about Cosmo Sarson

Best known for his Breakdancing Jesus series, Cosmo Sarson grew up surrounded by Hip Hop, skateboarding, break dancing and graffiti. Normally, all this influenced his work, fusing with the paintings of Caravaggio, Édouard Manet and Francis Bacon. He stopped painting from 1997 to 2009 because, as he claimed, “being an artist isn’t a job, it’s a lifestyle, and it only pays for the lucky few, so you’ve got to work out how to survive and paint at the same time”. His last paintings were self portraits while break-dancing.

Born in London, Cosmo made a loud comeback in 2013 with a controversial twenty-eight feet mural of a break dancing Jesus in Bristol, created with over 1 kilo of gold glitter. The idea came from an old newspaper cutting he cuts out and kept in the back of his wallet for years before he finally got round to painting the thing. It has inspired a number of drawings and paintings and culminated in the mural in Bristol. It’s based on an event when a Polish youth group breakdanced for Pope John Paul II in the vatican. Francis Bacon has also been an obvious reference, in particular his Screaming Pope painting based on a portrait by Diego Velázquez, which Cosmo appropriated, as well as looking at his other work when he’s been breaking down some of the dance moves. Besides Breakdancing Jesus, Cosmo has been going back through the Greek myths and revisiting paintings by the old masters, with Caravaggio being a particular influence.


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