River Kero is a queer Canadian artist born and currently living in Vancouver, British Columbia. His practice consists mostly of graphic novel illustration, scriptwriting, prose, and traditional drawing with pen and ink.
As an artist who grew up in rural British Columbia (in a First Nations town called Bella Bella) for a majority of his childhood, River had early exposure to issues such as oppression, culture, identity, and the politics revolving around them. He knew that he wanted to make comics as a career since he started drawing them in middle school, and his desire to tell stories and use art to do it became only stronger as he graduated from high school. As of April 2020, he has graduated from Emily Carr University of Art and Design. Currently, River creates comics online and also works as a script reader for a talent agency in Vancouver.
As a queer artist based out of Vancouver, British Columbia, much of my practice is based on my own lived experience. I see my artmaking practise as a process of communication through storytelling. I am compelled by themes revolving around family, lived LGBT+ experience, travel and adventures, relationships, mental health, and the philosophies around art. These themes all play an enormous part in my own life which is why they continually emerge in my own work, either through characters I can relate to or in autobiographical content.
My primary medium is graphic novels. For the types of stories that I want to tell, they work best for what I am trying to achieve. The relationship between text and image, what I want the viewers to see, and the subtleties the medium can convey are all aspects that draw me towards comics. I typically favour traditional mediums, in particular, pen and ink drawn over blue pencil, but I also work in watercolour, markers, collage, mixed media, and digital media. I reach for whatever tool will work best for the story I want to tell. For other projects, I also work in prose, scriptwriting, and audio recording.
I see my process as a method of exploration and discovery. Whenever I choose an idea, I feel more like the hands that render it than the mind that creates it. I spend a great deal of time in the brainstorming/writing phase before I execute a comic idea (I describe it as an excavation, digging for more information). In my mind, my art practice is intensely personal, it’s my way of seeing the world. My relationship with my art is exploratory, as well as using it as a method of communication and a way to connect with those around me.