Jaybo Monk

Jaybo Monk left his family home in the south of France at a young age and moved to Kreuzberg, Berlin in the early Eighties. He became a graffiti writer, street actor and hip-hop musician. Since then, he has been exploring the creative world in every direction. Jaybo has been involved in fashion, founding the street wear company, Irie Daily. He also created a culture magazine called Style in the early 90’s. Both magazines have been influential on Berlin’s youth culture and fashion community. Even today, urban subculture is the driving force behind his artistic activities on all levels. He also is a member of the Agents of Change with Kofie, Derm, Remi/Rough and many more.

 Jaybo Monk

Jaybo Monk


Jaybo Monk has also embraced the canvas, a white square of creative freedom, where, beyond starting a dialogue with the viewer, the painter loses and finds himself again and again. He is an urban wanderer, a traveler that moves in the space of the unfinished metropolis that is the world. He wanders among memories, fragments and traces that are abandoned in the urban landscape and work together like a theatre of human joy and pain, studded with relationships that slide between first glances and deep emotions. 

During this wandering, the painter meets the unexpected, and what happens by chance, and is inspired by that accident. That incidental event, detail, word, or shape that breaks in along the way, Monk takes with him to the canvas. Monk builds his poetics on these small accidents and unwanted mistakes. His research in painting is about trying to be open to the unknown and to the accidental, without prejudices, but with amazement and curiosity. Everything that runs away from the standards or that remains lost in the cracks of a reality sneaks into the painter's mind and comes together in his imaginative world. 

The basis of Monk's visual alphabet is a series of silent frames that tell forgotten stories and unveil secrets and memories lost in time along the way. Then comes geometry, the archetype of the beauty of the world that first breaks the pictorial rhythm of the human body and then mingles itself with flesh and bones on the canvas. “There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion,” as Francis Bacon said. 

Monk never settles for what he already knows. He is on a constant journey exploring new techniques and new artistic practices, because art, as life, to him continues only if people take up the challenge of constant change. What enthuses the painter in fact is the living, the vibrant, what is in evolution, in a state of becoming, what is in progress. His interest is in the act of painting rather than in the result. He cares only about the ways to go through the work of art, measuring himself with it. 

According to Monk, canvases are dead once they are finished, they are what remains of the painter's “acts of art,” as he calls those moments in which the ego totally disappears, the self is completely absorbed in the creative process, and there is just the pure freedom of creativity.



2012: The Composite Knowledge (with Poesia & Sam Rodriguez), 1am Gallery, San Francisco; Silent Listen, Soze Gallery, LA; Running With The Hunted, Circleculture Gallery, Berlin. 2011: Sur-Faces, Karen Gallery, Australia; Inside Out & Vice Versa, Westbank Gallery, London; Moments (With Erykah Badu), @Made, Berlin; Rudimentary Perfection, Recoat Gallery, Glasgow; Collabo ART (with Persue, Poesia, Yoshi47), Lion Festival, Cannes France; Cypher Project, Village Underground, London; ArtMosh, Hemsedal, Norway; Entopics, Tache Gallery, NYC; Less Than Zero, Seven Minus Seven Gallery, St. Thomas, Vigin Island. 2010: L’Art Urbain…du mur à l'atelier, Addict Gallery, Paris; Hazardous Brushstrokes, Circleculture Gallery, Berlin; Escape 2010 (international exhibition of urban art), Vienna; Decadentisme (with Marco “Pho” Grassi), AvantGarden Gallery, Milan; No Start No End (with Remi Rough), Nuble Gallery, Santander, Spain; In The Back Of Real, Stolen Space Gallery, London; Never A Dull Moment, White Walls SF, San Francisco. 2009: Headscape: Tales From The Drifter, Signal Gallery, London; Line Steppers, Jibbering Art, Birmingham.


Sources: Information and texts compiled by Alison Tara from a 2012 artist statement and the artist’s website.