Vivian Huizenga is a native of Grand Rapids, MI., USA. She moved to Canada at 18 and has been working in Istanbul for the last 7 years. Vivian has been painting sporadically since her first painting in elementary school. Within a few years she won several honorable mentions in citywide adult competitions as a 15 and 16 year old. Although encouraged to attend art school, she rejected any external influence in her artistic pursuits, choosing instead to express on her own terms.
Vivian sold her textile works to the Charlottetown Cultural Arts Center and paintings to Prince Edward Island University, Canada in 1975. The Center often asked for more works but a busy life with 3 small children restricted her productions. Vivian taught in the Artists in Residence Program in PEI public schools in 1982 to 1983.
In 1992 to 1997 Vivian worked as a portrait artist on the streets of Paris, France, gaining popularity and recognition, she was chosen for group commissions on Montmartre. She also worked in Florence, Italy and was respected for her style of capturing people without any formal training. Vivian sold works to local restaurants, individuals and has painted on commission for the last 35 years.
Vivian’s love for old Istanbul, to capture its history, layers, from old Byzantine ruins, underground palaces, aqueducts, city walls to sunken water fountains, Ottoman camel stops and mosques of the Middle Ages, to once stately 17th century bay windows, arched doors, now crumbling and vacant, wooden houses crooked and peering sadly down narrow cobble streets, drooping in flowering vines, ripe fallen mulberries. Screeching of swifts in a night sky with wafting smoke of water pipe coal fires against haunting music of a bygone age. Peoples, age, time, lives, dwellings; an interface of existence.