The New York Academy of Art has a good reputation of facilitating the development of young promising artists. Fresh out of the academy this year, artist Lou Eberhard is breaking through with a strong distinctive style and ambition. "Never been fully female and never be fully male", Eberhard is an expert on transformation. Being a transgender, the focus of his self portraits communicate the inner transformation that echos not only transgenders, but anyone who has experienced some form of self development and meaningful change.
The unique and strong lines technique has already won Eberhard impressive critique by art professionals, exhibiting his works with high profile including the world famous Venice Biennale. I sent Lou a few questions this month to get a first hand opinion on how things are going after graduating from The New York Academy of Art.
As a transgender artist, do you feel that your art practice is driven more by your internal body transformation, or is the external reaction to this change also plays a role?
My practice is really driven by both. The physical reality of my body simply can’t be separated from my mental image of myself. In my work I attempt to address both the truth of my body as well as that of my identity, and how these truths combine into the outward perception of me.
You recently received your MFA from the New York Academy of Art, can you share how is the experience of transitioning to the art world from the academy?
My time at the Academy was intense and challenging, but I think experiencing and growing in such an environment helped prepare me for existing as a working artist. The art world is a tough place to be, but I do my best to stay true to who I am as an artist; as long as I stick to my principles, and am willing to take risks to achieve my goals, I feel I can handle everything the art world could throw at me.
Your art works have been part of the Venice Biennale, can you share how the opportunity came up and what impact did it make?
I was fortunate enough to be a part of the Venice Biennale Program through Marist College and the Lorenzo De’ Medici Institution of Florence. As a part of this program, I lived and created work in Venice during the 2015 Biennale and exhibited in the city. It was truly a life changing experience, and spending time in such a vibrant city during one of the greatest celebrations of art in the world had a major influence on my work, both visually and conceptually.
Living and working in New York as a transgender artist is probably an optimal environment, do you have any plans or desires to spend time in other cities or places for the purpose of developing your practice?
It really is a great environment for me at this moment in my life and career. I’ve always had the travel bug, and I hope to spend a lot more time exploring my work in new environments throughout my career. I spent part of this past summer at a residency on the Toronto Islands on Lake Ontario, and I had such a strong, spiritual connection to the lake itself. I would love to spend more time exploring that relationship through drawings and “collaborative” performances with the lake.
Your current focus is on self portraits, do you see that changing in the future or is it something you wish to continue for the long run?
That’s my current focus, largely in part because my identity and my body (two major aspects of “self”) are at the forefront of my daily life. My transition is still very new, and as such my body is still changing and growing. I think my work will always contain some form of self, but I am not so attached to the idea of self portraits that I can’t express my identity and my idea of self in other ways.
This interview and artist introduction is curated by Shally Zucker for Artqol.