About John Kayrouz

It is easier to get lost in the story of another than it is to look into the mirror. My family moved around throughout childhood, and storytelling was a way for me to adapt. Elaborate fantasies would take center stage in my mind whenever I felt out of place.

These works tell stories about the environment and people close to me, yet, buried beneath the paint, they hold space for a dormant self narrative. The triptychs created in the last two years were inspired by the magic realism of photographer David Hilliard. What A Tool and Garden of Confusion refract Hilliard’s multi panel commentary on masculinity, with the linear breaks in these pieces representing the intersectionality of gender. Both direct experience and imagination make up our desire to define reality. The viewer inserts their own narrative and identify into the emptiness between panels to fill a need for completeness.

My characters live in a chaotic prism of repeating images and heightened color, expressing the conflicting sides of their psyche. Much like the environments drawn by artist Hope Gangloff, Domestic Fragment uses vibrant hues on a bland apartment room to hint that something subversive lurks underneath the quiet setting. Kim’s Room and Bedroom Hero / Antihero express color with conflicting patches of warm and cool, taking influence from Kent Williams, laying out the subject’s psychological thumbprint on the canvas.

How much do we experience the world through our own filter of emotions, and are we aware of these effects? I challenge the viewer to question what they find truthful in my work – be it the empty space between panels or the paint itself– to cultivate an awareness of their prejudices, triggers of discomfort, and the architecture of self ego. This introspection with the sensual world develops an emotional authenticity: seeing and feeling things for what they are without attaching unnecessary meaning and judgment.

Please contact me for any inquiries about private commissions or sales of original work at johnkayrouz@gmail.com

phone: (919)-797-6146