Who are The Huxleys?
The Huxleys are a colourful cataclysm of camp theatrics. A visual assault of sparkle, surrealism and silliness. Working across performance art, costume, moving and still imagery they saturate their work with a glamorous, androgynous freedom, which aims to bring some escapism and magic to everyday life.
What would you do differently to what you do now?
We would have launched into our crazy creative practice earlier in life I think. Being able to trust ourselves and believe in your dreams no matter how ridiculous. We worked as artists independently for a long time and I think if we had come together sooner that would have been marvelous. We think you should do what you love and embrace it to the fullest.
Who inspires you and why?
We inspire each other to take our ideas further and come to the conclusion that too much is never enough. But we also take so much inspiration from artists that we admire. People like Australian designer and performance artist Leigh Bowery who was fearless, absurd and so creative.
We also love people like Grace Jones and David Bowie and Prince. People who are outrageous and theatrical. Taking life on a magical detour. Unapologetic artists that push ideas of taste, gender and style. Women are a huge influence on us. We love to embrace feminine energy. Anyone that pushes against the norm is wonderful to us.
We both also share a great love for filmmaker John Waters. We would of loved to be in one of his trashy camp films. We take inspiration from everywhere we can, often from music, film and visual art. Our house and studio are like an overstuffed chaotic museum to all our loves.
What would you do to make a difference in the world?
The thing that bothers us most in life is prejudice. Any kind of racism, sexism, ageism. Isms are not good. We want to promote a freedom in expression and a celebration of who you are regardless of race, gender, sexuality. It’s vital to be yourself and be out there being seen and taking up space, no matter how big your costume is!
As it’s close to our hearts the rights of LGBTQI people is vital to us. Both growing up being bullied, harassed and misunderstood in backwards places has made a huge mark on us. So we want to be as out and as proud of being queer as possible. We want young people to feel free from the feeling of persecution and hope that the world becomes a more loving and open place. By putting our queer, camp, femme and surreal vision out into the world we hope it inspires others to do the same.
Favourite holiday destination and why?
We love Italy. We love the drama of the people, the opera of life there. The food, the art history, its so extravagant and over the top. Our favourtie spot is Positano on the Amalfi Coast. The great Australian artist Vali Myers lived there for many years. And people like Nijinsky and Diaghilev lived there. It’s so beautiful and it’s wonderful to feel that history. Artists were often drawn to the place and you can see why. It’s very magical. Also Gore Vidal another favourite of ours had an amazing house nearby! The Italians are so such fun and passionate people. And they keep their style always. They age with panache.
When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
We’ve always dreamed of taking people to the Titanic theme restaurant in Williamstown. It looks so awful. It’s on Hydraulics! And it’s a theatrical experience, you choose your class ticket and your night goes accordingly. They even had a sign saying ‘we were here before the movie’ as if its not actually based on real events. Theatre restaurants are a dying bread but it would definitely be a night you wouldn’t forget.
However more seriously our favourite thing when we moved to Melbourne was the amazing cultural diversity. I loved visiting Sydney Road in Brunswick and being amongst the Muslim community and the amazing Middle Eastern cuisine and then going to Victoria Street in Richmond and having great Vietnamese and Asian food. I love the food and mix of cultures in Melbourne and it’s all so close to each other.
We also have some great art galleries here, going out to Heide is always beautiful, the NGV is always a good bet. We love Murray White Room Gallery too.
What are you currently reading?
I (Will) am reading the Trauma Cleaner which is an incredible book by Sarah Krasnostein about the extraordinary life of Sandra Pankhurst. It’s so inspiring and powerful. It really shows you about survival and the fight to be yourself at whatever cost. She is a formidable and strong woman and such an incredible life to share.
(Garrett) I’m reading Grayson Perry The Descent of Man – its a wonderful and insightful book about toxic masculinity and how things have to change. It is so important and it’s written with humour, insight and great research.
What are you currently listening to?
We have the most eclectic taste ever. It changes daily. IN our house you will often hear Kate Bush, David Bowie, Prince, Grace Jones, Nina Simone, Velvet Underground. We also love Disco. Donna Summer is amazing. But contemporary music we love! Solange – her last 2 albums have been so great. Reminds us of Minnie Riperton. And we loved the latest Robyn album.
John Waters said it best. Happiness is “never having to work for assholes.” Happiness for us is being able to live your life to the most extreme and unapologetic. And to love what you do.
What does the future hold for you?
Our dream is either to represent Australia at the Venice Biennale. We have so many ideas for it. It would be full saturation. But if Venice doesn’t happen we would settle for Eurovision. Equally important!
The Huxleys have designed the costumes for the world premiere season of Glory – presented by Phillip Adams BalletLab as part of Dance Massive: 19 – 23 March 2019. For more information, visit: www.dancemassive.com.au for details.
Image: The Huxleys (supplied)