It was a busy Sunday night for the members club at Café Royal, the swanky hotel in the heart of Piccadilly Circus. An exclusive crowd including models, socialites, gallerists and art dealers were out in force in support of actor Edward Akrout. Not only was Akrout screening an episode of Mr. Selfridge (in which he stars) but making his debut in the art world.
I arrived early to the soirée, walking in on the handsome artist frantically rearranging his paintings. He spoke in French to an entourage, directing them as where to place certain pieces before guests appeared. Whilst offering him a hand, he charmingly apologised for his nervousness, explaining that it was the first time he’d be revealing his artwork to the public. His paintings include acrylic, ink and charcoal designs. The fourteen, mostly portrait drawings, set the theme for the affair.
Akrout had accumulated pieces throughout the years, having created them in Paris, New York and at home in London. Coming from an artistic family, painting came naturally and remained a passion of his. The 32-year-old actor was born to a Franco-British Mother and a Tunisian Father and moved to England in 2008 to train at LAMDA and has since been prominent on the screen and stage. Akrout’s character Pierre Longchamp arrives in episode two of season three, stealing the spotlight and becoming Mr. Selfridge’s (Jeremy Piven) right hand man. Akrout said that even though he was capable of handling the daily rejection and criticism he faced as an actor, the idea of establishing himself within the art community terrified him. This was evidently the most personal venture he’d embarked on.
His artwork will remain on display for the month of February at Café Royal, following up to his next screening and significant episode, which airs on March 1st. You can watch Edward in Mr. Selfridge every Sunday night on ITV at 9pm.
Photography – Anja King