20 questions with artist Alexander Massouras
The Steeple Times shares “wit and wisdom”. What’s your guiding force?
Serendipity and contained melancholy.
“Don’t get even, get medieval” is, in our humble opinion, a great motto. What’s yours?
Don’t get medieval, get baroque.
Kerry Katona was considered unacceptable in 2007. Who or what is unacceptable in 2013?
Rubens and twerking.
Tony Blair misses being Prime Minister. What do you miss most in your life?
Being slightly younger.
What might you swap all your wealth for?
Donald Trump was once a case of: “If you owe the bank a thousand, they close you down; but if you owe the bank a billion, you own the bank”. What’s your view on the banking crisis?
It proved that free marketeers are ultimately hypocrites. But it did inspire an etching I’m quite proud of, called The Bank of England in Ruins (after Joseph Gandy).
What phrase or word do you most loathe?
‘Austerity’. ‘Self-reliance’ has become a monstrous euphemism too. All words bastardised by estate agents, like ‘feature’ and ‘signature’. And phrase-wise, I’m especially irritated by meaningless political ones built around imbecilic word play (last week’s ‘earning or learning’; ‘a hand-up not a hand-out’ etc.). That kind of thing is for Teletubbies, not debate
In the UK, some people consider charity to “begin at home”. What’s your view and what causes do you personally support?
Various educational causes and a homelessness charity (which doesn’t begin at home at all). But I don’t think charity should be relied on to perform the functions of a welfare state.
The judge in Law Abiding Citizen states: “I can pretty much do whatever I want” before being blown up whilst answering her mobile phone. What’s your view on the appropriate use of such devices?
They make being late easier.
If you could fill a carriage on The Orient Express, who would be your fellow passengers?
Friends and family would probably fill it up. Billie Holiday and an orchestra might also be good company.
If you were unfortunate enough to end up on death row, what would be your last meal and where would you eat it?
Hemlock, for Socratic irony. In my mouth.
What time is it acceptable to consume the first drink of the day?
It is always afternoon somewhere.
A Negroni, a martini or a cup of tea?
A cup of tea.
Whose parties do you enjoy the most and why?
These days they all seem to be weddings so the hosts are different. I’ve been to some really delightful weddings
Who is the most positive person you know?
An entrepreneur called Andrew Fogg has a very admirable intelligent positivity I’d like to bottle.
What’s your most guilty pleasure?
It wouldn’t be very guilty if I divulged it.
If a tattoo were to sum you up, what would it be of?
A sash window.
If you were a car, what marque would you be?
I’m much more like a bicycle. If I had to be a car I’d want to be a 1960s Mercedes Pagoda but probably end up a Saab.
Cilla Black presented Surprise, Surprise. Tell us the most surprising thing about you.
Only after a drink.
What’s currently sitting on your mantelpiece?
A line of waxed copper plates.
Alexander Massouras is an artist who has exhibited at the Royal Academy of Arts, Multiplied at Christie’s, the Mall Galleries and the American Standard Gallery in Miami. The British Museum acquired two of his works, Camerondius and The Sun King, in October 2012.
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