Featured Artist / Cynthia VandenBor

At the very edge of Rotterdam, we find the cozy home of Cynthia VandenBor. A very joyous person anyone would easily connect with. After a warm welcome by her son and their dog Dennis we climb down the stairs to the basement which functions as her workspace. A workspace as it should be; light, messy and filled with extraordinary paintings. A basement that for a long time was unfamiliar with the hundreds of paint stains it now is filled with.

"I worked at a post-office and there I realized what I really wanted to do. I felt that I needed to do something else. If you want to do something else, and you’re in the position to do that, then I think you really should. As a child I always said I wanted to become an artist. But when I got older I lost my focus. I wasn’t the most serious student in high school so I just went wherever the wind took me." That wind took her to a variety of jobs but eventually brought her to the thing she really wanted: painting. With no experience at all, Cynthia simply started experimenting. At first with oilpaintings and later on she tried new materials and methods. "I've spent three years of my life just trying new stuff in my basement until a good friend, with whom I painted during that period, suggested we should expose. That expo really gave me big boost. It showed me how others saw my work and I sold my first paintings." Her first paintings have a totally different look and feel compared to her Birdwomen paintings. Although they carry the same theme sometimes. Freedom is an important subject in both her life and her paintings. "To be free isn't about having all the money in the world or being able to paint. It's about finding comfort with yourself and the world around you."

Cynthia VandenBor

In her early work you can see a lot of people trying to break free from their self-limiting thoughts and the Birdwomen could be seen as a symbol for freedom as well. "I think a lot of people are very limited in the way they think and feel. A bird, obviously, is a symbol of freedom, but the tiny wings of the birdwomen also symbolize their limitations." When she started painting Birdwomen, it meant a turning point in her painting career. "I think it was around 2010 when it hit me. I drove past a pond and saw a heron, standing on one leg with it’s nose in the air. In some way it reminded me of a very graceful woman: long legs, confident and maybe even a bit dangerous. I felt that I had to do something with that image." This resulted in the surrealistic Birdwomen paintings her fans are now familiar with. A sharp head, feathered fingers and long legs on high heels. The Birdwomen display the gracefulness of both the woman and the bird. Especially the stork is an often seen bird in Cynthia’s paintings: "They have the most beautiful eyes. They're sharp, feminine and it looks like they're wearing eyeliner."In that way Cynthia's paintings kind of reflect herself. A graceful woman, with a sharp tongue, and a warm heart. It got her a part-time job as an art-teacher at a local elementary school where she doesn't only teach how to paint, but also to work together and to think free. She thinks the painting Ask and receive symbolizes her own character mostly: "I think being kind and open can get you very far. When you have pure intentions and you truly believe in what you want to achieve, life will be easier and good things will come to you." With her kindness and talent, it will be a foresight of which Cynthia can be sure.

Also want to be a ‘Featured Artist’? Send an e-mail to info@artstarter.nl and who knows you’ll be in the spotlights next month!