Saturday, May 15, 2021

Anna-Louise Felstead: "What's on your mantelpiece?"

The Steeple Times asks artist Anna-Louise Felstead: “What’s on your mantelpiece?”

 

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

My old headmaster Peter Pyemont once said in a Friday assembly: “The more you put into life, the more you get out of it”. I have lived by those words ever since.

 

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

Nietzsche, the German philosopher famously said: “That which does not kill us makes us stronger”.

 

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

The thought of another monsoon summer.

 

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

My late grandmother, Baba. At the age of 65, she took me shopping in Miss Selfridge and, to my horror, decided to try on a pair of 16-hole leopard skin Dr. Martens boots. Another memory is of her rocking up at my first ever solo exhibition at Colville Place Gallery completely plastered having dunk far too many G&Ts on the train up from Brighton. She didn’t utter a word all night but just smiled behind her dark glasses. She was wonderful.

 

What might you swap all your wealth for?

The knowledge that I will always be able to paint the things I love, amidst the people I love, with an AGA surrounded by scruffy terriers.

 

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?

From what I understand seriously tough times are ahead for everyone but hopefully a huge shift will, eventually, sort things out.

 

What phrase or word do you most loathe?

“Let’s think outside the box”.

 

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

I donate a number of original paintings and limited edition prints every year to various charity auctions. I mainly support cancer charities and Help for Heroes.

 

The judge in Law Abiding Citizen states: “I can pretty 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 wouldn’t mind listening to other peoples’ conversations if they were about sex, drugs & rock ‘n’ roll, however they’re invariably about what time their train is or what they’d like for supper. WhatsApp and email are my favourite forms of communication when out and about.

 

Artist Anna-Louise Felstead in a customised hand-painted dress from Vivien of Holloway at the 2012 Goodwood Revival
Artist Anna-Louise Felstead in a customised hand-painted dress from Vivien of Holloway at the 2012 Goodwood Revival

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

Baba and her equally eccentric late husband Cliffy would provide the singing and entertainment. In addition I’d be accompanied by my mother, Elizabeth Taylor, Frank Sinatra, Leslie Caron, Henri Matisse, Picasso, Nan Goldin, Patti Smith, Oscar Wilde, Freddie Mercury, Francis Fulford (I met him at a shooting party at Belvoir Castle recently and he cracked me up) and Brad Pitt (for some eye candy). I’d also invite a handful of Chelsea Arts Club members who are all completely mad, highly irreverent and marvelous fun.

 

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

I would go to Scott’s, order a bottle of Perrier-Jouët Cuvée Belle Epoque and have fresh crab linguine followed by Dover sole à la meunière with creamed spinach and fried zucchini. To finish, I’d have sticky toffee pudding and would round the meal off with a glass or three of Sauternes.

 

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

If I’m on holiday: 12pm. Day-to-day: 7pm as I can’t function if I drink at lunch. Christmas Day: 8am as champagne is always forced on us as early as possible by my lush of a mother.

 

A Negroni, a martini or a cup of tea?

A Grey Goose dirty martini with 3 olives – or a large G&T if I want to remember the evening.

 

Whose parties do you enjoy the most and why?

My own because my friends are young and old, from all walks of life and rarely know one another but often end up having a fabulous time together.

 

Who is the most positive person you know?

My Border Terrier, Ruby. All I have to say are the words “walkies” or “biscuit” and she’s the happiest creature in the world. She can cheer me up in seconds.

 

What’s your most guilty pleasure?

White wine. It’s the Devil’s drink and without fail I end up behaving abominably on it, usually kissing someone highly inappropriate – but it’s bloody good fun.

 

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

A girl painting at an easel with a small, scruffy dog by her feet.

 

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

My mother told me when I was about 14 that if I were a car I’d be a Saab because I was sensible and reliable (I HATE Saabs and she has only recently been forgiven). It would have to be my favourite car, the curvy Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 Stradale.

 

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

I very nearly took the path to becoming an opera singer but was hopeless at sight reading. I also used to have a huge crush on Boy George when I was seven years old.

 

What’s currently sitting on your mantelpiece?

A photograph of me with my sister Binky taken by my ex-boyfriend and Getty photographer Christopher Jackson; various crystals to re-energise my room, candles, a card from my mother and a Soho House photo booth strip of me and my best friend Annika rather inebriated in New York last year.

 

Anna-Louise Felstead is a reportage artist and illustrator who draws and paints on location. View examples of her works at: http://www.alfelstead.com

 

Follow Anna-Louise Felstead on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/alfelstead

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