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Hannibal Lector Attacks Stevenson Square

Akse goes to the wall with the fava beans and Chianti man

Published on September 5th 2012.

Hannibal Lector Attacks Stevenson Square

PUBLIC ART is best when it's a temporary measure, an intervention as artists like to say. French artist Akse has enlived Stevenson Square with an excellent Hannibal Lector. We asked him a few questions.

Jonathan Schofield (JS): Give us a bit of background about yourself Akse.

Akse (A): I am a graffiti artist from France based in Manchester since 1997. I have been painting with spraycans since 1992 and became a member of the P19 Crew in 1993 (a famous graffiti crew in France).

JS: So why did you come to Manchester?

A:  I came to Manchester as an Erasmus student for an MSc in analytical chemistry. I then stayed to do a PhD in polymer chemistry. I've been working as a Project Manager in a testing laboratory since I graduated. I have no artistic education.

JS: Tell Confidential about this painting.

A: This portrait of Lector, 'MasterChef Winner 1991' was 100% freehand spraypainted like all my Graffiti artwork. This piece is part of a personal project called 'Psychopaths' I started last year. It is a kind of tribute to Actors I admire and all portraits are painted on spots around Manchester. My first piece was a portrait of John Malkovich called 'John is watching you'. It was painted on the wall of the Blank Space Gallery as part of an exhibition I had there during the Eurocultured Festival 2011.

The second 'Wanted' was a portrait of Jack Nicholson done last April on a shutter at Sunshine Studio in the Northern Quarter. I was then contacted at the beginning of August to paint this block and thought it was perfect for my third piece.The place I paint these portraits is very important and this is the reason why I only paint them when I think the spot is suitable. I would not paint them on a 'graffiti wall' for example.

JS: How long is it going to be visible?

 A: This portrait will stay for 3 months only as it is part of the Out House project (www.outhousemcr.co.uk). However I've been asked to paint the other side of the block so this may happen soon.

JS: And what do you reckon is the role of public art?

A: Public art gives people the opportunity to access art without the need to go to a museum or an art gallery. Therefore it has the advantage of being able to reach a wider audience which would not normally be interested in the art form. It can also reinforce the identity of a community; in the case of the Northern Quarter a project like the Out House fits well with the spirit of the area. Finally it is a great platform for the artists to get more visibility.

For more images and information check out Akse's website, facebook and Youtube.
You can follow Jonathan Schofield on Twitter here @JonathSchofield

Lector in the SquareLector in the Square

John is watching youJohn is watching you


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Swiss JamesSeptember 12th 2012.

Someone's already tagged it- right across the forehead. Shame.

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