interview with antony makhlouf
Antony Makhlouf is an artist currently living in the creative hub of Newtown in Sydney’s inner West. His work has seen several shifts, especially in the past few years, and he’s moved from photography to performance to digital painting. Although still dipping his fingers into each of these areas, Makhlouf is currently full throttle in the digital painting world.
This Thursday, September 17th, sees the opening of Makhlouf’s first solo show, Fluid - an exhibition that subtly challenges gender binaries, at the LOSTSpace Gallery. The exhibition will be open to the public until the 3rd of October, but I’d recommend getting yourself to the opening night – it’s jam-packed with giveaways and performances and will surely be a wonderful way to spend a Thursday evening in the warming Sydney spring.
I had a chat with Antony about his work and about how Fluid came to life.
Can you tell me about your career as an artist so far?
My career has been incredibly exciting and a real challenge. The nature of most creative industries are ever-changing and I believe one has find ways to stay relevant. That’s what appeals to me … I enjoy the the test. It’s also been a dynamic career, there are an array of mediums to use to get your ideas and messages out of your head and into the world. I’ve worked with photography, performance and just recently my digital paintings. So I have allowed my career to be eclectic.
What do you enjoy most about creating art and why?
I enjoy how simultaneously personal and public the creation and reception of art can be. I’m lucky that with my profession I can process whats happening and has happened in my life whilst making a living. When I create work that people relate to I feel connected and that is rewarding. I envision the practice kind of like creating a thread from my life that weaves through the lives of the people that feel an affinity my work. That’s what I enjoy the most.
What is your upcoming exhibition Fluid at LOSTSpace going to be showcasing?
Let me say I am very excited about the show for a number of reasons. First off Fluid will be a showcase of my latest digital paintings, which are a composite of real watercolour and illustration work as well as a bit of photography and collage. The works are charged with the intent of celebrating “deviants” of the conventional gender binary. I depict effeminate yet masculine men and sexually assertive and bold women. The show will be launched with Sydney’s fabulous performance artist Matt Format whose work is about gender exploration. Matt is a very talented individual and a visual treat, from his many eyelashes to his glistening glitter beard. I am stoked that he will be launching the exhibition on opening night as I believe he will express in performance what I am expressing visually on the gallery walls. I’ve also got Sydney’s own “glitter-pop” duo Nuance performing some of their catchy tunes. Its bound to be an art opening unlike others … very casual, fun and bright.
What is it about gender, and gender fluidity specifically, that interests you?
I am fascinated by the essence of people’s energies, how diverse they can be and how they manifest differently from person to person. There is spectrum of identities outside the traditional gender binary and those “outliers” interest me because they are different to what is usually presented. I’ve felt at times in my own life that I did not fit into the stereotypical rules of what a man should be. Instead of focusing on the negativity that can come from that experience I want to celebrate the differences by making pieces of art that celebrate them. I want to point at the gender continuum, opposed to accounting for all of it, by expressing parts of the gamut that I relate to.
What do you hope your audience walks away with after seeing Fluid?
I want people to feel a sense of curiosity and intrigue of what may sit outside their own ideas of what a woman or a man can and should be. I want the show to be a gentle trigger that loosens ideas of what gender is … to prompt a more ‘fluid’ attitude towards the idea. I also want them to have a bit of fun. Most gallery openings I find are too formal. I want to make my opening a friendly and light experience as I think it’ll make the message of the show more accessible to a wider audience. I also want to enjoy myself too! So there’ll be some drinks, a bit of music and some solid pieces of artwork. I have a good feeling Fluid will be a exactly what I intend it to. Its an open event so come and say hello!
Be sure to check out Fluid – open from 17th September – 3rd October at LOSTSpace Gallery.
If you want to own a piece of Antony’s work click here for more info!