A world-renowned urban artist representing France.
He was born in Toulouse, France, in 1969 during the Vietnam War. He spent part of his childhood in Vietnam. For two years after the fall of Saigon, Kongo lived with his mother in Brazzaville, the capital of the Republic of Congo. This experience significantly influenced him and provided part of the artist’s name he would later use.
At the age of 17, he began creating graffiti in earnest in Paris. He then joined the Mort Aux Cons Crew (a.k.a. MAC), a well-known French artists’ group. Subsequently, Kongo actively painted art on the walls of Paris.
In 2002, when urban art was considered vandalism, he launched “Kosmopolite Festival,” the first graffiti festival in France, which overturned the stereotype of urban art. As a result, Kongo has been instrumental in spreading the concept of urban art as a significant art form to the public. Since then, the festival has taken place for 12 consecutive years. It has changed people’s perception of urban art and street culture and has become an event that energizes the city.Through his steadfast artistic activities, he has gradually gained wide recognition in Europe and throughout the world. Starting with the prestige brand HERMES, he has collaborated with CHANEL and Richard Mille.
At the age of 16, Cyril’s life was changed by his encounter with hip-hop, the new culture at the time, through his friend who came back from New York. He then jumped into the world of urban art, and the creative skills and vivid sense of color he has built up over his 30-year long career, allowing him to draw graphical phrases that are layered with overlapping texts and filled with bold, saturated tones. Now collaborating with various companies and products beyond the walls and canvases, he is sharing the richness and generosity of the art world with many people in a contemporary way.
Known as the “Mr. Colorful” of the art world, Cyril’s artwork is filled with a rich palette of colors and has an appeal that captures the viewer’s hearts while drawing them in to the world of his artistic universe. The intricate texts and vibrant colors somehow unite to form a cohesive work of art. For Cyril, color means life, and he intends to share life, peace, and energy with his viewers through his work. His inquisitive mind is never less than eager to explore, and it is definitely worth keeping an eye on his future works.
Creation for HERMES
He started working on window displays in 2007 when he was approached by the Managing Director of Hermès Asia Pacific while painting tags on a Sunday afternoon in Hong Kong. Hermès then launched an exclusive series of scarf collection called “Carre’ Graff,” which ended up being a huge success, as it challenged to break previous habits and emphasized urban art for the 2011-2012 Fall/Winter collection.
Richard Mille×Cyril Kongo 2016
RM68-01 Tourbillon Cyril Kongo
In 2016, the “RM68-01 Tourbillon Cyril Kongo” was released in a limited edition of 30 pieces worldwide, produced in collaboration with Richard Mille, a traditional Swiss watchmaker. It took 2 years to complete the project, starting with the development of a special airbrush to paint the small 5cm square dial, and then the steady and careful process of painting directly on parts with only a few millimeters in size while carefully adjusting the visual effect at the same time.
THE 2018/19 METIERS D'ART COLLECTION
In December 2018, Karl Lagerfeld, then artistic director of Chanel, asked Cyril to design a parade of ancient Egyptian-themed artifacts for the Temple of Dendur in the Egyptian Gallery of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Reinterpreting Chanel’s aesthetic with ancient hieroglyphics and graffiti, he succeeded in captivating people with his innovative design and the flamboyant colors that only Cyril could create.