I loved sitting down for a chat with Anthony Lister. I’m sure it will go down as one of my most memorable interviews. Of course he is a juggernaut in the Australian street-art scene (hate that term now), and I’ve been very familiar with his work over the years, but it’s always refreshing to meet the person behind the art to find a real-life human being. He cracked me up and made me question things… like, why the hell don’t I have a miniature bronze mould of my own head or maybe my dog River’s on my desk.. or in my pocket. Definitely on the to do list.

How would you describe your practice?
As being tumultuous and satisfying, difficult and a wonderful holiday.

How did you first start & why?
I never started. It was just always there. I was first given paper and pencils by my grandmother with I was maybe 5 or 6 and I guess it started treating me financially kind after uni. So let’s say for the last 14 years… it’s been quite sweet.

What revives your creative spirit?
Going to museums. Hardware stores. And having a lack of things to do. Basically it’s the product of me feeding my boredom with materials rather than technology.

What keeps you going?
The drive to constantly be searching for the aesthetic holy grail.

What is the last dream you remember?
I can’t put it all together, but the pieces I remember involved a beautiful girl and me knowing her better than I do in real life.

Do you have any rituals?
I’m quite inconsistent by nature, so I wouldn’t say i have any regular rituals that I’d like to own as a ritual.

What are your other creative outlets?
I play music, piano. I’m interested in inventions and new ideas. I used to say skateboarding but not so much these days. I keep pretty busy drawing on things.

What props did you bring to the shoot? Why?
I brought a brush. A roller. A pair of sunglasses. A glove. A pen and a bronze sculpture of my own head. I just carry those around every day in my pocket. (deb falls off chair laughing and says she wishes she had her own bronze moulding of her head in her pocket)

What is the hardest thing about your practice?
Maintaining an optimism about having a purpose larger than selfishness that goes along with making things that you love that are not functional nor saving anybody’s life. That… as well as the constant reminder that originality is quite a difficult concept to grasp, let alone action to manifest.

What has been the most significant moment for you creatively so far?
Without constant breakthrough and highlights in my practice, I wouldn’t continue what I do. Everytime i go into the laboratory, I’m only smart as my last decision or production. So last night was my greatest breakthrough

What motivates you?
Thinking of new and exciting ways to answer things like that. Being on my toes. It surprises and motivates me. But I don’t like surprises… so.

If money were no object, what would you do?
I would do the same thing. In the same way. For the same reasons.

What do you see yourself doing, when you are say… 60?
I see myself doing the same thing as I do today and hopefully enjoying it just as much.

What are you currently working on / what’s coming up for you?
Currently an entry for the Archibald. A body of work that is being built for my show in Detroit.

What does “Create or Die” mean to you?
Well. um at first I think skate or die which leads me to think about bones brigade. So it’s something i lived by as a kid. Create or Die – I have to create.. And then I die. And I have to constantly die…as I create, so I die. A piece of me each time. But in saying that, as I create I also live. Because I’m breathing life into objects and artworks that will hopefully inspire others to Create and Die as we live together. You can’t have one without the other.

Check out some of Lister’s work here: http://anthonylister.com/ 

~ 100 PICTURES | 100 STORIES – Interview by Deb Morgan / Shot by Chrissie Hall ~

Portrait and Interview with "Anthony Lister". Photography by Chrissie Hall. Interview and writing by Deb Morgan