Peter N. Van Giesen: ” The artist drives society to be a better version of itself.”


Exclusive Interview with Peter N. Van Giesen – Artist

Beyond and above all else, Peter is an artist.  He discovered his artistic and business talents early in elementary school when he sold some of his first works of art at recess for snack money. After taking every available art class during high school in Ontario, he completed two post-secondary degrees in Psychology & Religion. He migrated to the west coast in 1981 and finally settled in Victoria in 1999.

After completion of his degree in Religion he worked in large churches a a pastor, but ran out of things to say, “I preach now through my art,” he laughs.  Having trained in architectural design Van Giesen went on to work in nearly 50 industries in roles with executive management and consulting in such fields as entertainment, international trade, manufacturing, transportation, tourism, retail, and education. 

During every stage of life, he took time to exercise creativity. When a studio space was available, his number of paintings flourished.  When no such space was available his creativity was channeled into his other endeavors in business and charitable sectors.  In 2010 he was in the position to channel all his efforts into his first passion for visual art on a professional level.  His first public display of his artwork was at the Victoria International Airport in 2012. His first solo art show, in January 2013, resulted in strong support from art lovers and art collectors from Canada and abroad.  

His artworks can be found in private, corporate, and public collections around the world. His artworks have received recognition with several international awards.  He is proud to have his artwork included in the permanent collection at British Columbia’s Government House which is the official residence to the Royal Family whenever they visit British Columbia. His work is also in the permanent collection at The Union Club of British Columbia.

Van Giesen opened Central Art Studio and Gallery in 2017 merging his business experience with his artistic talent. He notes a live long commitment to artistic expression as he has no plans to hang up his brushes.  “I’ll expire doing this,” he says, “Art is part of life and is all around us, so there is no better place for me than to be in the stream of humanity. Not a bad life. So how do you retire from that? Plus, once I am done, my art lives on.”

Peter’s artistic expression takes a get deal of focus and energy.  Peter states that, “doing art for me is a mystical process, a spiritual work, a profound experience, and a gift meant to be shared.” 

Peter Van Giesen sitting on bench Self Portrait

NY Glam: Tell us a little about yourself and your career beginnings.

I am Peter Van Giesen. I was born and raised in Toronto area of Ontario, Canada to Dutch immigrant parents. Immediately after high school I migrated to the West Coast where I now reside.   My creativity was validated early in elementary school where at the age of eight or nine, I sold cartoons and drawings to other kids to lunch money or traded for stuff like a bike, a watch, etc. One time I traded a drawing to a customer on my newspaper route, for a puppy that I then traded for a baby muskrat (that freaked out my parents who generously allowed me to keep it for a few weeks before making release it back into a local marsh).

 I classify myself as an “Intuitive Artist.  I do not have to try and paint as it is natural gift. I am inspired from within, so what you see is a creation from my inner world. I am influenced by the natural world, so many artworks represent Vancouver Island and the surrounding oceanic areas.

NY Glam: What projects are you currently working on?

 An interesting question as I do not segment my life into projects.  As an artist, it is who I am and it a matter of lifestyle. I guess one could note that my life is one big evolving project. My creativity is something continuously present so even when not physically creating, I am processing my artistry internally.  Creativity oozes from my very sense of being alive.

NY Glam: What art do you most identify with?

I love art that truly represents the heart and soul of each artist that creates it.  Each artist is a district creation themselves so I am attracted to that uniqueness.  So, when I reviewed my personal collection of art hanging in my home, it is very diverse from abstract to representational stylistically.

NY Glam: What themes do you pursue?

The interconnected energy of the natural world continues to capture my attention.  I call what I do, “capturing the eternal aura of nature.” My creativity is the result of sporadic surges of energy that percolate past my consciousness.”

Peter N. Van Giesen selfportrait#2

NY Glam: What is your favorite art work? 

Shells and Starfish by Maurits Cornelis Escher (1898-1972) I am fascinated by his unique tessellation style of bonding nature with mathematical symmetry: perfect imperfection.  I had a print of this artwork in my collection for over 30 years.

NY Glam: Tells us about some of your recent exhibitions. What memorable responses have you had to your work?

I found the constant round of seeking exhibitions quite exhausting so I prefer to offer the public an ongoing gallery of my work so have a large studio gallery in a local shopping mall where I create art in public as well as sell my work year-round. I focus on creating an experience as not everyone can buy art, but they can come in from the hectic outside world. I can provide a calm ambience with makes the visitor feel happy.  Certainly, enough art is sold to provide me a comfortable living.   A memorable response, “Viewing Peter N. Van Giesen’s life-affirming paintings is a transcendent experience. His art immediately calms our nerves, slows our breathing, and beckons us to follow the path to quiet contemplation. His exquisite scenic vistas, that reach toward what appears to be infinity, serve as metaphors for the mysterious unknown and the realm of unlimited possibilities.”

NY Glam: Tell us about one of your projects which you are very proud of.

I love assisting other artists get their art to be seen by the public so since 2014, I have been the coordinator (volunteer position) for an Artist in Residence program at the Coast Victoria Hotel and Marina by APA. I screen and select 12 artists annually, each of which is assigned a one-month residence period to show their art through out the hotel lobby and restaurant with 100% of the proceeds of sale going directly to the artist.

NY Glam: What does “being creative” mean to you?

Exercising creativity is a representation of me being alive.  I breathe therefore I create!

NY Glam: What are you trying to communicate with your art?

Creativity is a spiritual work for me so I communicate the dynamic tension and elastic energy that binds all things together into a synthetic unity.

NY Glam: What role does the Artist have in Society?

Artistry makes sense of all that exists in our world. It communicates the connectedness of all our senses giving us occasion for expression of all emotion. Art interprets the world for us to grasp the necessary and the important. The artist drives society to be a better version of itself.

NY Glam: What are your thoughts on being an artist in today’s world?

 Exercising creativity is a most liberating of endeavours.  Society would do well to increasingly embrace the creatives in their midst. Truly all forms of artistic expression are gifts to society.

NY Glam: How has painting influenced your life?

 Painting represents my shared journey through this life which has welcomed many people to come along side. Artist expression gives me a vehicle to communicate how I see the world.

NY Glam: What art movement or artist would you say influences your work most?

Claude Monet and French Impressionism with its loose brush strokes, using bright colors to provide definition, real everyday themes, its depiction of light, and open compositions

PeterNVanGiesensmiles self portrait

NY Glam: What can we expect from you this year?

I will continue to host & sell my own paintings as well as the creations of artists I love at my public studio gallery named Central Art Studio & Gallery located in the Bay Centre downtown Victoria. I will welcome a growing number of art collectors from around the globe.

NY Glam: Can you share with us three favorite things about your city/culture?

Living in Victoria, British Columbia on Vancouver Island places me amid the natural environment of a temperate rain forest so an excellent jump off point to explore the surrounding area. The City of Victoria is a beautifully situated small city welcoming visitor from around the world. I love the temperate climate, never too hot nor too cold.

NY Glam: Where can everyone keep up with you to learn more? …social media…website

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