THE KID @artist_the_kid is a contemporary artist whose realistic work took over the world as he was invited to create his own solo exhibitions currently held at the MOCO Museum in Amsterdam and more recently at the TEMPLON Gallery in Paris thanks to his whole-hearted, strong, and, somehow, dissent pieces.
Despite the strong social messages in his art, part of the allure of his work is the crystallization of beauty during life-defining moments in youth. THE KID manages to capture the balance between an innocent being and the time to face inevitable sudden adulthood that is yet to come due to the external circumstances affecting the subjects.
His most famous pieces are oil paintings and silicone sculptures that captivate the eye of every viewer who instantly gets attracted to his work in similar ways a lover of the Greek mythology that loves the myth Narcissus feels fascinated any time he or she is in front of daffodils.
Not that my purpose is to force an oxymoron while describing the work of THE KID, but it is impossible to ignore how he captures splendor in places and moments that might result frightening because of the fragility of the subjects that might be altered by the events they are experiencing.
I Saw The Sun Begin To Dim, 2019. THE KID. MOCO Museum Amsterdam, 2021. Oil painting on canvas. 244 x 351 x 6 cm.
His work shows the beauty in rebellion, beauty in opposing the status quo, magnificence in being a kid who is about to grow up, grandeur in the fierceness of a brittle but fearless youth during hard times of unconformity.
Few times we have the opportunity to openly speak to an artist and receive frank answers about his life and work with the welcoming ambiance THE KID made us feel. His words are a see trough of his mind, and with every given answer we are able to perceive and understand even more the kind of feelings we sense when we stare at his art pieces.
I hope you come to understand and appreciate him and his art, more and more, the way I did it after noticing from his kind words why I, like many others, stay in awe when my eyes got into his canvases, drawings, and sculptures.
Therefore, I invite you to keep reading this article to find out how was that conversation I had with THE KID, to know more about the way he sees life, and to feel related to his trailblazing message.
An American Pastoral, 2019. THE KID. MOCO Museum Amsterdam, 2021. Oil painting on canvas, 281 x 213 cm.
Excitement and introspection
VT: How do you remember the first time you received a call to tell you your work was about to be exhibited in a solo show at a museum?
I thought GREAT perfect timing! Because I started this whole series of oil paintings and life-size sculptures in 2017, as I was struck that summer by the events in Charlottesville (USA): where Civil rights counter-protesters clashed with American nationalists, white supremacists, and Ku Klux Klan members, who were opposing the project of the municipality to take down the equestrian statue of General Robert E Lee, a leading figure of the Confederates and a staunch supporter of slavery. Through this series, I’m questioning how the current social and political history seems to repeat itself in too many democracies around the world and the stance today’s youth will decide to take. For me, the words of Coretta Scott King have never been so right and urgent again: “Freedom is never really won, you earn it and win it in every generation!” The latest events in the USA just re-confirmed it, so it was the perfect moment that MOCO Museum and its chief curator Kim Logchies Prins sought me out, shared the urgency of such a message by creating this solo show and exhibiting my body of works at today’s critical moment in time…
VT: Great part of modern art was about going beyond realism and established shapes; how do you think your work found a place in this era?
I believe my work is finding its place in today’s era because it’s relatable, it holds up a mirror to the audience and makes them pause and reflect. That’s something I always loved for example in the works of Caravaggio, he was using everyday people as models for Jesus or the Virgin Mary, and this same thing can be found in artists like Duane Hanson or the Chapman Brothers or in counter-culture movies like for example Over The Edge by Jonathan Kaplan or Kids by Larry Clark, which made a strong impression on me.
¡No Pasarán!, 2017. THE KID. Le Grand Palais Paris, 2017. Installation in silicone (no animal was hurt), 240 x 500 x 190 cm.
Relativities of arts
VT: You have quoted The Picture of Dorian Gray, and have talked about how tragedy is connected to beauty. What do you have to say to those who might think you romanticize violence as a form of beauty?
In my works, I try to capture my subjects in defining moments, caught between childhood and adulthood, between innocence and corruption. Each, and everyone, has a paroxysmal point in life, and beauty and tragedy are just two different sides of the same reality of life.
VT: What are some artists’ clichés you dislike the most or have nothing to do with you?
The cliché that makes me laugh the most is the pretentious over-valorization of having gone to art school and then which one. I think it’s the opposite of what art should be, it should be born out of urgency and necessity, not out of cookie-cutter models and outdated elitist rules and preconceptions.
VT: What are your thoughts about fashion and media?
Listen, we get our news and entertainment delivered to the palm of our hands 24/7. And we get it the way we like it, colored the way we want it, everything within reach but nothing obtainable. And the news is awful, overwhelming, and desensitizing us, blurring lines between truth and fiction, information and propaganda. But at the same time, I’m hooked, I think we all are. And like during the great depression when people wanted to watch Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers dance on expensive sets and live in a dream world, I too feel the need to create my own world to be able to make sense of it all. A world built with fragments of my generation’s “today”. A world full of questions, but without pre-chewed answers.
Over And Over, 2019. THE KID. MOCO Museum Amsterdam, 2021. Oil painting on canvas, 246 x 199 cm.
A generation who cares and looks for the future
VT: How about activism? Some people think your generation does not care about social issues, how you and your work have proved them they are wrong?
Each of my works is deeply rooted in my personal experience and expresses my fears and hopes. And doing so, I’m questioning the audience about social determinism, the inequality of opportunities, or the fading line between right and wrong, truth and fake in our fragile democracies. And I can see that more and more young people of my generation share these views and the urgency to act upon them! But I don’t consider myself an activist, and I don’t need to prove anything, especially not that I am right and others wrong. Through my work I merely bare witness of “TODAY” and hopefully it will inspire others.
VT: When the pandemic took over the world, what came to your mind? How did you manage to keep your mental health?
On a day-to-day basis, it did not change much for me, as I’m already used to spending 24/7 at my studio working on new paintings and sculptures.
VT: What can you tell us about your plans for 2021?
As my show continues at the MOCO museum, I’m working on my new upcoming solo show at TEMPLON Gallery in Paris for May-July, an exciting new chapter for me and my most ambitious show yet.
Do You Believe In God?, 2013 (opening view). THE KID. The Contemporary Art Institute Lyon, 2016. Sculpture in silicone, 105 x 84 x 56 cm.
Words To Whom It May Concern
VT: What is your message to all the teenagers who are struggling with identity, representation, body positivity, and other social issues? How do you consider art might help them?
That is a loaded question and I can only speak for myself. Me, I hated school; I couldn’t deal with its small-minded authority, its cookie-cutter way-of-thinking and I was bullied every day. I did not fit the mold, which generated a lot of struggle and isolation for me, which resulted in me escaping into “ART ” and art is such a general term; for me, “art” was the music videos of Chris Cunningham, the pictures of Nick Knight, the music of Björk, the movies of Harmony Korine and the art of Matthew Barney. It gave me the confidence to be different and to leave home in my early teenage years to travel Europe and America doing multiple creative jobs building my world block by block towards today. And in the end, not fitting is in was the best thing ever, and still is.
VT: Anything else you would like to share with Vanity Teen?
I think I’ve said it all ;)
The Future Is Old, 2019. THE KID. MOCO Museum Amsterdam, 2021. Oil painting on canvas, 244 x 351 cm.
An artist in the 21st century
The 21st century is still somehow indefinable; we can perceive the traces of the modernity of the previous century everywhere, but yet we keep finding ways to push forward looking for better days that seem more bearable, more diverse, less punitive, more inclusive, and in this chaotic era THE KID has come to show us how artistic expressions help us to identify our fears and hopes while unveiling the beauty every person exteriorize at some point of life during the days of youth.
The artistic pieces of THE KID, as you could previously read, come from places he has experienced, from heartfelt memories of struggles and plans of redemption he came to know in the flesh. I remember the first time I saw his exhibition, for a short moment I questioned if he was romanticizing sorts of violence, as you can see in one of the questions asked; but then, I understood, you cannot romanticize something that is romantic per se, and life is romantic, youth is beauty laden with the purest energy of freethinking and the seek for what makes you feel like that is the place where you belong, and the search of the ways how happiness should look like to every individual, the excitement of knowing that there is the way we all should feel and not only a few may experience, and that is what THE KID represents in his art.
Consequently, I guess it would be hard for me to thank enough THE KID for sharing his arts and answers to my someway subversive questions.
The State I Am In, In The Consciousness Of A Country’s Empty Mind, 2019. (studio view). THE KID. 21st Century Museum Chicago, 2020. Sculpture in silicone (no animal was hurt), 270 x 280 x 140 cm.
Some final words
In the second chapter of the novel of 1987, The Western Lands, William S. Burroughs writes the following lines: “cheat your landlord if you can and must, but do not try to shortchange the Muse. It cannot be done. You can’t fake quality any more than you can fake a good meal”. Why do I recall these words? Simple! In the first part of this article, I wrote about being lured for the artistic work of THE KID, and the previous quote reminds me that in this young artist we find some truth, and that kind of truth is a beautiful thing only a few can transform into vivid art.
The only thing left to say is that I really hope you might enjoy this article, and if you did not know THE KID, you may be able to discover in his art all the sensations I have been writing about. Thus, let us keep following his artistic career as we expect better things for his future, and let us keep waiting for that day when experience art would not be threatened by any biosecurity risk.
Thanks for reading and do not forget some of the recommendations from THE KID: do not let people put you inside a box; remember it is fine not to be one more of the pile and, please, use art to find true beauty and express yourself.
All photos: Courtesy Studio THE KID – all rights reserved ©THE KID.
#artist_the_kid #artistthekid – #mocomuseum #moco – #galerietemplon #templon
THE KID : The Future Is Old – Solo Show – MOCO Museum – Amsterdam, NL – Nov. 2020 to July 2021THE KID : Upcoming New Personal Exhibition – TEMPLON Gallery – Paris, France – May 2021 till July 2021