Femke van Geffen Draws Us Good Sex

"You constantly have to challenge yourself. No one is going to just hand you anything. Including assignments.”

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A well-traveled person usually has a unique perspective on life because they’ve been exposed to different cultures and a diverse way of living. Now combine this recipe: woman, has lived in 10 countries and can’t claim a hometown, 29 years old and an artist. What will emerge from the oven, crisp and well cooked, would be Femke van Geffen, who believes in expressing herself through visuals that make her feel good mentally and physically. With innovative collage-like imagery that shows the beauty of the ocean, birds, everyday life and untouched topics like sex and intimacy, Geffen is daring and proves that women aren’t just pretty little creatures. She uses her art in ways that a feminist would: telling truth.

“I have my focus on sex, intimacy and relationships. I also incorporate modern dating aspects. The concept of ‘casual sex’ is another that I explored in my personal life and in my work.”

But as a child, birds dominated her notebook. “I used to draw all the birds I could think of or could see in my parent’s bird watching books. Earliest memory was on our sailboat.”

Encompassed with a fierce competitive attitude, Geffen found herself encouraged to continue drawing because she simply loved being good at things. And who can blame her? We’re living in a world that tries to limit the creative flow of women, especially those who are comfortable with themselves and have embraced their many layers. So when a clear and fluid space is found in which freedom can live, be sure to take off, girl.

It was this image (above) that gave Geffen the opportunity to show who she really was. “This is a self-portrait I did 5 years ago about not feeling free in your own skin, hence the hand birds. I have since then transformed my life and I now feel great which is represented in the different texture ‘roles’ that I can play within the same ‘old’ skin I used to feel confined to.”

Her range of topics are driven with the hopes of charging people to question what is happening around them or in their personal lives. “I mainly want them to be empowered with a slight humoristic element. I think life is quite difficult and a little empowerment and some humor can be a nice addition to someone’s life.”

I definitely can’t argue with that.

Her talents spread smoothly, like peanut butter on a hot toast, across multiple platforms like digital or wood illustrations and home décor. Geffen is never with a lack of inspiration or creative flow. Her flexibility allows her the ability to work anywhere, without a routine or blueprint. She is a pure example of being carefree and sovereignty – not needing ten different reasons to create because, simply, the want is enough.

But that doesn’t mean she can’t be stimulated. “Conversations with people often inspire me. Romantic relationships gone wrong, too.”

Maybe that is where this drawing sprouted from (below). Geffen’s work forces you to study it, to truly pay attention because of the detail that is both obvious and subliminal. And sometimes, even as you take in all the detail, you still may remain perplexed. I couldn’t wrap my head around this particular one. I definitely see love, compassion, and intimacy. The clouds lead me to believe in their spiritual connection. But the additional bodies throw me off – is this supposed to be about swingers?

“This ‘Kiss’ is about embracing the person you love and also their past sexual experiences. [His past is] represented by the people having sex throughout his body. You’re not only in contact with that person but also their past.”


Although she may appear so, Geffen isn’t perfect. The hardest part about following her dream is “that you constantly have to challenge yourself. No one is going to just hand you anything. Including assignments.”