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You dont need to be on Instagram anymore to know about Jordy Kerwick. The completely self-taught, 39-year-old, France-based, Melbourne artist, only started painting 6 years ago. Now, he is making headline news and global tremors as one of the hottest-selling painters in the art world and a billionaire must-have.1

A self-proclaimed epic commercial failure in business, Jordy - as he signs his works - turned to painting in 2015-16 for fun and stress relief.2 This move was encouraged by his wife, Rachel McCully (born 1982), a formally trained artist in her own right, whom with her husband, would later exhibit together in Me & You & You & You with Andenken Gallery in Portugal, 2019.

Kerwick is part of a new generation of artists who have taken to and social media platforms to showcase, share and sell their work, meanwhile connecting with other artists and galleries across the world.  At first, Kerwick began by giving works away to friends and threw the remainder out - almost ninety per cent.3 Then, in 2016 Kerwick sold his first work on Instagram for $200. His progress since has been exponential. Boasting 19 solo shows alone since 2017, his CV constitutes a round-the-world tour from New York (2022, 2021, 2019), London (2021, 2019, 2018) and Paris (2021) to Sydney (2020), Hong Kong (2022) and Tokyo (2019).4 Earlier this year, his works broke through into the London and New York auction scene.5

Kerwicks style is refreshing. It is raw and confident, fun, and playful. A former DJ and music and literary enthusiast, Kerwick combines personal and cultural references, with a vibrant, punk-like aesthetic. He draws heavily from the influence of his family and two young sons. When asked why he often focuses on subjects like flowers, tigers, cobras, and unicorns, his response was endearingly wholesome: theyre just cool:6

I think my work is very autobiographical and is a strong reflection of what I'm feeling, what's happening around me and how I'd like to see the future panning out.7

Yet, his works also reveal a deep appreciation for the history of art and former and contemporary masters, including Henri Matisse (1869-1954), Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988) and contemporary Danish artist Tal R (born 1967).

Distinct from his pieces featuring mystical creatures and fantastical creations, Not Quite Grey, Not Quite Pink 2019 and Thee Oh Sees 2019 represent Kerwicks other main trope: the still-life. Flowers juxtaposed with books, tapes, and personal objects in a domestic setting are a subject that Kerwick has returned to with devout fascination on par with Claude Monets (1840-1926) Haystacks.

In both works, the focus is given to flowers in a vase. Not Quite Grey, Not Quite Pink, with its solitary position on the table stands in contrast to Thee Oh Sees, whose vase is surrounded by items of personal and domestic effects, including references to the bands the Holdout and eponymous rock band Thes Ohsees. A comparable work to both is Cool Cats 2019 which went up for auction earlier this year, and which likewise draws on a mixture of vibrant and muted hues that bring life to Kerwicks subject.8

Using blocks of colour and an impasto style, Kerwick creates works that are simultaneously flat, yet filled with depth of texture. This depth is in part created by his wide range of media. Included in his repertoire are water-based enamel, acrylic, oil stick, oil, spray paint, graphite, charcoal, and collage. The overlap of these media can be clearly seen in both works, such as the open charcoal lining the table in Not Quite Grey, Not Quite Pink, and thickly applied paint in Thee Oh Sees.

The more mistakes, the merrier. They add life to a painting and make them interesting and real.9

The influence of Matisse in Kerwicks still-lifes is instantly recognisable, but the works also pay homage to the Melbourne-based artist, Fabrizio Biviano (born 1976). Biviano draws on the conventions of Dutch still-life painting as well as sixteenth and seventeenth-century painterly tradition of Vanitas - the collection of objects that symbolise the vanity of worldly possessions and the inevitability of death - and imbues them with twenty-first century life.10 These traditions and continued appreciation of the repetition of daily life ground and inform Kerwicks still lifes.

Six years on from his first foray into painting, Kerwick is putting Australian contemporary art at the cutting edge. His pieces now feature in the collections of the Reina Sofia, Spains national Museum of modern and contemporary art, the Yusaku Maezawa Collection, the Masahiro Maki Collection in Tokyo and the Beth DeWoody Bunker Artspace Foundation in Florida. Whats more, his fan-base of dedicated collectors is growing, including, big hitters like Bernard Arnault, Steven A. Cohen, the Korean rap star T.O.P, Sofia Richie, the Olsen twins, as well as artists including Mark Grotjahn and Richard Prince.11


1. Gleadell, C., 200,000 for a Cartoon Tiger? How a Self-taught Artist Became a Billionaire Must-have, The Telegraph, London, 3 May 2022 (accessed October 2022):
2. Sambul, N., This Artist Started Selling Paintings on Instagram for $200. One Just Went for $400,000, The Sydney Morning Herald, Sydney, 6 August 2022 (accessed October 2022):
3. Gleadell, C., op. cit.
4. Jordan Kerwick: CV, Anna Zoraida Gallery, New York (accessed October 2022):
5. Gleadell, C., 8 Artists Who Had Breakout Moments at Londons March 2022 Auctions, Artsy, 9 March 2022 (accessed October 2022):
6. Jordy Kerwick, interviewed by Lisa Boudet, How Artist Jordy Kerwick Turned his Life Upside Down, 2021 (accessed October 2022):
7. Jordy Kerwick, quoted online auction catalogue for Le Tigre in Contemporary Curated, Sothebys, New York, 11 March 2022 (accessed October 2022):
8. Gleadell, C., 8 Artists Who Had Breakout Moments at Londons March 2022 Auctions, op. cit.
9. Jordy Kerwick, quoted in Artists Up Close, Interview #90, 24 May 2022 (accessed October 2022):
10. Biviano, F., Positive Aspects of Negative Thinking, Arthouse Gallery, 2020 (accessed October 2022):
11. Gleadell, C., 8 Artists Who Had Breakout Moments at Londons March 2022 Auctions, op. cit.

Alice Evatt
Alice Evatt is a PhD Candidate at the University of Oxford and Balliol College. Alice has experience in the art market, having interned at Sothebys London and worked with the Hogarth Galleries in Sydney. 


Jordy Kerwick is represented by Vito Schnabel, New York and Vigo Gallery, London.


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