The Steeple Times asks artist and animal rights activist Jess Black: “What’s on your mantelpiece?”
The Steeple Times shares “wit and wisdom”. What’s your guiding force?
I think humour. Life is so blah when taking too seriously. I try to find the humour in everything.
“Don’t get even, get medieval” is, in our humble opinion, a great motto. What’s yours?
“No one will fight for you harder than YOU”. You will get a lot of advice, solicited and unsolicited, but at the end of the day you have to trust your own instincts.
Kerry Katona was considered unacceptable in 2007. Who or what is unacceptable in 2013?
Pretentiousness. I don’t know if that’s ever been cool but I will say that 2013 is officially the year pretention is out.
Tony Blair misses being Prime Minister. What do you miss most in your life?
Hmm… I would say my family. I have not lived near them since I was 17. I see them a few times a year, but as I get older I miss being in close proximity to them.
What might you swap all your wealth for?
Well, I do not necessarily consider “wealth” to be monetary. I consider my dogs as part of my life “wealth” and I would not trade anything for them. But make me an offer. Just kidding.
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’m not as knowledgeable as perhaps I should be, but all of the world banks are tied to global economies. What we’re learning, finally, is how fragile we are and how linked we are together.
What phrase or word do you most loathe?
I have always disliked the word “moist”. Something about that word is just not right.
In the UK, some people consider charity to “begin at home”. What’s your view and what causes do you personally support?
I am an animal rights activist. I have done a national anti-fur campaign in support of PETA and I am active with a dog rescue organization called Kinder 4 Rescue. I am also about to get involved with an organization called Freedom Tails which pairs shelter dogs with prison inmates. The dogs are trained making them more adoptable and the life improvement for both the dogs and inmates is astounding.
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?
Well, in Los Angeles I swear everyone is surgically attached to the their phone. I think it comes down to common sense. There is nothing more annoying than trying to have a conversation with someone who is in a trance by his iPhone. When having a face-to-face conversation with someone, that should take precedence.
If you could fill a carriage on The Orient Express, who would be your fellow passengers?
Dolly Parton, Hillary Clinton, and Tina Fey…. Oh and I have to throw another guy in there right? OK, how about David Arquette? There is a boyish energy about him that I love. He seems to always have fun. And the Ab Fab ladies.
If you were unfortunate enough to end up on death row, what would be your last meal and where would you eat it?
Oh Gosh, I love food and I love to eat, so this is a hard one. I think it would be at my favourite restaurant in New York City, Lupa. They have these roasted beets with a pistachio cream sauce that I always order when I go there. Maybe I’d also have a rare porterhouse steak, which I hardly ever eat these days. I guess that ideally I would like to eat all of this where the death row guys can’t find me.
What time is it acceptable to consume the first drink of the day?
If you had asked me when I was in my early 20’s, I would have said when you wake up. Today I do not drink at all. I prefer to feel my best everyday consistently,
A Negroni, a martini or a cup of tea?
If I had to pick, it would be a cup of tea. But I would rather have an espresso.
Whose parties do you enjoy the most and why?
I would have to say I enjoy small dinner parties with a few friends the most. I lead a very casual lifestyle. I am backyard barbeques over black tie these days.
Who is the most positive person you know?
Me: I have always been a “glass half full” guy. And that works out well because my dog Peggy is such a pessimist.
What’s your most guilty pleasure?
Eating candy in bed. It’s a problem.
If a tattoo were to sum you up, what would it be of?
A muddy puppy playing with woodland creatures, surrounded by a peace sign.
If you were a car, what marque would you be?
I would love to say an Aston Martin, but probably a Volvo.
Cilla Black presented Surprise, Surprise. Tell us the most surprising thing about you.
Because my overall nature is lighthearted, most people are surprised that one of my favourite past times is watching documentaries about rather serious subject matter.
What’s currently sitting on your mantelpiece?
Always a candle, a few books and whatever my Bengal cat Max hasn’t pushed off.
Jess Black is an abstract artist and animal rights activist. Collectors of his works number Kristin Cavallari, Kari Whitman, Jay Cutler and Estelle Dahan. View his official website at: http://www.jessblackart.com