K.I.A. Instagram: #KIAart



2019 Quest Gallery – CRISPR wall installation, Group show, juried.
2018-9 McMichael Gallery – Glitched en plein air work. Group show, juried.
2018 Quest Gallery – Spliced painting. Group show, juried
2017 Project Gallery, Banff — installation iterations
2017 Residency, Banff Centre Art For Arts & Creativity
2017 Public Art Sculpture — Shortlisted, Aylmer Plaza, Peterborough
2017 Public Art CAMH — Shortlisted for Stand Alone project, Toronto2016 The Artist Project-Installation. Wall installation, 200+ elements. (FEAT BlogTO)
2015-2002 Installations & exhibitions in atelier space (FEAT. in Forbes): “Acceleration/ Still” (recombinant sculpture); “TreeBoltNeuron” (conduit sculpture); Origami’d metal and intermixable sliced paintings –REVIEWED: CBC News; Globe & Mail (National) 2011
2002 “Ev Ex”, Gallery 401,Toronto —REVIEWED: Toronto Star; LOLA magazine

COMMISSIONS (selected):
2015 Galley – yacht. Flat sculpture
2014 Lobby – hedge fund. Tectonically arranged painting. Toronto
2013 Atrium – recombinant sculpture. Toronto
2011 Lobby – spa. Linear abstract. Calgary
2010 Lobby – oil company. Data strata abstract. Calgary

COLLECTIONS (selected):
Taylor Asset Management (Toronto)
Galleon Energy (Calgary)
BASF Int’l  (Windsor)
Heineken (Tokyo)
Starr Law LLC (L.A.)
Henry Less Productions (Toronto)
Various private homes; cottages; corporate offices; a yacht… L.A., London, Tokyo, Toronto

PRESS (selected quotes):
2016 “Artists to See” at The Artist Project “A complelling installation”
2015 Forbes, pictorial. 
2011 Globe & Mail (National), “Madcap kinetic sculptures”
2002 Toronto Star, “Remix music, why not art”
2002 Lola Magazine, “Not constructed so much as grown”
2000 CBC News, “Huge works interpretable like music”

PRESS (full):


Artist Kirby Ian Andersen (a.k.a. K.I.A.) hosts ever-evolving exhibitions of his kinetic, madcap sculptures – both in his studio (by appointment or via his regular parties) and in an online gallery that allows you to see the works being made, step by step. Visiting K.I.A.’s site is like going to an artist talk without having to leave the house.

K.I.A.’s latest work, Acceleration/Still, (image above, right) is a giant, wasp’s-nest-shaped painting/sculpture combo that references butterfly wings, fuselages and airplane blueprints, via over 300 painted panels. As the weeks progress, the object will grow, change shape and “re-combinate,” to paraphrase K.I.A.’s own description. Watch the layers accumulate, alongside K.I.A.’s other shape-shifting projects, at


Remix Music, Why Not Art? 
K.I.A. is about art-making, music-making and idea-spinning, and those points where the all three inclinations intersect.

Next Wednesday, for instance, K.I.A. plans to re-mix/re-assemble six different re-mixable paintings at Gallery 401 into one single large work. Each of his paintings is made up of a series of identically sized small lightweight and interchangeable aluminium rectangles. In the re-mix, bits from one work can fit another.

Complication is built into K.I.A.’s multi-task art life. Wednesday’s will serve to launch “…adieu shinjuku zulu…” a CD that K.I.A. wrote, arranged and produced, bringing in a posse of friends to meet special musical needs, such as singing.

Not one to leave any loose ends anywhere, the new CD refers back to K.I.A’s debut CD, Shinjuku Zulu – Shinjuku is a section of Tokyo – released to a number of rave reviews.

In fact, a recent quick visit to his lower Bathurst St. headquarters, which doubles as living quarters for the artist/musician and designer wife Zanesha Gowrali, gave me a better idea of the burgeoning K.I.A. idea-factory.

Images, symbols and glyphs of one sort or another were everywhere. Music symbols are the core design element for PolyVictorian , another re-mixable painting. K.I.A. is big on words and word games, like calling one group of his singers, “The Arctic Zulu Ensemble.” When he was still just plain Kirby, he finished three years of English studies at the University of Calgary before heading to Tokyo in 1987 where he taught English to support his growing self-taught art habit.

Lacking any formal art or musical training seems to have been an advantage. “Pre-computer  I was already thinking in this cut-and-paste way,” he told me. “I had so many ideas I just had to get them out there somehow.”

“I just had to wait for the means to come along so I could do it,” he said.


“K.I.A. began using panels while living in Tokyo where his small apartment necessitated painting his huge works one panel at a time. Now they serve a different purpose: the panels can be rearranged by the artist or owner of the work, just as each performer interprets a piece of music.”


Evolving Exhibition
Like contemporary music, K.I.A.’s paintings can be remixed. Starting from a base image—for example, an African shield composed of math formulae— the artist, over the course of his recent solo show, rearranged  the aluminum panels that comprise the huge works to create new and unforeseen paintings. With each configuration, the paintings acquired additional meanings: the African shield, as the panels were overlapped in one arrangement, read as a kimono, expanding on the artist’s multi-culti themes; mixed another way days later, with pieces extending from an arcing metal pole,  the shield became a beautiful mechanical tree, and the work resonated with organic vs. technological issues.  K.I.A. deconstructed another painting of a Polynesian mask (made of Victorian-era text,) first by flipping some of its 64 panels upside down, and  later,  at a gallery-goer’s suggestion,  he detached whole sections to hang at odd angles so the work broke from it’s grid-like structure… eventually, with a last remix done by interweaving curved sections, the mask transformed into a massive architected flower. For the show’s finale, K.I.A. intermixed all five pantings into a behemoth running thirty feet long that curved off the wall and onto the floor and ceiling.  It didn’t look constructed so much as grown. By the end, the remixed paintings had been transformed into sculptures, and the exhibition had evolved into an installation.


When I lived in Tokyo I was struck by the fact that often the female characters depicted in manga were Western looking – light haired, no epicanthic fold, and very curvaceous – and that the fashion magazines frequently had California-girls on their covers despite how homogeneous Japan was. (Not only that, but there was a product sold in the ads at the back of these publications, some sort of skin tightener, that you could apply to your eyelids to give them a rounder shape.) What also fascinated me was how Bladerunneresque the city was. It made New York seem slow and out of date. I wanted to capture all this within an image that represented stereotypical perception of Japan, so I chose the geisha, that symbol of Asian calm beauty and Oriental ideals. The painting, MONA RISA, is composed of images taken from Hokusai prints through to manga. All my paintings are re-mixable – the panels that compose them can be “scratched”, that is spun, flipped, moved or recombined in any manner. MONA REARRANGED most accurately conveys the feeling of the original inspiration for the painting.


Canadian Collagist Unfazed by Change
“Systems & Synthesis” is the title of a new collage exhibition by Canadian artist K.I.A. (Kirby Ian Andersen.) Via the collage medium Andersen, 24, strives to sort through the disorientated jumble of data from an increasingly information-based society. Fortunately, he is unperturbed by the glut of information and is even optimistic as to its future effects on society.

“In the old days,” he explains, “people were swamped by all the changes, of having gone from horses to the moon in a fairly short period. In a way the old style of collage containing a mass of unrelated scraps expressed that feeling. But now we’ve learned to deal with differing information simultaneously.” 

To illustrate his claim Andersen cites the development of the new televisions that will enable us to watch a movie and at the same time keep tabs on a baseball game on another channel through a small window on the same screen. He also mentions a recent sampling of music that contains snippets of varying material from different composers.

In this, his second solo show, Andersen has moved quickly from his earlier sharp edged forms comprised of photographed printed matter into more blended and recognizable imagery. The collage fragments, although designed to comment on the work as a whole, appear here in a more textural capacity in conjunction with acrylic paint. Information in this case has become part of the fabric of daily life.

Elements of a modern, affluent society, such as money, art obsession, even sex, are fully spun around in the Andersen collage machine and “synthesized” into coherent shapes. the images are then “systemized” by a series of painted grid lines. Larger works carry the idea further by dismantling into four sections. But more interestingly perhaps is the appearance of interactive or live art that invites direct viewer participation as in the word picture which you make up in your own mind from the word prompts, or in an unfinished work left for the visitors to complete. These, plus a previous experiment in which Andersen exhibited his work in a public phone booth, suggest a yearning to break away from the somewhat stuffy confines of an art gallery. “The trouble with galleries,” says Andersen, “is that they are too high blown for the average person, which is why graffiti has always appealed to me–because it’s public.” The phone booth experiment was also partly his way of adjusting to the physical confines of crowded Tokyo after the open spaces of his native Calgary. “I realized that Tokyo could either be a prison or a new horizon depending on my perception of it.” Time will tell whether it will be in collage or in live, interactive art that this new and interesting artist will make his strongest mark.


Collages to be Projected
A series of collages by Canadian artist Kirby Ian Andersen will be projected onto the north wall of Tokyu Department store next to the Hachiko statue at Shibuya station July 4-7, 7-9 pm. The even, titled Heineken Metro Garo (Gallery) is in association with the Great Canada  cultural event scheduled to be held at Bunkamura July 1-14. The collages, 14 in all, will be around 100 square meteres in size. Each projection will last for 10 seconds followed by it’s title in English. The three minute sequence will be repeated continuously over the two-hour period. Heineken Metro Garo is the culmination of a number of previous art-related public experiments, which according to Andersen raise such questions as to what constitutes an art exhibition and what constitures art. The phyiscal participation of the public, unwitting or otherwise, plays a crucial role in this type of event. “Because it’s a public location,” says Andersen, “the people become a part of the exhibition. It’s not just the images on the wall but the interaction between the two.” He hopes the projections, the passersby and Hachiko will combine to create a fascinatingly urban, living collage.


1999-2009 Released 6 albums of music, under the recording names Shinjuku Zulu and K.I.A.
—REVIEWED: Globe, Gazette, Star, Herald, Eye, CBC, etc. Grammy-award winner Sheryl Crow records K.I.A.’s song “Mrs Major Tom”. NOTE: The music has   the same concerns as the art: a collaging of different eras, cultures, & perspectives, with an architectural use of space and rhythmic structuring, as well as an interest in where the analog meets the digital. In fact, the sampling, looping, echoes, timestretching and glitching used in the music production are all reflected in the visual compositions.