Kytao’s name has become synonymous with flawless portraiture. He has been in the limelight for different aspects of his work for some time. Previous to his artwork Kytao was the first North African model to walk the catwalks and appear in fashion magazines for numerous years. However Kytao prefers to obscure his own image in favour of those he makes.
Kytao, a French-Moroccan, was born in Casablanca in April 1981. He began hip hop dancing with the Vagabond Crew at the age of 16. “I was introduced in it by a friend, Mohamed Belarbi. I was following the action. I’m not a big fan of dancing, but I’m in a group with some of the best dancers of the time.”
In 1999, he began writing screenplays and even began creating a manga cartoon demonstrating his aptitude for the medium of design. His appearance was influenced by his North-African roots. His striking image would grace the sides of buses and walls of subways at a time when it wasn’t common to see commercial images of someone of his ethnicity. Nowadays, he has opted to manipulate and dim his own image as a response to the saturation of pictures of himself that he was witnessing. The inclination to wear masks stems from a preference for his work to be recognised rather than his personal appearance.
Over the years Kytao has performed as a dancer. His picture appeared in a magazine from an aspiring photographer. His modelling career began with Sofia Boutella. Yamamoto used him as his muse. Benetton, Marithé & François Girbaud, Dior, vogue, GQ, and Extra have also featured him.
Kytao has learned discipline, tenacity, and self-transcendence through his love of combat sports. With a persistent drive to reinvent himself, he gradually faded his commercial image into the background and began producing music videos and short films in 2001. Kytao became a respected name in the profession featuring prominent names in hip hop. He has just completed his 300th project, among which can be found short movies, music videos and documentaries among others, after 20 years in the industry.
His career in fashion brought him into contact with some of the most well-known photographers in the world. He got intrigued by the skill. He was a member of a generation that has seen the transition from DVD to 4K, and from film to digital.
Kytao founded a talent and communication agency, musical production, and image development from a creative group which he named French Cut.
In 2011, he began studying photography and chose to make it a major part of his career, where he found endless inspiration and possibilities. The artist, who is heavily influenced by Caravaggio and Rembrandt’s work, prefers to depict all of humanity’s emotional individuality through his lens. He juggles between realism and modernism, using the same approach as a painter, but in digital format; rather than outlining his subjects, contrasting layers of colors and materials add depth to the photos he takes, which include Cosplay characters as well as still life and portraits. His art may be found in his series ‘HEROES, The Universe of Cosplay’, which is inspired by popular superheroes and launched in 2019. The images of the figures seem to talk and express themselves in a way that allows these subjects to communicate a sense of freedom, even rebirth.
The artist once explained in an interview : “I’m interested in the universe, medieval history, and Japanese codes,” where he found his passion for cartoons such as Cobra, Hokuto no ken and Saint Seya.
He taught himself script writing. He had this work published by the name of his manga « Kytao » in 1999 by a Japanese publishing business, through a designer acquaintance. This then became the inspiration for his alter-ego name, Kytao.
Kytao used his nickname as both photographer and director. While his book was being published, he noticed a shift in his perspective and felt the need for his creative wings to spread wider. He felt more able to rely on his abilities and resourcefulness to achieve new goals and shift away from the comic book industry.