Photography by Kyrani Kanavaros
Tell us about yourself in under 100 words:
As I was recently described in an article- “6 feet of Dutch androgyny, topped with tousled blond hair.” At first I found this slightly offensive, and then I thought, yes, that’s pretty much me. And I have come to sort of love it.
I am the mother of four kids, wife and artist. I grew up in West Vancouver, where we still live primarily, and where I find a deep connection to the mountains behind us and the ocean a block a way.
My architect parents emigrated from Holland just before I was born, and their contemporary esthetics, love of design and typical Dutch sense of equality between men and women has been the biggest influence in my life.
What is something about you that most people don’t know?
Close your eyes and picture “beautiful”. What comes to mind?
Beautiful to me is strength, in all different forms- psychically, emotionally- maybe even esthetically- I find people who know their own style, beyond trends, whether it’s the way they wear their hair, or the old leather coat they have worn for years, maybe a piece of jewelry they never take off, whatever, just that they own it and rise above all the chasing the tail, people that know themselves and are comfortable in their own skin. We can’t do very much about the body that we were given, we have to work within those confines, so the beauty part comes from a confidence in knowing oneself and ones style.
Have you ever struggled with a lack of self-confidence or insecurities regarding your appearance? If yes, please explain.
Yes, and insecurities still waver back in and out. When I was younger, it was that I was so tall. I am continually surprised and thrilled that my daughters have no fear of being tall…
At other points, it was my weight, but my husband quickly put that to rest- he had a way of making weight a complete non-issue, he looks at me with disbelief and I would dare say disdain, when I question my weight, and with this attitude, I have simply put weight aside and try to focus on exercise- which funnily enough I do mostly to get my endorphins pumping. And my latest concern would be my skin. After years of competitive sailing ( which I still do), competitive rowing, gardening and general outdoorsiness, I have a lot of sun damage, but I can only take it from here and protect, and it wont stop me from having fun outside, so I just have to manage my expectations.
What is the most amazing thing your body has done for you?
My children, and the sports that I have been able to partake in, and I am just so thrilled that I can jump on a bike and zip around Stanley park with my friends, or run through the woods, or shovel a load of gravel- my body has not failed me.
Tell us about your next series of paintings and what they represent.
My paintings have a new emphasis on a feminine strength and fortitude, by flipping the conventional notions of beauty and servitude upside down- creating florals that are typically considered sweet and docile into fierce, strong paintings, large in scale energy and strength.
These works started not simply with the beauty of aging, but that beauty comes WITH age- or at least a different kind of beauty.
I have always felt that painting flowers is like painting portraits, and painting flowers at the peak of their complexity is painting them when they are well past the firm bud of youth. These works are about painting them as if they are caught in a deliciously rich, meaningful and lively conversation. Or even better, a debate. Their minds are open; their bodies free and loose; their thoughts searching and questioning.
I felt like rebelling, I feel like as women we should rebel more- to stop the constant pressure of perfectionism, perfect body, perfect soul.
These florals have gone a bit rogue- nothing too overt, still somewhat conforming to societal pressures, but with their backs turning just a little to societal notions of femininity, servitude, tidiness, pleasantness.
Florals have always been the good girl. I wanted these florals to be about a shift in power, with sex appeal-
There is a gentle storm brewing- as women do, we come around to things. Sometimes, always, I do at least, in an organic way. It’s like entering the conversation from the back door. I want to lead the viewer down a path, where we slowly start to see the strength in women, like a dust storm gathering strength and blinding. These petals which seem so innocuous can be epic in their power.
If you could give one message to women of the world what would it be?
I hope my paintings say it-
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Instagram Handle: @bobbieburgers