The symbolism in Maxwell’s art speaks of his challenging past, the fleeting beauty and fragility of the present, and the promise of a bright future.
Maxwell is a self-taught artist who was born and raised in Clunes, Victoria. Maxwell moved to Melbourne when he was 15, where he found artistic expression in graffiti.
It was around this time Maxwell started drinking heavily, beginning a journey into addiction, rehabilitation, relapse and periods of homelessness. These are all reoccurring themes in his earlier works. During these challenges, Maxwell’s art was a coping mechanism and a form of salvation. “I drew to keep sane. It was a way to cope and a bit of a map for what I wanted to do next. When I was drawing, the vision wasn’t clear at first, and I felt like all the mess in my subconscious was pouring through, then I’d put aside what I was working on and realise the artistic release had got me through.”
Maxwell doesn’t view his journey as a negative one – more so a journey which has enriched his outlook on life and his creative vision. Today, Maxwell has turned a corner in his life and is well on the road to recovery. He is able to tell his story with more clarity; the figures he now draws are a part of him and have become more than just pictures on a piece of paper; they are fragments of himself, have walked the path that he has walked on, and live to tell a story of his past, present and future.
On his aspirations for his future and his art, Maxwell says “it’s a bit cliché but I want what a lot of other people want – a house and a family. I don’t want to be famous from my art … but I do want it to be appreciated, and I think that’s why I try to refine my skills every time I draw. I don’t know who that appreciation will be from – other artists, the public, my peers – I just like to show what I’ve been through, and the more eyes the better”.