Instagram hit Jordy Kerwick draws on myths and folklore in his raw and bold paintings
Recently hailed by Artsy as the second most in-demand artist worldwide, self-taught Australian painter Jordy Kerwick has brought his work to The Arts Club, London as part of a stunning new exhibition titled I Want You To Remember This.
Jordy Kerwick doesn't need to worry about being forgotten. His colourful, highly unique paintings have taken the art world by storm since his career began in 2016 when he started selling his art via Instagram. This soon led to him gaining global recognition for his frank, one-of-a-kind art, which borrows imagery from folklore, books, music and his personal life.
I Want You To Remember This – which is on display in The Arts Club until February 2023 – follows hot on the heels of Jordy's solo show Vertical Plane Me, which was recently on display at Vigo Gallery. According to The Arts Club, this new exhibition represents a "major moment" for the artist in London as he continues to grab the attention of audiences.
Considering where Jordy comes from professionally, his meteoric rise feels all the sweeter. "I had a few rough starts in business which were difficult, but the situation also made me more inclined to try new things that I probably never would have otherwise – one of them being painting," he tells Creative Boom.
"At that point, I didn't have much knowledge of art, but my wife helped me to see making things as a way to deal with stress. I became really obsessed with it, painting almost every day, and have been obsessed ever since. I'm thankful that a professional low point turned into something positive that I continue to have fun exploring."
Populated with strange creatures such as two-headed women, unicorns and snakes with wolf heads, the world of Jordy's art is steeped in mythology that has been filtered through his vibrant, primary-colour-infused outlook. He explains that this look is not forced but a natural fruition of his creative interests.
"I've always been a fan of storytelling and have been inspired by how writers create narratives. Folklore is the traditional way of telling stories, relying on distinctive characters and symbolism to tell tales of good and evil, life and death, and fear and bravery. In that sense, my work leans on those folkloric characteristics."
He adds: "My two sons are also a huge inspiration for many of the mythical-type figures I create. They show me monsters or fantastical creatures they've come up with while playing, and their creative freedom reminds me not to overthink my own art too much."
As well as folklore and his family, Jordy is also inspired by writers such as Bukowski, plus artists like Robert Motherwell, Bob Thompson, Helen Frankenthaler and Agnes Martin. "I look up to Fabrizio Biviano a lot too. He's an Australian artist I've been a fan of for a while, and of course, Henri Matisse - Matisse is always there for me, from the way he draws female figures to his use of primary colours. He's the best."
Each stage of an artist's career comes with its associated challenges. So now that Jordy is gaining attention with his artwork, such as the paintings featured in I Want You To Remember This, has the activity he turned to in order to de-stress become a source of stress itself?
"It's slightly different now because I'm lucky enough to have a demand for my work, so in a way, there is a pressure to create that wasn't there before," he reveals.
"However, painting will always be a stress reliever for me. It will always be a way to express myself, no matter what mood I'm in, and I can't imagine that ever changing."
I Want You To Remember This, which has been curated by Amelie von Wedel and Pernilla Holmes of Wedel Art, is available to see now at The Arts Club until February 2023.
Aurore Ankarcrona Hennessey, Director of Art at The Arts Club, adds: "Jordy's striking works are the perfect way to inaugurate our new Ofelia Members' Lounge, with his fresh and adventurous vision echoing the start of a new chapter for the club itself. Walking the line between playful and menacing, his otherworldly paintings must be seen in the flesh."