Kwest was born and raised in Toronto, Canada starting his art career as a graffiti artist in the early 1990s. For over twenty years he has been active in developing a unique and complex style of lettering that he can call his own, a fluid and tight mechanical typography that appears to be born of the very structures he chose to paint them on. His primary canvas has been freight trains and he has painted well over 5000 individual works of art, relinquishing any hold on them as soon as they are completed, destined to travel the vast web of rails that crisscross North America. It is thru his solitary practice of working rapidly in an outdoor environment that Kwest has fine-tuned his visual language and similarly gained recognition and respect by his peers.
The thirst for creating the next masterpiece and for the action of painting has pushed him to create sanctioned works on the streets as well. The shift to prioritize painting on walls has transformed his style into one of organic and abstract forms sometimes revealing letters and other times camouflaging them to the point of abstraction. He is known for painting the most complex and largest graffiti art in Canada thus setting him apart from all of the others working in the streets.
Kwest is a key pioneer in the fusion of graffiti and sculpture coming to this as a self-taught carpenter, designer and builder. His work is unrivaled as he applies various stone, wood, and metals to create his letters. His approach is innovative and stylistically unparalleled yet his admiration for the origins of graffiti are always evident. Blending his different crafts has allowed him to create a new style of sculpture that is rooted in graffiti as much as it is shaped by his knowledge of building and designing indoor spaces.
Today, his paintings and sculptures demonstrate his ability to create and shape intricate letter formations while breaking conventional rules. His work explores the relationship between animal and nature, letterforms and their disintegration, among other things. Kwest’s work uses a broad range of materials, both traditional and nontraditional. The materiality of the object, in both its elemental composition and modified appearance, and his connection to its origin, is at the heart of Kwest’s work.