We caught up with musician Max Maguire, 24, about his new venture in Melbourne: art gallery & venue 5 Rankin’s Lane.

What do you love about setting up 5 Rankins Lane?

I’ve always loved showcasing other artists work and presenting people with stuff that I think should be seen. I used to run allot of music nights back in London, and it would interest me to see the reactions the audience had to the acts we hosted and what they thought of the contrasts between different styles of music on the night. What’s nice about Rankins Lane is that I now have the freedom to work with artists in a whole range of different disciplines, it’s an opportunity to show the films, visual art, music, theatre and whatever work I find inspiring from either friends or people I meet every day.


Tim Maguire, 20 views of Mt Fuji from the Tokyo-Kyoto bullet train (detail)

What was your earliest experience of dyslexia, and what challenges have you experienced?

I’m not sure I could pinpoint my earliest experience of dyslexia, I was 11 when I was first told I had it, and before then I was at school in France were dyslexia was still considered a myth.  Quite early on I was aware that I was struggling in relation to most kids at school, I remember the in incredulous and frustrated expressions on my teachers faces when it seemed impossible to make me understand the simplest tasks. My struggle and ultimate failure to make sense of the problems that were given to me was often perceived as laziness and an unwillingness to apply myself. But at the same time I was very creative and a few people noticed and encouraged me in this area. I just remember allot of confusion from that period.  

How do you think your dyslexia has shaped your approach to setting up the venue, or making your music?

I think dyslexia might have contributed to me writing and playing music in the first place, I struggled with the academic world, but music seemed to come easy, it allowed me to express and show people something that finally made sense to me, despite several attempts I have never been able to read music properly, but I’ve still managed to find my own meaning in it. I see subtleties of expression in music that I don’t find in other art forms.  

What do you value most about your way of thinking, or what advantages do you think dyslexia has actually given you?

I feel that dyslexia is definitely a big part of who I am, and despite finding myself struggling in certain areas I have never regretted having it. In fact quite the opposite, the way I process thoughts informs my creativity and if dyslexia influences what I make then I’m glad of it. I think there are advantages to being dyslexic too, I feel like I might have benefited visually and aurally from it, finding it easy to read imagery and sound.    

I wish I was encouraged more in the creative strengths I demonstrated at school. It’s not that I feel like it would have changed where I am today but it might have given me more confidence as a kid. I also believe that judging someone’s ability’s on a few spelling mistakes is ridiculous. Its the content that really matters.