Girl's crush : Filippa Edghill
We first met Filippa at her own art exhibition rightly called « Daughter of the Sea » in the small fishermen village of Guethary in the South West of France. From her beautiful paintings to all the loving friends and good vibes surrounding her we immediately felt the urge to know more about this 25 years old mermaid. We met again on a sunny afternoon in Biarritz for a cup of green tea in her cosy home right by the sea and had a little chat about her life journey and experiences. Both a surfer and an artist Filippa is one girl to be known, read more about her van trip making the South Coast of France her new home away from home.
You are half Swedish half Bajan, how those two cultures have influenced your life?
I am daugther of a Swedish mother and a Bajan father. Sweden gives me an appreciation for the shifting experiences of the North. Darkness and light forever changing back and forth. Barbados gives me a love for the ocean, close-ness to nature and a helluva lot of cousins.
How did you start surfing? Where is your favorite place to surf?
I started surfing in Barbados because I come from a surfing family. I started holding on to the nose of my dads board while he was surfing, then leveled up to share a boogie board in the shore break with my brother and sister and soon after I was up on my own feet on a surfboard. My favorite place to surf in the world is Barbados because the waves are great and most often when I am surfing there I am in the water with my family which is so precious.
How was it to be a surfer living in Sweden?
Surfing in Sweden is completely different from the carribean surf scene. It's a lot more about community, stoke and dedication. It's a full project to go surfing so you really get together for a full day and do it right. Pack the car; full wetsuit, hot chocolate, stoked friends. The waves are rarely good but it can really feel like surfing world class conditions when you have been waiting for that winter storm for five months.. Seeing red noses, frozen beards and black figures of fully suited surfers in sideways snow really makes me 100% sure that Nordic surfers are the most stoked in the world.
Tell us more about your van life? What was your daily routine?
I moved down to Biarritz in my van in the beginning of this year. It was so special and relaxing because time really felt like it stood still when I was in the van. Nothing was hard, nothing at all. I was prepared to give up a lot of comfort for the freedom of living in a van but in the end I realized I didn't have to give up anything at all. It was so cozy and I constantly felt like a child in a blanket fort. Sure, there where moments where I realized that my grandmother absolutely would have classified my lifestyle as *homeless* but either way I felt very very happy homeless. Doing vanlife in nature is one thing but vanlifing in an urban environment definitely forces some hobo life skills. However I embrace it all as the most independent and free time of my life so far. My daily routine was to brush my teeth combined with checking the surf so that I could spit over the edge of the sea cliff. Then I usually made tea on the sidewalk. After that begun an alternating of working inside the van and driving around the block to charge up my battery so that I could continue working. If you live in Beaurivage, I'm sorry, I have probably passed your house with my noisy engine coming around the block 20 times in a row daily for the whole spring. When either the battery or my patience ran out for the last time of the day I would go surfing at La Cote des Basques. After the session I would strategically have brought with me a full kit of shower supplies to hit the public beach showers and make the most out of already being wet. To end the day I would usually cook a good meal in the van and then hit a bar to shamelessly try to make friends since #HomelessLonerInAVan.
You lived in San Francisco for a few years, why did you decide to move to Biarritz?
I was in San Francisco for the last 3 years and decided to leave because I was tired of struggling with visas but also because I wanted to live in a smaller place where time passed slower and living costs were less ridiculous so that I could focus on my art. I miss that place a lot though, it's a really really special place on earth mostly because of the people of the city.
What inspires you the most in your art?
My art is purely inspired by the female experience of being a girl in a non equal society.
Any new projects coming?
This winter I'm working on a new exhibition about the intimate secret universes that appear in relationships. I'm also excited about a project working on a childrens book together with a bear scientist. It will have a clear activism message for the polar bears and the environment which I am very excited about because it's mixing my art with a completely new field that I am very passionate about but that I haven't been able to contribute to in the past.