Interview with John Kviar

John Kviar discovered graffiti during his youth in Paris area, near Melun, where he grew up. After a few years spent drawing and taging, it was in 2002 that he began to do graffiti. In 2009 he created with a couple of friends the artistic collective Thérapicturale. It was during that same period that Kviar imagined characters in human form, but without body. Where graffiti made very expressive and visual characters, overturning the codes by liberating from all these constraints. Gradually, he sets the scene and imagines situations both surreal and poetic. Over the last few years, Kviar sets his stories in pictures on canvases with oil painting. By freeing himself from any distinctive human character traits, it imposes through his characters true identity both unique and amazing.

At the end of September, John Kviar will have his first solo show at Backside Gallery in Marseille (France).


Hi John Kviar, today you selected for Music On Walls three of your artworks inspired by music.

Can you explain what did motivate you to create works inspired by music?

Music is present in my life, everyday. Not as a musician (which I am not) but as a listener. Whether at my work place, or when I travel,  I always listen to music. My paintings are inspired by my everyday life, these are personal works and music comes grafted itself into my creations naturally.




Do you have a favorite artwork among those presented today?

Yes! La Leçon (see image on the right)

This work was born from a picture that remained in my mind while I was waiting in a train station. A piano free to use but pretty damaged was disposed in the center of the waiting room. After a few minutes a young man wearing a hat and sportwear clothes sat at the piano and began to play in a wonderful way and incredibly fast. Carried away by the polyphony, the vision of this person who looked nothing like a piano prodigy surprised me and really impressed me. This image is the origin of this work.

Furthermore it emphasizes the fact that behind the physical appearance, some beautiful surprises can be hidden hence the invisibility of my character.


Do you have plans to create new works inspired by music?

I have some ideas in mind, with tributes to musicians such as Miles Davis or John Coltrane, that I could mix to recreate a crazy character. I love Ghettoblasters as well and I think I would like to create new works that integrate this iconic object. I would also like to work on a painting that would reveal the inside of a piano, both complex and accurate.


Can you tell us about your creation techniques and how long does it take to create a work?

I work mainly on canvas with oil painting. This technique allows me to achieve levels of depth and interesting nuances. Long enough dry time allows me to rework the canvas constantly. Acrylic paint rather intervenes in areas of solids in the idea of having something extremely opaque and smooth.

Being an full-time industrial designer, achieving a work takes me a little time, between three weeks and one month depending on its size.

Do you listen to music when you create?

Yes I do listen to a lot of music when I create. Right now, I listen to a lot of Sonic Youth, Gainsbourg or Wire. In general, I listen to all styles of music, from hip-hop to rock or more traditional things, but nothing beats a good Johnny (Halliday).

The music gives you a good shot of motivation or otherwise can set a great atmosphere to stay focused when necessary. In addition, some authors are very inspiring to me by their creativity and the world they created. Lou Reed, for example.

What are the songs you like the most lately?

Right now, my playlist consists of :

      The Fall - Living Too Late                          Nina Simone Baltimore           Mac Miller - I'm Not Real (ft Earl Sweatshirt)          King Geedorah - Fazers


What was the last concert you went to?

Because of a lack of time I attended a very few concerts concert lately, the last one was a few years back but it was legendary: I went to see NAS in Marseille. The atmosphere was great. He did many of his classic songs that plunged us again a few years back.


Are you a musician? 

I'm not a musician, I am not patient enough to learn. It is quiet paradoxal given the time it takes me to paint a canvas. I prefer to listen to those who have mastered the instruments and be carried into their world.


How would you see yourself as a musician?

If I was a musician, I think the piano would be my instrument. The power of a piano when mastered is amazing and I think it is a beautiful object.





Backside Gallery will present John Kviar first solo show

Opening reception 29th September 2016 from 7pm


88 rue de l'Evêché 13002 Marseille