Interview with Ard Doko

Hi Doko, today you selected for MoW 3 of your artworks inspired by music. Can you tell MoW why you selected those. What was the music that inspired those artworks? How did music inspire them ? How is music represented in your work ?

I think out of all the paintings these are the ones I still can recall in my head which music was playing at the time. I listen to a lot of music but sometimes I just forget the album or song. I remember Give me a Sign (see artwork on the left) was made during the "House of Gold and Bones pt.1 "of Stone Sour. The other 2 are made during the album "Bright Companions" by John Coffey. Music inspires me on many levels but process wise it’s just how I paint. If I listen to punk or metal my brushstrokes are really aggressive.

- Why is music important to you and your art? 

Music is really important during my process cause it’s not just the image. The title, the image and process all together tell my story of how I felt that day or feel about certain moments in my life. I have going through a lot of shit in my life and always sought comfort in the music I listened to cause I felt related to the lyrics or the vibe that it had.  Now a days it’s easier for me to open up and release my energy on canvas with no boundaries cause the music is making me move.



- You were part of the Music is Art Project. Is it still running ? Who came with the project ? How was the experience for you as a visual artist ? What's next with that project?

The  music = art project was founded in april 2013 by PlutoDash and I . I had an exhibit that day in Amsterdam and he had to keep me company and help me out with hanging the paintings. I did some livepainting that day aswell and we were talking during the process about music and art. So I told him I would love to do a collab with musicians and have an idea like for every track a different image and he 1-upped the idea by having different visual artists for each track. For me it’s really fun to do cause I already did a lot of live painting in the Netherlands at dubstep party’s etc but Pluto introduced me to a whole new genre for me. Liquid Geometry the label he is with really digged the idea as well and we were up and running. In October I toured with the Liquid Geometry artists doing live painting during there sets in Cali,Nevada and Mexico. That month was a blast and a good learning school for both sides I guess to see if it would work in reality. Luckily it did and we had great shows. As far as the project goes. We just wrapped up and the  album is online.  I really hope we could do a second volume but we haven’t talked about that yet.

- If you had to choose between the three, which of your artwork would be your favourite ? 

That’s a hard one. I usually like my latest artwork the most but Give me a sign is a special one for me. Just because at that time I was going through a shit periode and I remember crying my eyes out while painting that work.  Months later I showed the painting during an exhibit and a woman began to cry when she saw it. It reminded her about her own struggle with cancer which meant a lot to me. So favorite isn’t the right word but it’s definitely a special one

- Can you tell MoW more about the techniques you used. How old is your technique? How did it start? How long does it take you to make an artwork ?

I grew up as a graffiti writer and slowly turned into street art when I was younger, so I have the basic elements of tagging and stenciling but that became really boring for me in the long run. After a while I started experimenting more with brushes and palette knife. I’m still developing my style but it’s rather wild. A lot of ink/acrylics and oil mixed together and a lot of throwing and smashing high amounts of paint on the canvas.  I really don’t have a technique behind it.. it’s just a lot of emotion I try to express. For me the whole process from idea to completion can take a week of almost non stop work.

- Do you have plans on creating new artworks insipired by music ?

I’m currently busy for my first big solo exhibit at Amsterdam Outsider Art called “Death Dance of the Frogfish” It’s about the various psychiatric diseases in life and the title is linked to the song "They’re Coming To Take Me Away" by Napoleon XIV . All that paintings are linked to songs that were played during the process and from songs that I played during my time in the Mental Hospital when I was a kid.

- Do you listen to music when your working ? If so what kind of music ?

I listen to various genres. If I’m working on my personal work for the exhibit it’s more of experimental and metal I guess. For portraits of customers it’s usually Tom Waits and during the live painting I would listen to whatever the dj/producer is playing. Except if it’s really shit, I would grab my iPod and listen to EdithPiaff. Her songs calm me down if I need to focus.

- What is the song you liked the most lately? Or album ? What was the last gig you went to ?

Favourite song at this moment is "Sowing Season"  by the band Brand New.

Albums: "Come What Ever May" by Stone Sour and The Blackening by Machine Head.

Last gigs? Probably John Coffey with Pyscho 44 and Tim Vantol. I just love the energy of punk and metal and the moshpits. But then again a week before that I was sitting on my ass at a Van Morrisson show with my girlfriend which I really enjoyed. 

- Are you a musician yourself ?

I play drums and guitar. I would love to be a part of a band but I can’t really commit to it with all the stuff around my art at the moment. Hopefully I will make an album one day with my poems on music I composed.

Find out more about Ard Doko and get connected :

Street and contemporary (outsider) artist/writer/ live painter

Visual creative at