that led her and her partner to start over in Cornwall, UK.
Her artwork has found homes in over twenty different countries worldwide since. A journey that went full circle in July 2019, when her work featured in a one-of-a-kind surfboard collaboration with award-winning shaper and her big inspiration, Matt Parker of Album Surfboards in California.
Now as a full-time artist residing in Cornwall, Zee continues to tell a story of defiance. Going against the grain to discover her own fluid movement, influenced by her natural surroundings.
To read more, find her media features here or watch the video below.