Jacob Kanbier was born in the Dutch city Leiden in 1949. His father was a very successful businessman who owned lots of companies and he was hoping that his son would it take over from him. Jacob however had a totally different idealism, namely creating art that he can leave behind for many generations to come. He starts his first painting steps when he is in the end of his 20s. A few years after that he starts at the Art Academy in Amsterdam, but the Dutch art education is totally not appealing to him. Mainly a lot of “wannabe” artists who do exactly what the teacher told them to. That’s why he self taught all the techniques so he is mainly autodidactic.
Kanbier lets himself mostly inspire by the artists Willem de Kooning and Jean-Michel Basquiat. Based on these artists, his preference is rough work that he creates with his hands and brush, in an explosive creative process.
Following on famous Dutch artists from the past, Kanbier paints as one of the last Dutch artists mainly on large size canvas. Sometimes even extreme sizes, what he calls monumental work. He also likes to show himself to the audience with a lot of so called “live action paintings”. He is more and more noticed and that results in 1987 in an “action painting show” at the Boulevard of Broken Dreams in Amsterdam, together with Herman Brood, Jules Deelder and Simon Vinkenoog. Jules Deelder talks monologues in the theater and Kanbier paints about that on the stage at the same time. In the same year Kanbier had his first solo exposition in Museum de Lakenhal in Leiden.