With a passion for creating rideable art through surf and skateboards, Zee van Gils unearthed her obsession for resin when she worked alongside the first surfboard shapers of a small fishing village in Lombok, Indonesia. Now based in Cornwall, she creates layered ocean-inspired artworks using resin, a free-flowing liquid that leaves a glassy finish in solid form. 'When I was 23 years old, I left home to reconnect with my creative side, which led me from The Netherlands to Australia and eventually Indonesia, where I fell in love with surfing. Zee went onto call Lombok 'home' for the three years, living in raw, basic conditions, stripped from the modern-day luxuries such as clean running water and internet. 'This was the kind of amplified and yet simplified way of living I had always imagined and everything just happened to align on this little island' says Zee. 

Zee worked as a surf photographer and designed surfboard art at the local shaping bay where she developed an urge to recreate the ocean's character with resin. A medium which until then, she had never seen before. 'The tropical organic textures and colours that I was surrounded by had many similarities in the way resin flows. Soon enough all I could think and dream of were ways to capture these elements with resin and solidify their fluid motion.' Being the first person on the island to attempt resin art and dealing with a lack of infrastructure and resources was just the beginning of her journey; a consistent test of her devotion through every step of the process. 'Back then, I was on local wages and had to spend six months of my earnings to buy and imported materials; it took nine more for them to arrive.'

Zee's recent collaboration with local surfboard shaper Hugh Brockman of BOS Surfboards, featuring two inlays of Zee's artworks "Thalassa" and "Infinite". 

The next five years saw Zee refine her techniques and develop a personal style, which she strives to continuously evolve. 'I create deep glass-like layered paintings with light-reflecting details that appear to change with each movement of the observer. My techniques balance between control and freedom; I manipulate my medium where I want it whilst letting it flow naturally. The resin keeps teaching me to let go of perfectionism because often the unplanned sections turn out to be my favourite.' She merges aerial views with a vision of the ocean surface from below and aims to capture the light as it attenuates beneath the waves. 'Our oceans connect us all, and through my art, I can connect with people who find peace and joy in the water' says Zee.  

Featuring Zee's resin painting, Sanctuary

In 2018, she held her first exhibition in Perth, Australia, and with artworks finding homes in over fifteen different countries, Zee's talent has been enjoyed worldwide. 'For the past couple of months, a selection of my work has been on show at Strong Adolfos in Wadebridge, coordinated by Circle Contemporary Gallery. My journey went full circle last summer when my artwork featured in a one-of-a-kind surfboard collaboration with the award-winning shaper and my big inspiration, Matt Parker of Album Surfboards in California.' Now as a full-time artist residing in Cornwall, Zee continues to share her story of going against the grain to discover her own fluid movement, influenced by natural surroundings. Her artwork can be purchased through her website and through Circle Contemporary Gallery, with custom designs available on request.

Artwork photography is by Anthony O'Reilly and working studio photography is by Kat Springle