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Andrew Hancock: “What’s on your mantelpiece?”

The Steeple Times asks artist Andrew Hancock: “What’s on your mantelpiece?”


The Steeple Times shares “wit and wisdom”. What’s your guiding force?

“The increasing sense that time is speeding up”.


“Don’t get even, get medieval” is, in our humble opinion, a great motto. What’s yours?

“Fearless for Your Love Forever!” – I inscribed it into the surface of a recent artwork that appears in my latest exhibition. It may be the first truly heartfelt line I’ve written in months and stands as a declaration to succeed despite all odds. That and a quote from Albert Finney’s character in Saturday Night Sunday Morning… “Don’t let the bastards grind you down!” – I like that one.


Kerry Katona was considered unacceptable in 2007. Who or what is unacceptable in 2013?

I hear there’s a sequel coming out to Gang-Nam Style?


Tony Blair misses being Prime Minister. What do you miss most in your life?

Long lost friends and a palpable sense of destiny. And Bob Dylan.


What might you swap all your wealth for?

Maybe you should come back to me on that one in a few years time…


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?

I know a long retired banker who could pinpoint precisely from the newspapers what was coming and said so years in advance of any panic. I just think that people ignore the facts.


What phrase or word do you most loathe?

Classic FM started saying ‘Chillax’ over its continuity music a few years back. Now, I try not to listen.


In the UK, some people consider charity to “begin at home”. What’s your view and what causes do you personally support?

I invest everything in keeping my art practice moving forward, so I guess that’s part one of your question answered. Art to me is currency, and I have donated several works for sale at charity auctions before I ever sold a single piece for myself. I have never approached the Arts Council for funding my projects, but I know that a lot of people have had funding cut. I trust the private sector will step in as seems to be the desired philosophy of the moment. I think people realise that art can be an invaluable asset. It’s also a means to support artists who must create or go mad, most of whom only work to subsist. I know Churchill refused to cut arts funding during the war.


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?

I believe it is something beyond my opinion. I also do not know what Law Abiding Citizens is.


Artist Andrew Hancock
Artist Andrew Hancock

If you could fill a carriage on The Orient Express, who would be your fellow passengers?

George Harrison, definitely, as well as the former members of Led Zeppelin and Bob Dylan. Some strong-minded women will be needed, say Elizabeth I, Lucrezia Borgia and I’ve always found actress Rachel Weisz very charming. Perhaps a young David Attenborough, Mozart, the Monty Pythons and comedian Stewart Lee for balance. My father would insist on coming along and please throw some zoo animals in there too. Nightmare!


If you were unfortunate enough to end up on death row, what would be your last meal and where would you eat it?

Ouch! Always a pressing concern of mine… I must say I’d order perhaps a cyanide gazpacho in the pleasant surroundings of my country garden. Stop me if I’m being too picturesque.


What time is it acceptable to consume the first drink of the day?

5.30pm. But if your feeling willful, 6.01pm.


A Negroni, a martini or a cup of tea?

Come on! Tea is the cure for what ails ya!


Whose parties do you enjoy the most and why?

The annual Christmas fancy-dress ball at the Royal Academy is always a highlight of the season for me, especially to meet so many friends. Beyond that I try not to name drop (eek). I would say a certain private residence in Albemarle Street has been the centre for gathering in the last year.


Who is the most positive person you know?

To me, at the moment, it’s my current gallerist, who constantly reminds me that everything is going well. Besides that, my good friend Eleanor Lindsay-Fynn seems to inspire positive thinking beyond the realms of the rational, which is very infectious.


What’s your most guilty pleasure?

Sleeping in. Especially deliberately when I know I have somewhere to be.


If a tattoo were to sum you up, what would it be of?

My great grandfather was in the British Navy, he had tattoos. Sadly I’m not a sailor so I cannot possibly comment.


If you were a car, what marque would you be?

I’m sorry, I don’t know what that means. But I have a bicycle that doesn’t work and an old Morris 1100 in Malta that sadly was donated to a museum last year. Apparently it was “too dangerous” to drive, baah!


Cilla Black presented Surprise, Surprise. Tell us the most surprising thing about you.

I’m always surprised that so few of my contemporaries are followers of Bob Dylan. I also may have once been ordained as an honorary Druid.


What’s currently sitting on your mantelpiece?

A row of increasingly dead daffodils in jam jars which I have been drawing and half finished paintings. I also have a large coral, which I bought back from Barbados last year. I found it at a deserted beach in Bathsheba during a rainstorm.  It looks like a brain.


Andrew Hancock is an artist who has exhibited variously at such places at the Barbican Centre in London, the Standarte Galleria in Madrid and the Olympic Museum in Beijing.


View his official website at: http://www.andrew-hancock.com


Hancock is currently exhibiting at Maestro Arts, Milliners House, Riverside Quarter, Eastfields Avenue, London SW18 1LP. The exhibition, Flaming Hearts, runs until 5th June. For more details, go to: http://www.maestroarts.com


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