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Don’t underestimate the man in the mirror

Xp Bonaire Feature Story

Figuring out how to live life is a never-ending lesson for all of us, but when you feel different and need to express yourself in a non-conventional way, the inner struggle becomes even harder. When you find yourself in all this, Artist Robert Nestor is your kinsmen. He lives and breathes his chosen path.

You might think his name sounds familiar and that is true. Robert was named after the legendary Robert Nesta Marley, better known under his artist’s name, Bob Marley. Born and raised in the European Netherlands by Surinamese parents, he was one of the only children of color. As he explains, “men of color grow up to always be strong and not show any emotions “.

Believe in Yourself

When he was young, he was a fanatical and great soccer player. But after an injury, he never got his mojo back and became a great disappointment to his father, who envisioned him having a career in soccer.

Trying to fit in and make your parents proud, while figuring out life and what you want to do and be, can be a roller-coaster. With many ups and downs, finding himself became Robert’s path. From being homeless to finding the validation he was desperately looking for; to having peace with his uniqueness and the confidence to know that what is done from the heart and with passion can’t be wrong.

Another of Robert’s passions was fashion. He liked to dress well, but, of course, that can be very expensive and he had to find other ways and started customizing his own cloth. Friends loved his pieces and wanted to buy them. He started collaborating with a good friend and they created “lostboys 812”. For the first time in his life, he felt this could be it and he would be able to become something.

When he moved to Amsterdam, he started another brand “offthegridjeans” by himself and his friends loved his distressed jean pieces. A friend and shop owner gave him a place in his store and he set up his workshop to customize pieces.

From there he started working with colors and as he stated, "found himself. Colors are a way of expressing yourself and show others who you are. Colors have so much meaning.” Since he says he can’t draw at all, he developed an abstract style that carried his pieces to another dimension. “When I work on a piece, I go in hyperfocus and forget the world around me until I’m done riding the wave.” When a new friend offered him the opportunity to join BigStreet68, a group of different artists who travelled all over the place to different festivals and events together, his passion became a way of life.

Be part of the community

Robert loves to travel and live in different countries. He had been traveling all over Europe and, with his former girlfriend, decided to come to Bonaire in March 2020. He planned to do something for the community and especially for teenagers and young adults.

Knowing the “struggling artist life” well and still young at heart, he wants to guide the younger generation in a positive way; to understand how our society works; how to maneuver through life while finding yourself and following your heart.


Of course, the covid pandemic immediately put and stop to all stability. He figured out ways to have a roof over his head and buy his food while also working on his art. Starting as a volunteer at Hofi kultural, he now is part of the workshops, organized by Hofi Kultural, under the name, “Street Colors”, where teenagers paint murals all over Bonaire and learn how to express themselves in different ways.

Besides murals, he still customizes cloth, creates merchandise and paintings. Collaborating with other artists on the island has already made him a well-known name in the creative community. His abstract style adds much depth to a piece of art. Even when you have not heard of the artist, you may have seen his art at Jibe City Hang Out, at Tikibar or other places.

High on his Wishlist would opening a store for artists to find tools, templates and other necessities, while also selling merchandise and other art pieces.

In a few years, Robert plans to see the other islands, Curacao and Aruba, and travel to other countries, always with the goal of being a part of, and getting inspired by, the artist communities and helping the younger generation find their confidence and way without wasting too much time on doubting themselves.

Many projects are requested and you will see more of his art on the island in the future. Check him out on Instagram or contact him for a custom piece of art.


Robert Nestor

Whatsapp: +599 770 7443

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