“The two subjects that have influenced my entire life are love and death,” says George Struikelblok, whose father died before he was born. This absence in his childhood led to a sadness and lack of understanding, which would go on to make its way into his artwork, which, for a time, reflected this inner darkness in its own gloomy tones. Struikelblok describes this work as somber in nature, though he embraced the abstract, emotional quality of these paintings. Everything shifted, however, when Struikelblok became a father himself. The images began to brighten as the concept of family took on new meaning, as love replaced what death had taken.
Today, Struikelblok’s acrylic paintings are playful and vibrantly colored with thick patches of blues, greens, and oranges. His pieces are tied to the theme of family with titles emphasizing togetherness, happiness, and embrace. The imagery itself is a collision of worlds, exhibiting touches of Mondrian and Ralph Steadman, but also incorporating letters and numbers representing communication. At the heart of Struikelblok’s work is the dictum “Lob Makandra,” which translates from Sranan to “Love each other,” a lesson life has taught him well.