LISTER | Mr Sinister

Australia 1980

Mr Sinister 2010
no manufacturer's mark
Signed lower right within image in white, 'ListeR'. Signed and dated on verso centre left in black ink, 'Anthony Lister / ListeR 2010'. Titled on verso centre left in black ink, 'MR SINISTER II'.
printed image 39.0 (h) x 108.0 (w) cm
Acquired with the support of Calypso Mary Efkarpidis
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
NGA 2010.517


Anthony Lister has been a pivotal figure in the development of Australian street art over the past ten years. He is one of the best known and is arguably the most successful of Australian street artists to ‘cross-over’ from the street to the gallery, having forged a lucrative international career as part of the contemporary lowbrow art movement. The artist studied at the Queensland College of Art and completed his degree in 2001. Lister currently lives and works between New York and Brisbane, Australia.

Lister draws the inspiration for his works from a variety of sources including the graffiti subculture, Pop art, comic books, cartoons and the contemporary drug culture. Lister’s most successful series of works to date have been based on the dichotomy set up between popular culture’s superheros and its villains, characters through which the battles of good versus evil and right versus wrong can be played out. The brash mixture of Pop’s figuration and the gestural mark-making of Abstract Expressionism is a hallmark of the artist’s work.

The drawing Mr Sinister appears to be the portrait of a menacing villain who, caught in a moment of surprise, turns to stare at the viewer from under a black cloak. Depicted by an intricate network of scribbled lines, the face of Mr Sinister leaps out from the background, snarling his bright red lips and gnashing a mouthful of jagged teeth. Taken from a small sketchbook drawing, the work Mr Sinister illustrates the artist’s signature style of angular, expressive lines and large blocks of colour. The splatter of pink spray-paint across the left had side of the composition gives the impression that the Dracula inspired figure of Mr Sinister has been caught in the gruesome act of feasting on his victim’s blood. This drawing has been enlarged and developed as unique work on paper especially for the national collection.

Jaklyn Babington

Street by Lister

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