Artist Anthony Lister at work: a private commission

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Ever straddling the high-low divide, Anthony Lister invited Vogue Living‘s Dijana Kumurdian to watch – and record – as he painted a private commission on the rooftop of a gorgeous home on a drizzly day in Double Bay. As well as revealing his process, and curating the home’s contents as if it were his own private gallery, Lister spoke about his upcoming exhibition, how he maintains authenticity and his recent foray into bronze sculpture.

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One grey afternoon, Vogue Living was invited to watch Anthony Lister paint a rooftop at a house belonging to a successful interiors and concepts designer in Sydney’s Double Bay. We arrived at the beautiful house, complete with a fresh white interior, concrete flooring and a superb fit-out including Eames lounges and a dining table surrounded by Louis Ghost chairs, and were delighted to discover that the Sydney artist had transformed the home into a temporary gallery of his works, carefully scattering paintings on paper, a taped-up stencil and an illustrated men’s blazer around the entire bottom floor, as well as displaying an artwork prominently in the home’s front window. We sat down with Lister, whose deft negotiation between spray-can graffiti and fashionable fine art has gained him a following both locally and internationally, before he began what would be his first ever rooftop piece.linebreak

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Vogue Living: How did you get your start as an artist?
Anthony Lister: I don’t know, really, what being an artist means. All I know is that I couldn’t help myself but to scratch on things and mark things. As long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to leave my tracks.

VL: You’ve got a new show coming up?
AL: In Sydney, that’s right. At Olsen Irwin gallery with the famous Tim Olsen, son of John Olsen, Australian legend, fine-art painter. I’m very excited about my show. The title of the show is something like, I don’t know, How Not to Die or How to Die With Grace. … I’m very excited about it. It’s in August. I have a new bronze sculpture to expose and it’s going to be wonderful.

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VL: How much sculpture do you do?
AL: Generally, I do about three per cent sculpture. I prefer bronze because I’m far more interested in decorating the apocalypse. I’m kind of “apocaloptimistical”. Which means, I’m kind of optimistic about the end.

VL: Your art sometimes has a sinister feel to it. Is that something that you want your art to reflect?
AL: I just feel like I make paintings that are beautiful, and then I like to violate them a little in order to hold the mirror up to society a little. They’re all painted in love, so I’m not sure if that’s coming from me. I don’t know – I’d say no.

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VL: What has it been like gaining fame in the art scene locally and internationally?
AL: How is it that it infects people’s psyches to think that there’s some sort of elevation of your status or your mindset? It just is what it is. I don’t change, and I work very hard not to change … so that I maintain my teenage-ness. It’s hard being a child actor. But I’m working very hard at maintaining my optimism and my love for positivity and my, you know, my adverse feeling towards hate. Sometimes that does make me a target.

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VL: It could be a little disheartening to create something you feel is genuine when some people, it seems, are trying to gentrify street art.
AL: Well, street art, fine art, graffiti art, primitive art, no class in art — it’s interesting because I have definitions of these different applications, even though I am active in each, because I communicate on many different levels and dialects. Different classes, because I have Multiple Creative Personality Disorder, of course. I don’t pay much attention to anything that isn’t on the street or in my face. I can’t deal with alleged information, I can’t look at photos, I can’t look in the mirror — this is just part of my programming so that I can do my magic. So I don’t have any problem at all maintaining authenticity.  I just keep my eye on the kids, ‘cause that’s what it’s about, man.

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VL: You have kids, don’t you? Does that inspire you in any way?
AL: Affect, of course. Condition, of course. My world revolves completely around them.

VL: What else have you got coming up?
AL: I’m working on bronze sculptures that will survive for 1,000 years plus, and that really turns me on. Chuck Close said something very fascinating and interesting once. He said, “Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just [show up and] get to work”. And I am just astonished that I get away with calling it work.

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VL: And some of these bronze sculptures will be shown in August?
AL: Yes, released in August in Sydney in Paddington at Olsen Irwin gallery. It’s my solo show, the first since my last show ‘Bogan Paradise’, which I put on independently – I really made my show happen outside of the gallery, as I did in Kings Cross before that. I’m transitioning into the gallery now, in Sydney, and I’m quite excited about that.
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Words, photography, GIF, video: Dijana Kumurdian

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Comments
4 Responses to “Artist Anthony Lister at work: a private commission”
  1. aurelia-m says:

    Great artist, great work!

  2. Isa Garau Sintes says:

    Date: Mon, 29 Apr 2013 05:23:14 +0000 To: sika121@hotmail.com

  3. Lovely Interview, very engaging and beautiful photo’s to match!

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  1. […] Vogue Living documented Anthony Lister hard at work painting a rooftop of a beautiful Double Bay home and spoke with him about all things art and inspiration. Lister also discussed his upcoming show ‘The Beautiful Misery’, opening on Wednesday 7 August at Olsen Irwin: […]



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