Actor and Painter Edward Akrout
For actor and painter Edward Akrout one life isn't enough. He's a New Yorker, Paris native with Tunisian blood, and currently calls London his home after having lived in Romania and throughout Latin America. His paintings were born all over the world during his travels. And in 2008, he moved to England to study at LAMDA (London Academy of Dramatic Arts) after graduating from La Sorbonne in Paris. His creative DNA is split between his impressive acting career and his life as a painter. And if you were to include the many roles he's inhabited over the course of his career, Akrout has lived more than a normal share of lives.
A big presence in the UK, Akrout is most likely to recognised for the face seen on TV, and understandably so with roles in series such as The Borgias, Doctors, Father Brown, Midsomer Murders, The Hollow Crown and Mr. Selfridge, and for his feature film roles in Swinging with the Finkels (2011), Love is Thicker Than Water (2015), and the upcoming Bitter Harvest (2015), yet the mark he is leaving on the other side of the creative tracks is equally impressive.
In the art world, Akrout is recognised a Saatchi & Saatchi artist and is known for his strikingly beautiful and moving paintings. Born into a family of Creatives, painting has always been a natural and lasting passion. And while balancing his prolific screen career, he has been painting for private collectors, only just recently debuted his work for the public in February 2015, after an overwhelming demand. Akrout is a painter at heart, yet the expression in his work reflects the soul of an actor, and someone able to convey emotion in even the simplest of brush strokes.
“Self taught, I grew up with my beautifully mad and artistic uncle. He lived in a fantasy world and taught me the importance of imagination from an early age.”–Edward Akrout
Curiosity has been my guiding force, it lead me to creative work and to studying philosophy at the Sorbonne.
CM:How do you prepare for a role?
I just pretend to be whoever I’m asked.
CM:What do you consider your career defining performance?
Playing Richard III on stage was a special experience, as theatre has always been my passion. But I like to believe that I’ve yet to have my “career defining performance”!
CM:What prompted your interest in the arts?
Being raised in an artistic family.
CM: Did you study fine art or are you self taught?
Self taught, I grew up with my beautifully mad and artistic uncle. He lived in a fantasy world and taught me the importance of imagination from an early age. He cultivated my love for painting and remained my closest friend until he passed away when I was a teenager.
CM: What are your ambitions in your creative life?
Acting wise - to have artistic freedom within my work. Having the power to choose roles purely because I believe in them, rather than for money or publicity reasons.
And in the art world - having the ability to create bigger and better pieces. Producing new art forms and working with different materials.
CM: Do you ever plan your art work? (i.e. research, materials, sketching ....)
So far, my work hasn’t required any research. My pieces are mostly portrait style, based on vibrant characters and their stories.
I work relatively quickly and never dwell on any one piece. I tend to splatter and throw materials around whilst working.
I find it to be a necessity to paint and draw. It’s a creative release for me, otherwise the ideas build in my head.
CM: Where does your inspiration come from for all your paintings?
CM: What paint and materials do you use? why?
Depending on the piece I switch between charcoal, ink, acrylic and oil.
Charcoal and ink for their immediacy and their ability to produce confident lines. Acrylic since it’s easy to play around with. Oil because the things you’re able to do with colors is magical.
CM: How do you balance your various current projects?
CM: Can you tell us more about your exhibition with Saatchi and the Hoxton Hotel?
First Impression was inspired through my travels. The collection originated in New York in the fall of 2013 when I was left immobile due to a back injury. Despite being paralyzed from pain, the city’s energy inspired me; dragging me from my solitude to the streets. I fueled my emotions into an array of contemporary abstract drawing and paintings. Whether I was bumping into characters on the sidewalk of New York or people watching along the Seine, my work has stemmed from numerous stories and portraits of dynamic individuals. The exhibition runs at The Hoxton Shoreditch until January 2, 2016.
“NYC is the lover that treats you poorly but fucks you good. Addictively, you end up going back for more.”–Edward Akrout
CM: Are there parallels in your painting style and your acting?
I have found that even though I’m capable of handling the daily rejection and criticism that comes with being an actor, the idea of establishing himself within the art community has terrified me more than anything.
As an actor my job is to inhabit different emotional states, and as an artist I try to
capture (in only a few strokes of a brush or pen) the fleeting emotions and personality traits of those I encounter.
CM: What are the most striking differences between being a creative in London vs. Paris vs the US?
Paris is the (was my) first lover, that you can never forget.
London is the homely partner that treats you well, but one you can’t help cheating on.
NYC is the lover that treats you poorly but fucks you good. Addictively, you end up going back for more.
I’m intimately and deeply connected to the three, as I’ve been marked by each of them at various points in my life.
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