Notes on Jaybo Monk and his Painting. By Serena Valietti

Jaybo is an urban wanderer, a traveller that moves in the space of that unfinished metropolis, that is the world, among memories, fragments and traces abandoned in the urban landscape, that works like a theatre of the human joy and pain, studded with relationships that slide between first glances and deep emotions.

During this wandering, the painter meets the unexpected, what happens by chance, and is inspired by that accident that catches the eye and the brain, that incidental event, detail, word or shape that breaks in along the way and that he takes with him to the canvas.

Jaybo builds his poetics on these small accidents and unwanted mistakes that happen. He takes advantage of what happens at the wrong time, in the wrong place, his research in painting is about trying to be open to the unknown and to the accidental, without prejudices but with amazement and curiosity.

It is exactly this curiosity that makes Jaybo attracted to the unseen, from things left on the streets, to items forgotten around, to left-overs or something no one
notices anymore, things as lost as he is in himself, like a peculiar expression on a passerby’s face or a move of a stranger's body walking along the streets.

Inspiration can also come from a small detail that attracts the painter's attention flipping through the pages of an art magazine or a book about the great masters of art, from Bacon, to Modigliani and Leonardo. Everything that runs away from the standards or that remains lost in the cracks of a reality always more lived in fast forward sneaks into the painter's mind and comes together in his imaginative world.

Here is the basis of Jaybo's visual alphabet, a series of silent frames that tell forgotten stories, unveil secrets and memories lost in time along the way.
Jaybo's art is like a song made by images, it's a composition of feelings and suggestions, where the details that catch the artist's eye work like musical samples. All those inspiring fragments become part of a soundtrack played with brushes, following the tones of colors and the rhythm given by the strokes, with a canvas as the background.

That's the beauty of Jaybo's art, an unexpected chaotic harmony of beauty that takes shape in feminine bodies or animals, in faces and twisted legs, in smiles and grimaces. Once the canvas has accommodated everything, Jaybo breaks in with his hazardous brushstrokes, taking the risk of messing up the work and making mistakes, but at the same time this risk is a chance to let the unexpected happen and realize that an apparent mistake has turned into something beautiful. Then comes geometry, the archetype of the beauty of the world that first breaks the pictoric 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. This sounds perfect to define the unconventional beauty of Jaybo's subjects. They are perfectly imperfect in their inner harmonies, from compositions, to transfigured faces and contorted bodies, with their distortions used to express the movement from the inside, to the flesh of the body.

Everything in Jaybo's painting is livened up by tension and movement, the same continuous motion that he seeks in his life constantly going with the flow of change and avoiding crystallization, fixed forms, labels and stereotypes, escaping from inertia and inactivity. The artist is a runaway for his attitude, and also for

his biography, he left his home in the south of France at a very young age and moved in Kreutzberg, Berlin in the early Eighties.

Since then Jaybo hasn't stayed still and he has kept on exploring the creative world in every direction: he's been involved in street theater and performances, he moved to fashion, founding the street wear company Irie Daily and he created a magazine, Style and the Family Tunes and then he embraced the canvas, a white square of creative freedom, where the painter loses and finds himself again and again, beyond starting a dialogue with the viewer.

Jaybo in his creative approach continues to be a runaway, never settling for what he already knows. He is on a constant journey across 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 as a final product, in the creative travel rather than in the destination. He cares only about the ways to go through the work of art, measuring himself with it.

According to Jaybo 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. When the viewer looks at the canvas, once art is shown, its existence materializes. It's the spectator that makes the pictures as Marcel Duchamp said.

Jaybo pushes the master's statement forward by adding that with his art he tries to provide a platform for everybody to play with their own visual bank: the viewers start a process of subjective, associative reconstruction of their deepest perceptions by reactivating their hidden, forgotten memories and feelings, that are lit by the artistic,sparkly surface once again.

A true encounter with art, can be the chance for both the viewer and the painter to discover themselves again, through the canvas, as Adorno used to say, “Art knows us better than ourselves.” 







Cut Log contemporary art fair , Groupshow for CircleCulture Gallery ,  Berlin 

Futurism 2.0 , groupshow,  blackhall Studios, London

Game Lapse , solo show, Rook&Raven Gallery , London

Running with the Hunted, Solo Show, Circleculture Gallery, Berlin

Silent Listen, Solo Show, Soze Gallery, Los Angeles

LA Free Walls, Group Show, Lala Gallery, Los Angeles

Happy Medium, Group Show, Nancy Victor Gallery, London

20 January

Silent Orchestra  Group show at Bright fashion fair 


 SUR-FACES  Solo  19Karen GALLERY / Goldcoast -Australia

  SALON DER GEGENWART, Groupshow,  Elbhof / Hamburg

 FOR; AGAINST AND THE TRUTH,  Groupshow ,Linton & Kay Gallery  / Perth -Australia


PAPER WORKS, groupshow, CircleCulture Gallery /  Berlin

MOMENTS @MADE  /solo  Berlin, With Erykah Badu



COLLABO ART collaboration with Persue, Poesia, Yoshi47, Live Painting Lion Festival / Cannes France

BOX OFFICE FESTIVAL, Live Painting, Linz / AUstria

THE URBAN ARTIST Hamburg, Groupshow, CIRCLE CULTURE GALLERY, Hamburg / Germany

Street Installation for The freedom of Ai Wei Wei / THE CELL

CYPHER PROJECT, groupshow, Village Underground / London

ARTMOSH, Groupshow Hemsedal / Norway


LESS THAN ZERO , group show, SEVEN MINUS SEVEN GALLERY, St Thomas / Virgin Island / USA

MOMENTS @MADE  With Aloe Blacc


6 February 2011
Group show

20 January  2011



SOTO/ Live Painting/ Berlin

»L'ART URBAIN...du mur à l'atelier...« (group show)

Addict Gallery, Paris, 2010
»Hazardous Brushstrokes« (solo show)
Circleculture Gallery, Berlin, 2010
»Moniker« International Art Fair
London, 2010
»Escape 2010« (international exhibition of urban art)
Vienna, 2010
»Decadentisme« (with Marco ''Pho'' Grassi)
AvantGarden Gallery, Milan, Italy, 2010
»No Start No End« (with Remi Rough)
Nuble Gallery, Santander, Spain, 2010
»Paper Thoughts And Other Life Forms«
Curated by Sarah Musser, Wien, 2010
»In The Back Of Real« (solo show)
Stolen Space Gallery, London, 2010
»artKarlsruhe - Klassische Moderne und Gegenwartskunst«
artKarlsruhe, Karlsruhe, 2010
 »Never A Dull Moment« (group exhibition)
White Walls SF, San Francisco, 2010


»Summer Group Show 09«
Stolen Space Gallery, London, 2009
 »Headscape: Tales From The Drifter« (solo show)
Signal Gallery, London, 2009
»Une Estivale« (group show)
Galerie L.J., Paris, 2009
»Self-Portraits« (group show)
Circleculture Gallery, Berlin, 2009
 »Line Steppers« (group show)
Jibbering Art, Birmingham, 2009
 »The Pockst Show« (solo show)
Nanca Victor Galllery, London, 2009
»As Far As U Can C« (solo show)