Kokian
Nationality :
French
Age :
51 y.o.
Residing :
France
Kokian
Painting
Artist’s prices ranging from
2 500 € to 12 500 €
Followers Art Traffikers
9

Painting is my outlet…my oxygen, my water…and my freedom. My paintbrush ? It is the indicator of my emotions, the snapshot of my truths, both conscious and unconscious. My artworks are a concentrate of the fruit which is my inner projection. Coded, like many riddles, I love that an emotional dialogue sparks between them and others…without corruption, without facades.

Kokian

Introducing Kokian

At the age of 30, Jean-Christophe A. became Kokian, a revamped anagram of the word cocaine…although he claims that he has never touched it, has never needed it, and rejects drugs altogether, except his, which he owns up to and vindicates and for which he has chosen this pseudonym : painting…

 

The more we go into an artwork, into the artist’s work, the more we understand that this pseudonym is fully in tune with his paintings and with his relationship with painting…Addictive, without filters, spontaneous, impulsive, freed of any withholdings because uninhibited. You’ll understand why…

 

But prior to that, I must clarify two details…

First of all, Kokian did not come from the world of street-art nor is he a street artist. He’s a workshop artist with all the solitude that it entails. You’ll see the relevance of this detail …

 

Secondly, he isn’t just another artist to “do Basquiat”. I can see, as can Kokian, how his artworks may remind you of this artist who has so often been copied by clumsy imitators. And, I love his response to such a comparison : “Basquiat is a grand artist whose works I admire; it’s quite a compliment and I thank you for it. However, comparing me to Basquiat is like comparing Mozart to Beethoven. Not that I see myself as Beethoven that equals the likes of Mozart, but they are both classical music composers, one preceding the other, yet if you listen, their styles are quite different, to a trained ear, even if both classical.”

 

For my part, I will go on to say that both artists share the same medium and the same style, « Bad Painting », but they also share the same sincerity in what they portray on canvas, authenticity that stems from the same inspiration : their emotions, their flaws, their soul…a spontaneous and raw manner.

With that said, let us go back to Kokian…

 

His life story and his relationship to painting would be too long to tell, but they are both made from chaos and frustration (from not being able to make his teenage dream of becoming an artist come true, because it didn’t fit the “norm”); obliged to receive an education that would promise employment, followed by the life of a couple with the entailed responsibility of having to “put food on the table”, and the encounters that would bring him back to that deep desire to create…Kokian is of those artists who escapes through painting, a way of being, of feeling alive, and as he admits it, the need to be loved, to be recognized, to feel the love he was denied.

 

Until the age of 19, throughout his chaotic schooling, painting remained his refuge, feeding off of grand masters such as Gauguin, Monet, Picasso whose paintings he replicated, but in his fashion, with his energy…like a musician practicing scales in order to develop his own style. But, he eventually entered the active working life, put away his paintbrush, and doned on a suit and tie as per the job description of a salesmen, but always found a way to escape, every once in a while, to see exhibits or visit museums (shhh…mum’s the word !). He returned regularly to Montmartre, where already as a child he had loved to watch the artists at work…

 

But he is smothered…by this mask he has been wearing since his childhood, behind which he must stifle his desire to paint, in order to put on that everyday smile imposed by society, as well as his professional and personal lives.

The birth of his daughter, at the age of 30, was a catalyst…as he stared at her, he questioned the meaning of his life and the values he would pass down to his child, and how the child would look at her father, this man overwhelmed by the melancholy of his desire to paint, waiting in the wings…

 

That was the breaking point…everything started moving at a fast pace, everything needed to change…he took a career break (again, mum’s the word !) and picked up his paintbrush and started creating.

 

He needed a name, another identity, one that would reveal the artist that lay within him. Kokian was born.

At the time, eBay had begun to emerge in France, and so he started auctioning his artworks…His first paintings sold. A mystery buyer started purchasing regularly his artworks, one, two, then ten…because of a technical problem regarding an online payment, both men were to come into contact, whereupon the mysterious person was revealed : Jean Louis H, businessman and avid art collector, founder of the Montresso Foundation and the “Jardin Rouge” artist residency in Marrakech…their phone conversation lasted hours… acknowledgement of the work accomplished, Kokian’s artworks, by an adept Art lover…the latter took him under his wing and set up his first exhibitions, including both starting blocks abroad, in Moscow and the Jardin Rouge.

 

Kokian entered galleries, where his paintings were sold ; prices started to soar, a first auction rating at Cornet de St Cyr in 2017 then onto the Artcurial auction house, followed by a collaboration with Orlinski which opened doors. An exhilaration in which he strayed, got lost, amplified by several experiences with galleries that weren’t, what you’d call,…transparent…

 

So, he put a halt to it all and got in touch again with Jean-Louis H. That was when he made his official entry into the Montresso Foundation and began taking courses at the Jardin Rouge, like a monastic retreat during which he worked and worked, and, in between, got a divorce. And, with this shortcoming, he gained absolute freedom…vital to the well-resolved artist he had become. I would even go on to say, here he is again today, with a technic that is maturing…improving…

Bold, steadfast, overflowing with energy; plentiful after years of frustration, his paintings, his artworks reflect the fruit of all that dwelled within him and which he had been hiding behind his mask.

 

His stroke is impulsive and explosive. His trademark characters are these black women, icons embodying the idealized maternal figure, which he missed out on during his earliest years in life while his parents were based overseas in the course of duty, in Burma and in Morocco, hence entrusting him to nannies.

 

Words gush out from his soul, impulsively. Words that are, as he puts it, “colors”, as are those he uses for painting.

 

Faces ? Not really, masks rather, like the one he has worn and many others have worn, but that he wants cheerful, upbeat, charged emotionally, filled with his energy, and with which he identifies, like mirrors. 

We can alsfio find, in many of his artworks, tributes to the Masters that inspired his first artworks up until his 19th birthday…always keeping in mind Matisse, the frontman who you’ll easily recognize… 

An issue, a desire, a social topic ? He’ll Kokianize it, like the caricaturists from Montmartre , with his critical eye, but also with his emotions, his interpretation, his style. 

And, all of this, with his energy and stroke that are both genuine. 

He is an ultra-productive artist…in one day, he can draw up to 100 drawings, but he’ll only keep two or three, hence channeling his output. The rest will be put away, but he’ll eventually come back to them. For, just like with his paintings, Kokian likes to be “in the moment”, impetus, which leads to unfinished artworks, or that reflect a negative energy. “I edit all my artworks afterwards, before they leave my workshop, for I always find mistakes, or negative emotions, yet I only want the best, from now on”. So, yes, each of his paintings and drawings are the result of the first throws of paint, then “fixed”, in order to meet his expectations, and also to create artworks that are positive; like he often says “life is beautiful”… 

And, if Kokian has attained such artistic maturity, through hard work and self-questioning, and with the help of Jean-Louis H. guidance, it is without a doubt that his work will continue to evolve…towards even more sincerity ? Most certainly. Towards formats of greater dimensions ? That is his ambition. But, also certainly towards simplicity, as his present artworks can attest, with his stroke presently more intense. 

Art Traffik isparticularly pleased to present this artist to you. Now, that he is making a comeback, ever more intense, and with yet an undeniable upside potential…artistically, of course, but on the market as well, that will surely appeal to collectors.

ARTISTS HE ADMIRES : 

Picasso Matisse Basquiat