His solo exhibition at The Hoxton, Shoreditch reveals to the public for the first time a suite of drawings and paintings titled 'First Impression'.
Best known for his roles in high profile TV series and films including; Mr. Selfridge, Midsomer Murders and The Borgias, actor Edward Akrout has kept his talent as an artist hidden from the public eye until recently, when he presented his debut solo exhibition at Café Royal in March to an enthusiastic crowd of gallerists, collectors and VIPs. Akrout admits that even though he is capable of handling the daily rejection and criticism he faces as an actor, the idea of showing his art to the world terrified him. This autumn Akrout will exhibit a suite of new drawings and paintings titled ‘First Impression’ at The Hoxton, Shoreditch, offering visitors an insight into the world of Edward Akrout.
There is an unmistakable connection between Akrout’s two chosen disciplines, for as an actor his job is to inhabit different emotional states, and as an artist he has an uncanny ability to capture in only a few strokes of the brush or pen, the fleeting emotions and personality traits of characters he comes across on his travels in London, Paris and NYC. Born to a Franco-British mother and Tunisian father, 32-year-old Akrout grew up in France, studying philosophy at The Sorbonne and theatre at Le Cours Florent in Paris, and then spending time at the National Institute in Bucharest. He left Paris for London when offered a place at the prestigious London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. Akrout's philosophical and theatrical training is evident in his expressive, psychological studies of the eclectic characters he encounters.
Akrout’s artistic practice is inspired by his travels and peripatetic life, and on a more personal level by an artist uncle. He explained: “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.”
His drawings possess a style reminiscent of Otto Dix, whilst the paintings possess a fluidity and movement in the vein of the Italian futurists, and they often take the viewer on a journey into a nocturnal world harking back to the era of Toulouse Lautrec. His subjects range from loved ones to random personalities that cross his path.
The ‘First Impression’ collection originated in New York in the fall of 2013 when Akrout was left immobile due to a back injury. Despite being paralysed from pain, the energy of the city inspired him; dragging Akrout from his solitude to the streets of The Big Apple. He chanelled his emotions into an array of contemporary abstract drawing and paintings.
Akrout continued to create pieces upon the return to his native Paris in 2014 and completed the series in London at the beginning of this year. Whether Akrout was bumping into characters on the sidewalk in New York or people watching along the Seine, his work has stemmed from numerous stories and portraits of vibrant individuals. In addition to every narrative being greater than the last. Here is the First Impression the world made on him, and the first he will make on visitors to this exhibition.
In a recent interview for Huffington Post, writer Ilana Rapp commented: “A long time passion of his, Edward's paintings include acrylic, ink and charcoal designs, and his collections consist of pieces he created in Paris, New York and at his home in London.”
Akrout has stated his purpose is that of “capturing emotion and movement whilst translating it into the purest and simplest form on paper and canvas.” Akrout aims for his pieces to speak for themselves, connecting emotionally with viewers by representing the essence of universal emotions and characteristics.