Meet Kour Pour, The Young British Artist Who Specializes in Carpet Paintings

Photo of Emily Brown
5 January 2017

Kour Pour, born in 1987, is a young British artist of Iranian descent based in Los Angeles. Pour grew up in England before moving to LA, where he graduated with his BFA from Otis College of Art in 2010. Kour Pour has participated in group exhibitions at LA’s Roberts & Tilton and Steve Turner galleries, and his paintings of carpets are garnering him a growing reputation in the contemporary art world.

Kour Pour’s first solo exhibition showed at New York’s UNT/TLED Gallery in 2014 and generated intense interest. All seven canvases depicting Persian rugs were snapped up by buyers at $15,000 each. He was also the youngest artist featured in the 2014 Artists to Watch exhibition in Miami. In October 2014, Pour’s exhibition Ozymandias was on display at Ellis King in Dublin.

Memoirs of a Merchant | © Kour Pour

Kour Pour’s unique talent lies in the way he translates intricately-patterned carpets onto panelled surfaces using his signature multi-step, labor-intensive method. Each of Kour Pour’s canvases takes months to prepare. Every painting is based on a particular rug or carpet that Pour has researched from exhibitions and auction catalogues, and each design incorporates a range of techniques, including scrupulous hand painting, silkscreen printing, and applying paint layers with a broomstick.

Future Buddha | © Kour Pour

The process starts with the canvas mounted onto a panel, which Pour then primes with several layers of gesso using a broomstick. These layers represent the warp and weft of woven rugs. He then silkscreens an image of the selected rug onto his prepared surface before meticulously painting in the carpet’s details.

Masters of the Sky and Sea | © Kour Pour

Pour adds his signature splash to each of his pieces by using a palette of acrylic paint that is much more vibrant than than the colors evident in the Silk Road merchants’ rugs that he typically copies. After completing months of this preparatory work, Kour Pour uses a circular sander to erase parts of the image. He then finishes his work by repainting these obliterated areas as much as possible.

Kour Pour in front of his work at his Los Angeles solo exhibition at Depart Foundation | © Kour Pour

Kour Pour has been quoted explaining the inspiration and driving force behind his popular series of carpet paintings saying, ‘Carpets were a part of my childhood growing up in England. I remember my father’s rug shop and how he would hand-dye sections of carpets that had faded away, in order to bring them back to their original vibrant colors.’

Hypnotize (Biggie, Biggie, Biggie) | © Kour Pour

Each of his pieces are 8-feet-tall, and the images depicted in his paintings range from Chinese Dragons to patterns of animals and men on horses.

Kour Pour’s Los Angeles Solo Exhibition at Depart Foundation | © Kour Pour
Kour Pour’s Los Angeles Solo Exhibition at Depart Foundation | © Kour Pour
Kour Pour’s Los Angeles Solo Exhibition at Depart Foundation | © Kour Pour
The Holy Mountain | © Kour Pour
Caravan | © Kour Pour

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