AN­THONY

RAISED IN BRISBANE WITH LIT­TLE OTHER THAN AN ABIL­ITY TO DRAW, THE LAST DECADE HAS SEEN THE 37-YEAR-OLD SCRATCH OUT ACCLAIM AS ONE OF THE WORLD’S LEAD­ING STREET ARTISTS – HIS WORKS NOW HANG ON THE WALLS OF HUGH JACKMAN, PINK AND GEOFFREY RUSH, AMONG OTH­ERS

GQ (Australia) - - ANTHONY - WORDS RICHARD CLUNE

“It still doesn’t cal­cu­late for me, all of this. I’ve come in on this strange wild card from Brisbane, my par­ents are work­ing class and had noth­ing to do with art. My grandma was a painter but never sold one in her life – I picked up the trade from her, I guess. She did land­scapes, mainly, but I’ve got this one of hers that she did of Will Smith – she cut him out of the news­pa­per at 84 and painted him. I was I like, ‘do you know who that is – that’s the Fresh Prince’. And she looked at me and was like, ‘that’s a very at­trac­tive young man’ and she gave it to me for my birth­day – it’s one of my favourites. I never knew what paint­ing en­tailed – I just knew that I liked it and I pur­sued it. I was al­ways fed scrap pa­per and would just draw and play with jig­saws or build Game­boy con­soles out of wood and imag­ine the ac­tual games – that’s how hard up we were. And I was bored, and a way to re­lieve my bore­dom was to cre­ate. At 10 I was crush­ing boxes at the lo­cal chemist and I did all the shit jobs, I went through the butch­ers and pack­ing shelves and de­liv­er­ing

pizzas – all the shit stuff with no cus­tomer ser­vice. I just knew I didn’t want to do that for­ever and blindly pur­sued what my heart was set on.”

“Lister is the street artist but there are many other aliases I op­er­ate un­der be­cause I have mul­ti­ple cre­ative per­son­al­ity dis­or­der – it’s a bless­ing and a curse, but do­ing this thing for so long, I see op­por­tu­ni­ties that I per­son­ally can’t take that one of my aliases can… it en­ables me to com­mu­ni­cate in many dif­fer­ent di­alects to dif­fer­ent styles of painters – from full-blown graf­fiti artists to fine art and Kandin­sky and I can talk de Koon­ing for days. But it’s not my whole life, it’s my way to ex­ist on every plat­form, on the move­ments that have gone on or are cur­rent – it’s how I’ve im­mersed my­self in, well, I hate to call it an in­dus­try be­cause it cheap­ens it, I’d call it a life­style.”

“I don’t as­so­ciate my­self that much with my work and I don’t as­so­ciate my work with be­ing any­thing out­side of or­di­nary or special – it’s not like I’m fix­ing kids’ eyes in a third world coun­try, that’s worth clap­ping for. I’ve been shocked for many years get­ting the at­ten­tion I get in other coun­tries do­ing what I do, be­cause so much of it is pos­i­tive and re­ally af­fir­ma­tive – es­pe­cially hav­ing been raised in Brisbane and be­ing this freak anom­aly and the com­mu­nity not com­pre­hend­ing what I was do­ing. In some cities I’m meeting celebri­ties and go­ing to fancy par­ties and then in a dif­fer­ent city I’m chased by the po­lice and put in jail for do­ing the same thing. It’s ab­stract, I guess you have to be like a tree – this flex­i­ble en­tity that’s ready for any­thing.”

“I heard some­one say re­cently that peo­ple don’t change, they just get bet­ter at be­ing them­selves, so maybe I’m just get­ting bet­ter at do­ing that and what I’m do­ing tech­ni­cally, con­cep­tu­ally and philo­soph­i­cally – I’m in­ter­ested in ques­tions and I’m in­ter­ested in other peo­ple and their an­swers to things. I’ve al­ways tried to main­tain that I’m only as good as my last pro­duc­tion and only as good as my last de­ci­sion. It gives me hope to do bet­ter and I’m never in­ter­ested in mak­ing shows that aren’t as good as my last – I put a lot of pres­sure on my­self to do that but I don’t find it a strug­gle as much as I find it ex­cit­ing and a chal­lenge and I en­joy that.”

“The Sydney show is more text based and I want to have a wolf rap­ing a girl, I want these guys car­ry­ing a dol­phin up to a club but he’s got no ID, I want a tired strip­per, there’s go­ing to be a guy and girl­friend try­ing to put a con­dom on and it’s flac­cid ’cause that’s a slip­pery, dif­fi­cult job and there’s a guy in a wheel­chair who’s go­ing to have all these women try­ing to have sex with his chair cov­ered in all these dil­dos. I want it to be Aus­tralian and I want neon text and I want there to be plants and an Adi­das-track­suit mum with a pram – things I see out dur­ing the day. I want it to be beau­ti­ful but also some­what dis­turb­ing – maybe that’s in the tech­nique I’m paint­ing in or the sub­ject mat­ter that I choose. I don’t want to be provoca­tive – these are the paint­ings I want to hang on my walls, that’s when I’m sat­is­fied. I’m at­tracted to the works of Adam Cullen and the Chap­man both­ers and Goya to an ex­tent – I’m not so much into the grotesque as I am into the bizarre or the ab­surd or the sex­u­ally taboo – they are in­ter­est­ing fields and I like the idea of be­ing naughty and my­self hav­ing to ex­plain that and then that tak­ing me into a con­ver­sa­tion that wouldn’t nor­mally hap­pen. And that then has peo­ple talk­ing about things and think­ing about things they don’t re­ally do.”

“I was into speed and coke and I was just fuck­ing go­ing crazy, it was nasty. But it’s all good now. I’ve recorded heaps of my life – when the cam­era’s there I’d shoot and al­ways have been a doc­u­menter, I guess. And in this film my wife leaves me and I go through this hellish di­vorce, I go to re­hab in Bali and get done for drugs and graf­fiti – the last 10-15 years have been crazy. The film’s hon­est and I don’t try and hide any­thing – and I can’t wait to see peo­ple’s re­ac­tions to it.”

“I’m in­ter­ested in spread­ing my seed and pol­li­nat­ing the world though all these dif­fer­ent dis­ci­plines with my stylis­tic ap­proach. Cre­ativ­ity is in every shape and form a way of vent­ing en­ergy. It’s mag­i­cal and I can’t ever think of my prac­tice as a means to sur­vive. If an ob­ject is even­tu­ally sold or put in auc­tion – I can’t think like that as these paint­ings are not an ob­ject, they’re a story. I love them.” Lister’s new show runs Septem­ber 13-29 at Nanda\hobbs Con­tem­po­rary, Sydney; Meet The Lis­ters is ex­pected in cin­e­mas early 2018; an­tho­nylis­ter.com

BELOW: THIS PIECE REF­ER­ENCES THAT TRAGIC DAY LUNA PARK BURNED TO THE GROUND AND IS A PART OF AN ONGOING SE­RIES OF WORK WHICH IS BASED ON ‘THE HORNED MAN OF LUNA PARK’.

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