Zee’s work strikes us as an ode to the ocean. Capturing fluidity and movement through layers of resin, her patience is apparent in the outcomes she produces. Dutch born but with a passion for exploring, Zee’s travels and experiences across the world have all influenced her work, which can now be found in over 20 countries.
“I think the key to living an interesting life is to stay curious. I want people to look closer and see what is hiding in the underlying layers, to discover a new perspective in a different light, literally and figuratively speaking.”
Her resin art is created through a complex process. First learned in a tiny shaping bay in Lombok, Indonesia, Zee Van Gils found her calling in creating art from the swirling colours and textures. Fast forward, and you’ll find Zee, masked up and gloved in her studio in Cornwall, accompanied by dog and thoughts, lost in her work. Every piece of artwork is unique and captures a different essence of the ocean, both from above and below. Playing with colours, movement and glitter, Zee pours, blends, mixes, drips, swipes, burns, spreads, melts and cures her creations, always allowing the element of flow to move through her work. The layers created in a finished piece allow the viewer to discover new details from different angles or changing lights, much like the sea. Hang yours near natural light with little other distraction around for the full show.
“I discovered my true path when I was given the opportunity to create surfboard art at the only shaping bay on the island [in Lombok]. The shapers taught me glassing techniques and how to work with resin. During the glassing process, the excess resin would drip on the floor and create all these intricate, organic textures and patterns. As I was living in one of the most breathtaking places in the world, I would instantly recognise my surroundings within these resin puddles.”
It doesn’t stop at wall art. Her giant resin designs on wood may be jaw-dropping to behold, but we’re also incredibly drawn to Zee’s collaboration with Album Surfboards in California. This ‘rideable’ art brings her passion full circle, leading her back to the shaping bay in Indo where it all started, whilst also catapulting her forwards into working with longstanding inspiration Matt Parker. She went on to create many more beautiful boards alongside other shapers, and her art transcended from surfing to skating. Any surface that could be created upon, was created upon. Whilst you’ll often spot Zee surfing a board showcasing her own resin art, many people find her work too beautiful to use, and prefer to hang the surfboards and skateboards on the walls of their home as features and focal points. We find that surfboard art needs either a very large, empty wall to be displayed, or work well on staircase walls, too.
“To me, Matt’s [Album Surfboards founder and shaper] designs are the epitome of rideable art. Combining matte and gloss finishes, asymmetrical shapes and bold colour choices, he is doing it all. It was always a dream for me to one day collaborate.”
You’ll find Zee’s work hung in galleries, exhibitions, cafes, work spaces and restaurants across the UK and beyond, plus in numerous homes and private locations. If you’d like to see her art for yourself, click here to find the list of where it is displayed, or you can even arrange a studio visit to see Zee at work in her natural habitat.