The Malta Independent 20 August 2019, Tuesday

60 Second Interview - Shaun Grech

Malta Independent Sunday, 18 December 2005, 00:00 Last update: about 6 years ago

Shaun Grech can be called an accidental artist. He has been painting since an early age but has no formal training, never been to an art class and has never sought to emulate any artistic ‘heroes’ in the absence of reference points. In fact it is difficult categorising Grech’s work in any way. Settling on the fence of the title Outsider’ artist, Grech’s art is borne out of necessity and unrestricted by the limitations of the art structure. Grech: "I steer away from the pretensions of the art world and am constantly self-teaching. I have no idea where it’s all coming from… I just paint… it’s compulsive. I never hold back and above all I’m doing it my way!" In case you havent guessed he is the brother of Alex, Charlotte and Herman!

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

29 and a Leo born on 21 August 1976.

n Significant other? Children?

Partner. My partner’s.

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

Looking back from a very far away place, painting and thinking that the often stifling time spent on this rock somehow served a purpose in the scheme of things.

n What is your idea of perfect

happiness?

Peace and quiet, my soul mate, far enough not to make problems my own and the knowledge that my loved ones are Ok. That’s really asking too much for the time being!

n What is your favourite occupation?

Painting when I’m not smoking (cigarettes) or ruminating. Can you call that an occupation?

n What is your greatest fear?

That the world will eventually spit us all out. I just hope it will start off with the racists, xenophobics, homophobics and the intolerant bunch out there.

n What is it that you most value in your friends?

Honesty and their remarkable efforts in trying to make me feel that life isn’t such a bummer after all. Frequently I manage to convince them otherwise, depress them and have them contemplating their own woes. And the surprising thing is that they always come back for more.

n How would you like to die?

Quietly.

n What is your greatest extravagance?

I’m not an extravagant person at all… in fact I’m permanently broke, recycle clothes and resort to what’s cheapest. I’d say I’ve only spent loads of money on paint, canvases, frames and guitars. But these are only the tools to fuel my habits. Not really extravagant anyway!

n What is your greatest regret?

Getting only eight years of life with a wonderful mother.

n What is your most treasured possession?

I do not hoard possessions…. only yesterday I threw away what I thought was my most treasured possession. Still, a 58-year-old picture of my dad as a kid in a school play is definitely a favourite.

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

Diplomacy if you can consider that a talent. But at the speed of a tortoise I’m slowly getting there.

n What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

Poverty, inequality and oppression in all shapes and sizes. Not having enough food to feed your kids, discrimination, debilitating illnesses, the feeling that God’s been in convalescence while you were struggling, intolerance and social segregation to boot… and finally those who think that the lowest depth of misery is not being able to buy the new D& G summer collection.

n Where would you like to live?

In a small shack somewhere in Latin America.

n What is your most marked

characteristic?

Unfailing outspokenness.

n Who are your heroes/heroines in real life?

These change according to who I meet. But generally they are the underdogs who daily fight for their dignity and battle a system adamant on silencing them or condemning them to isolation. Through my work with Integra Foundation I get to meet loads of interesting marginalised people. Just yesterday my heroine was a 10-year-old blind kid who shamed the services available to blind people.

n What is it that you most dislike?

I could fill in the whole page with this. But probably puritanism and self-righteousness will do for now.

n What is your motto?

“Never let your schooling interfere with your education,” Mark Twain.

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