Kokian - profile

Kokian /   Nicolas Kokian

France 1971

Street Art, Painting


Nicolas Kokian
November 7, 2015

Kokian is a French contemporary painter and street artist, best known for his artworks created in a manner of Neo-expressionism, similar to the one exemplified by Basquiat. Born in Paris in 1971 as Nicholas Kokian, the artist spent his childhood years in Burma (Myanmar) and Morocco. Growing up in different cultures, the cultural shock – caused by the strong contrast between the Burmese and Moroccan cultures and Western European culture – was quite fierce for Kokian when he moved back to France with his family.

Van Gogh Paranoia and Gina Day

Left Kokian - Van Gogh Paranoia, Right Kokian - Gina Day
Left: Kokian – Van Gogh Paranoia / Right: Kokian – Gina Day

As a solitary child, Kokian expressed himself through painting. From 1989 till 1994, he exhibited at various local group shows. In 1994, Kokian finished his studies and decided to focus exclusively on fulfilling his passion for painting. In the same year, his artistic expression migrated to the streets, as he discovered tagging and graffiti in the streets of Paris. In the following year, in 1995, the artist moved to New York, where he will be reborn artistically. While in New York, Kokian found his own style, as he starts to glue drawings in the streets, filled with small questioning slogans about society’s many injustices. With this, the artist created what would later become a recognizable feature and trademark of his.

Kokian’s Artworks

Left Kokian - Bakka Dance, Right Kokian - Amo Paradise
Left: Kokian – Bakka Dance / Right: Kokian – Amo Paradise

In 2001, Kokian’s work was for the first time featured in a gallery space, at the ARTOZA gallery in Paris. Since this exhibition, his urban expressionism became well recognized and can be found in numerous international collections. Kokian is represented by Artemisia Gallery located in New York.

Kokian lives and works in New York.

All images courtesy of Artemisia Gallery

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group
2015KokianLa Cantine 105, Lounge Gallery, Emirates Towers, DubaiSolo
2014Live Performance with COPE 2Gallery Artemisia, Chelsea NYCDuo
2013Group ShowGallery Lindengruen, Vienne, AustriaGroup
2012Show me the wayCaplain Matignon Gallery, ParisSolo
2009Mural for benefitMédecins du MondeSolo
2008Kokian and Peter Klasen105 rue du Faubourg saint Honoré, ParisDuo
2008RétrospectiveFondation Taylor Gallerie, ParisSolo
2007New York BiennialSoho, New YorkGroup
2005RétrospectiveLe Carré Blanc, MoscowSolo
2005St-Art 10th Contemporary Art Fair of StrasbourgStrasbourgGroup