The Malta Independent 19 November 2018, Monday

60 Second Interview - John Martin Borg

Malta Independent Sunday, 30 December 2007, 00:00 Last update: about 5 years ago

An established watercolour artist, John Martin Borg is mostly renowned for his maritime pictures and atmospheric landscapes. Working mostly on location his watercolours gradually developed into studies of moods and poetic expressions. The artist is also interested in abstract and religious art, two areas where he is constantly exploring new grounds. Born in 1953, he studied at the School of Arts under H. Alden, E. Barthet and V. Apap. After obtaining his honours degree in Pharmacy in 1977 he took up watercolour painting and exhibited for the first time in March of 1979. Ever since, he presented a series of personal shows. He also participated in a large number of collective exhibitions. Locally his works are found in a number of important places including the Museum of Contemporary Arts, the Maritime Museum, the Cathedral Museum in Mdina, the presidential Palace at San Anton and in the reserve collection of the Museum of Fine Arts. His works have also been exhibited abroad at the Mall gallery and the Royal Watercolour Society open exhibition in London, at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris; also in Cologne, Munich, Stuttgart, Salzburg Paris San Tropez, Tunisia Dubai and Florid (USA). His watercolours are also found in prominent places such as the World Health Organisation centre in Geneva and the Commonwealth Centre in London. One of his paintings forms part of the Royal Collection in London, this has been presented to the Royal Couple by the President of Malta in May 1992. His exhibition at Gallery G in Lija, is the artist's 20th personal show and will remain open till the end of the year. Opening hours are from Monday to Friday from 9.30am till 5pm, and Saturdays from 9.30am till 1.30pm.

How old are you? Star sign and date of birth?

I am 54 years old. Born on 24 February 1953, should be a Pisces.

What would you like to be doing in 10 years' time?

I hope to be still exploring new grounds in my art, especially my abstracts. Also, I will still be searching deeper for the true meaning of this life, which is my ultimate goal.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

To me perfect happiness is when one is in complete peace and harmony with himself, irrespective of all the trouble that always surrounds us.

What is your favourite occupation?

Painting, which started as a hobby but has now become my job, also searching for a deeper understanding of the full perspective of life, mostly the spiritual aspects of it.

Significant other?

I love giving workshops and talks about my favourite subjects.

What is your greatest fear?

Giving in to my stubbornness and having to pay the consequences.

What is it that you most value in your friends?

Honesty and support in times of need.

How would you like to die?

I would love to die as a man who is still active and one who is still searching for a deeper understanding. This idea of constant searching is depicted in my abstracts entitled In search of a deeper meaning, featured in the book John Martin, The Watercolours, In Search of a Deeper Meaning.

What is your greatest extravagance?

Definitely buying watercolour paper and art material.

What is your greatest regret?

I never learnt to play the piano.

What is your most treasured possession?

Doris (nee Cachia Fearne), my wife, with whom I have been married for 27 years, for her loving care and immense support.

Which talent would you most like to have apart from the ones you already have?

Composition, in the field of music. I have written songs for guitar and voice but would give anything to be able to compose for orchestra. I am very keen on classical music.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

Pride and stubbornness. They will finally detach us from the surrounding world. These two elements in human nature will only lead us to an artificial happiness because in truth they drive us to complete slavery to our own ideals; this will only end up in solitude and thus total misery.

Where would you like to live?

As far away as possible "from the madding crowds".

What is your most marked characteristic?

My fluctuating moods, something I have to tolerate and suffer all my life. On the other hand, according to my closest friends, it is my sincerity.

Who are your heroes/heroines in real life?

In Art it must be Edward Saego, William Turner and Peter de Wint, whom all had a dramatic influence on the outcome of my watercolours. From the spiritual point of view as a Christian it is obviously Jesus Christ; so also St Theresa of the child Jesus.

What is it that you most dislike?

Having to make small talk.

What is your motto?

"There is always a road to lead us back home when we are lost".

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